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Sweet column: News to them--Obama, McCain tangle over Iraq.

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This is the print version of a blog column posted on Wednesday

AUSTIN, Texas -- As the front-runner, Sen. Barack Obama took incoming Wednesday from presumptive GOP nominee Sen. John McCain, who went after Obama with some unfinished business from Tuesday's Democratic debate.

McCain, in Tyler, Texas, tackled Obama over his statement in the debate -- in response to a question by NBC's Tim Russert -- that if U.S. troops leave Iraq he would "reserve the right" to "act in a way that secures" U.S. interests if al-Qaida were establishing a base in Iraq.

In what seemed a preview of a potential general election matchup, McCain mocked Obama: "I have some news," he said. "Al-Qaida is in Iraq."

Obama, at a rally at Ohio State University, told some 7,000 people (he did not fill the basketball arena) that he had some news of his own for McCain, tossing the verbal grenade back. One of the Obama rules is to leave no disputable assertion unanswered.

"John McCain thought that he could make a clever point," said Obama, inserting the response into his stump speech as he now finds himself facing fire from McCain as well as Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"Like I wasn't reading the papers. Like I didn't know what was going on. I said, well, first of all, I do know that al-Qaida is in Iraq and that is why I said we should continue to strike al-Qaida targets. But I have some news for John McCain. And that is that there was no such thing as al-Qaida in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq," Obama said to cheers.

"So John McCain may like to say that he wants to follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell, but so far all he's done is follow George Bush into a misguided war in Iraq that has cost us thousands of lives and billions of dollars and that I intend to bring to an end so we can actually start going after al-Qaida in Afghanistan and in the hills of Pakistan, like we should have been doing in the first place. . . .

"I've got news for John McCain. He took us into a war along with George Bush that should never have been authorized and never should have been waged. They took our eye off the people who were responsible for 9/11, and that would be al-Qaida in Afghanistan, that is stronger now than at any time since 2001."

Obama stumped in Ohio and Texas in advance of the crucial March 4 votes here. The campaign officially learned what had been leaking out, that civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) was switching from Clinton to Obama; Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) also is backing Obama. Both are superdelegates.

Clinton told Judy Woodruff of PBS' "News- Hour": "Well, he [Lewis] is a dear friend and I respect him so greatly and I understand the incredible pressure that he has been under, so he is my friend today just like he was yesterday."

2 Comments

It came to me in a "eureka" moment...the strategy the Obama campaign is using regarding his middle-name. The Obama campaign purposely didn't reveal his middle-name on his website. However, they intriguingly wrote "His Middle-Name is Not Mohammed."

They were never trying to hide his middle-name. It was left out purposely as bait, and as a diversionary tactic, knowing full well that certain people would take the bait. John McCain isn't one of them.

It makes people who have made an issue of his middle-name look like bigots, and draws attention away from what his campaign really wants to hide: his far-left agenda.
This is What the Obama Campaign Doesn't Want People to See- Obama in His Own Words on Our Country's National Security

Jan-this is precisely why he WILL get sane Republicans to cross over and vote for him in the Fall. Why would we want to let war profiteering (outlawed during WW2, except for Prescott Bush and others, apparently) continue? It does not help our soldiers--quite the contrary. It does not make us safer--quite the opposite.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on February 28, 2008 9:42 AM.

Sweet: Obama tells Ellen DeGeneres being president "is really cool." was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet: Obama says the Clintons' are working "tirelessly" is the next entry in this blog.

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