Clinton, Obama in Des Moines — focus on Iraq

Two of the United States senators who are running for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination appeared simultaneously at separate events at 10 o’clock this rmorning in Des Moines, then jetted off for Washington, D.C. to participate in the senate’s debate on Iraq war funding.

New York Senator Hillary Clinton offered a detailed look at what she would do about Iraq and Afghanistan as well as Iraq, Syria and Turkey during a 38 minute speech.  You can listen to the speech by clicking on the audio link at the bottom of this Radio Iowa story.

Illinois Senator Barack Obama delivered a 23 minute speech focused on economic issues but then he connecting those issues with Iraq. You can listen to his remarks by clicking on the audio link at the bottom of this Radio Iowa story.  (Unlike Clinton, Obama took questions from the crowd, but that Q&A is not included in the mp3.)

Both events were scheduled to begin at 10 o’clock. Obama’s event started 13 minutes late. Clinton’s began at 10:15 a.m. when former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack stood behind the microphone to introduce Clinton.  Vilsack got big applause when castigating what Vilsack called the "failure of presidential leadership" on the part of Bush re: Iraq.

There was no music at Clinton’s event, which was staged in the 4th floor of the Temple for the Performing Arts in Des Moines.  It’s the venue where John Kerry made one of the stops on his announcement tour — a big room with an enormous ceiling, marble floors and marble columns.  It’s that marble which made the applause sound even more intense.  Clinton came out, gave her speech, shook a few hands and then left.  (BTW: Clinton used one of Vilsack’s stories to close out her speech, the one about the wife of an Iowa National Guardsman killed in Iraq.)

Pat Curtis was Radio Iowa’s man on the scene for the Obama event.  Pat says Obama came out, sans music, gave a speech, took questions from the crowd and then then left. 

Pat estimated the crowd at the Obama event to be about 500.  Clinton folks reported having 358 people signed in.  As all those folks poured out of the Clinton venue, they were each offered a Hillary Clinton bumper sticker.   

UPDATE at 2:30 p.m.:  Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards just concluded a conference call with Iowa reporters about Country of Origin Labeling.  At the end, Edwards was asked about the statement he issued this morning on Iraq — a statement issued as Clinton & Obama were set to begin speaking in Des Moines. 

"Well, I think it’s very clear that the congress has a responsibility and the authority to force this president to leave Iraq and that authority is the funding authority and they need to use that funding authority to send a bill to the president that supports the troops, funds the troops, but also has a timetable for withdrawal and they should not back down from that because it is the only way this president’s going to start drawing troops out of Iraq," Edwards said in the telephone conference call.  "So that’s what the congress should do.  They should stand their ground and force George Bush to end this war."

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.


  1. F.Igwealor says

    “The single most important judgment that a president or member of Congress can make is the decision to send our troops into harms way,” Obama said.
    Chicago Tribune – July 10, 2007.
    On experience:
    Hillary Clinton does not have the experience to lead the United States at a critical time like this. She lacks the experience to make sound judgment that is required of our commander-in-chief. She failed the test with her vote to authorize the invasion of Iraq.
    I believe that the issue of experience is one of the important issues that must be addressed in the presidential race.
    Obama’s is the experience that counts most; the experience that helps a leader in making the right judgment, like standing up against the Iraqi invasion in 2002, and outlining most of the possible consequences and unfortunately came true.
    George Bush was a two-term Governor of huge Texas but see what he landed us into in Iraq.
    Obama is the most experienced of the Democratic bunch. He has the experience that leads to sound judgment.
    I bet Obama would have been able to persuade Congress in 2002 to stop George Bush from invading Iraq had he been in the Senate then.
    Hillary has 15 years in Washington, but could not make the right judgment when it mattered most. Her experience is actually bad for America; it has cost us thousands in lives and billions of dollars.
    Who needs the scores of years in Washington that could not make the right judgments in the White House for another 8 years?
    I don’t, how about you?

  2. As I listened to both addresses, I was struck by a curious thought: “I agree with Senator Clinton that keeping the lines of communication open is important, and that we should never quit being willing to talk. But isn’t this the same woman who just finished saying that she wouldn’t promise to talk to foreign leaders?”
    It’s interesting to see Senator Clinton seemingly taking her chief rival, Senator Barack Obama, to task for making just such a suggestion, only to turn around and use the exact same suggestion as if it had been her own all along.
    If Senator Clinton seems to believe that her opponent’s judgment is more clear than her own, than I’m certainly willing to follow her lead in agreeing.

  3. John Halverson says

    I am tired of reading how detailed a plan Hillary has. I have never read it, I have never heard it. I have heard that she has a detailed plan, reminiscent of John the flip-flopper Kerry, all that has been said is I have a plan, I have a plan, I have a plan. Great lets hear it!