For the past few days, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), poised to make a 2008 White House bid, has been keeping in the shadows. While chief 2008 rival Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) mini-media blitzed his Iraq react--he is against the escalation--Clinton has been strategically quiet.
Now her office announces a one-up: Clinton, with Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) (who just dropped his White House bid but could be in the vice-president sweepstakes) and Rep. John McHugh (R-N.Y.) are visiting Iraq and Afghanistan over the weekend, meeting with troops from Indiana and New York.
She'll find out for herself (click below for statement) how the Iraqi officials plan to stand up to violence. A centerpiece of President Bush's justification for sending more soldiers to Iraq is giving Iraqis one more chance to use assistance from U.S. military to help them help themselves.
Clinton's Tuesday presser to discuss her trip will be the must attend event of the day.
this from Clinton office...
Senators Bayh and Clinton, Congressman McHugh Visit US Troops in Iraq & Afghanistan
Washington, DC - Senators Evan Bayh (D-IN) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), and Congressman John M. McHugh (R-NY), are traveling on a four-day Congressional Delegation (CODEL) visit to U.S. Forces serving in the Central Command Area of Responsibility.
While in Iraq and Afghanistan, the CODEL will meet with U.S. Forces from both Indiana and New York serving in the region, including the Army's 10th Mountain Division, based at Fort Drum, NY, which is currently serving in both theaters. They will also meet with government officials from both countries, as well as top U.S. military and civilian leadership in the region.
“As I travel across Iraq, I want to hear from Iraqi officials about how they plan to stem the violence there and start making some of the tough decisions necessary for this country to succeed,” Senator Bayh said. “I’m also looking forward to speaking with our military leaders and troops to thank them for their service and get feedback from them about the situation on the ground.”
“Our nation continues to face serious and growing challenges in both Iraq and Afghanistan. At this critical juncture, I am eager to express my gratitude to our troops on the ground, many from New York, who continue to serve and sacrifice, performing magnificently and bravely,” said Senator Clinton. “I am eager as well to hear from our commanders on the ground a frank assessment of our missions in those countries. I am also looking forward to meeting Iraqi leaders and American civilian officials to hear their view on the current situation in Iraq.”
"Iraq is at the forefront of our nation's collective thoughts - from concerns for our brave men and women in uniform to beliefs about the way ahead for U.S. military involvement," said Congressman McHugh. "I am looking forward to meeting with Iraqi leadership to hear directly from them that they are committed to making the hard decisions and taking the tough actions necessary on the ground. Also, I have other critical questions for our own U.S. military leaders, particularly about whether they support this new strategy and are convinced it can succeed."
Senator Bayh is a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and he and Senator Clinton are both members of the Senate Armed Services Committee. This is the third trip to the region for each of them. Congressman McHugh is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. This is his seventh trip into Iraq and his third into Afghanistan.
Upon their return, the CODEL members will hold a Press Conference to discuss their trip on Tuesday, January 16th (time and location to be announced).