The Campaign Spot

Hillary: ‘Withdrawal is not defeat. Staying 100 years is defeat.’ (UPDATE: Team McCain responds.)

In her speech at GWU, Hillary mentions began her day with a briefing from Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern.

She also has an unexpected note in discussing Iraq… “For all of the soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrfice, they made their sacrifice in order to give to a people the greatest gift that anyone can give: the gift of freedom.”
Now she’s on to hitting the Iraqis for not making enough progress, but acknowledging that the war is fought with noble motives and for a worthy goal was a discordantly pleasant moment in hearing Democrats talk about Iraq. You know the usual — “The war is lost”, “a fraud” “made up in Texas”, etc.
But now she’s attempting to out-withdrawal Obama.
“Let’s be clear, withdrawal is not defeat. Defeat is keeping troops in Iraq for 100 years.”
At some point, John McCain needs to give a big, comprehensive speech on Iraq that drives a stake into the heart of the out-of-context “100 years” remark.
She touts her sponsorship of legislation that would “deauthorize the war… to remove the president’s authority to fight it.”
UPDATE: From Team McCain:

ARLINGTON, VA — U.S. Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign today released the following statement by Communications Director Jill Hazelbaker on Senator Hillary Clinton’s intellectually dishonest attacks on John McCain today:
“At a time when Senator Clinton knows that American and allied forces are making real progress in Iraq, it is unfortunate that she would look to score political points by mischaracterizing Senator McCain’s statement with intellectually dishonest attacks. The differences between Senator McCain’s position, that we must win this war, and Senator Clinton’s position, withdrawal and de facto surrender on day one, are important enough to have an honest debate over. It would be the height of irresponsibility to stick with campaign promises to the left-wing of the Democratic Party and proceed with withdrawal regardless of what the situation is on the ground in Iraq in January 2009. The point that Senator McCain was making was one about American troop presence versus American combat presence. He was speaking of a post-war scenario, not a hundred year war, when he suggested that the American people could support maintaining a military presence in Iraq should the Iraqi and U.S. governments determine it to be in their mutual interest, just as the U.S. and German, Japanese, and South Korean governments did after conflicts. One would suspect Senator Clinton is aware that American troops have been present peacefully in Germany and Japan for more than six decades. The American people deserve more than blatant mischaracterizations, and we invite Senator Clinton to participate with us in an honest debate.”


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