Plan on Iraq Political Campaign or Platform of Government

By contrast with Richardson's, Kucinich's, and Edwards's stated views in the debates, Obama and Clinton envisioned a larger American presence. In the September 26 debate, the senator from Illinois said that the first thing he would do if elected would be "to call together the Joint Chiefs of Staff and initiate a phased redeployment.? I would immediately begin that process. We would get combat troops out of Iraq." The only troops that would remain, Obama said, would be those needed to protect U.S. bases, the U.S. embassy, and U.S. civilians, as well as "to engage in counterterrorism activities in Iraq." (Bostdorff)

As he had in the pre-primary debates, Obama continued to stress the need for diplomacy. He emphasized how he would send "a signal to the Iraqis that we are serious, and prompt the Shias, the Sunni and the Kurds to actually come together and negotiate."176 Furthermore, Obama said that he wanted to get the United States "out of Iraq so that we can refocus our attention on building the networks and alliances that are required to reduce terrorism around the world."

Like Richardson, Obama also pointed to the situation in Iraq as a reason why he wanted "to elevate diplomacy, so that it is part of our arsenal to serve the American people's interests and to keep us safe."178 Obama's pattern of emphasizing diplomacy more than the other candidates was consistent with his pre-primary debate performance, but it also served to underscore the importance of words to his leadership, an association that Clinton would attempt to use to her advantage. (Bostdorff)

Work Cited
Bostdorff, Denise M. "Judgment, Experience, and Leadership: Candidate Debates on the Iraq War in the 2008 Presidential Primaries." Rhetoric & Public Affairs12.2 (2009): 223+.

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