Saturday, March 08, 2008

Barack Obama : : Change We Can Believe In | Sam Graham-Felsen's Blog: Memo: Doing whatever it takes to win

Barack Obama : : Change We Can Believe In | Sam Graham-Felsen's Blog: Memo: Doing whatever it takes to win

The Obama campaign sent out this memo today...

The Clinton campaign has publicly admitted that the only way they can still win this election is by tearing Barack Obama down. They have called their attacks the “kitchen sink strategy,” and Senator Clinton herself has referred to it as “the fun part” of the campaign. The result has been a constant barrage of attacks about Senator Obama’s record that they know full well aren’t true. And yet they repeat them, over and over again, day after day, in an attempt to deceive the American people just so that they can win this election.

This may be fun for the Clinton campaign, but this is exactly why people don’t trust their leaders anymore. This is exactly why so many people are so cynical about the political process. And it’s exactly what Barack Obama is running to change.

There is no more serious issue than the war in Iraq. 150,000 American troops are risking their lives every day in a conflict that this President and John McCain have no intention of ending anytime soon. It’s a conflict that’s cost us thousands of lives, billions of dollars, stretched our military and taxed their families, and has seriously undermined our national security, our moral standing, and our ability to go after Osama bin Laden and the core leadership of al Qaeda and finish the job against the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Barack Obama had the judgment to oppose this war before it began for these exact reasons. Senator Clinton voted for this war, and yet she continues to tell the American people that her vote was for diplomacy even though the resolution was titled, “Joint Resolution to Authorize the use of Military Force Against Iraq.”

When Senator Obama arrived in the Senate, he called for a phased withdrawal before Senator Clinton did. He also introduced comprehensive legislation in the Senate to begin removing combat troops at a pace of 1-2 brigades a month, with an end date for completing that drawdown – legislation that became the basis for the Senate Democrats’ plan to end the war.

Barack Obama has said, repeatedly, that when he is President, his first act will be to convene the Joint Chiefs of Staff and ask them to immediately put in place his plan for withdrawal. He’s also said, as he did recently on 60 Minutes, that as Commander-in-Chief he would retain the flexibility to implement this withdrawal in a way that ensures the safety and security of our troops. But there has never been a doubt about the purpose of his policy – ending this war and bringing our troops home on a timetable for withdrawal.

The Clinton campaign knows full well that this is Senator Obama’s position, and they know full well that this flexibility is what his former advisor was referring to. They know it because preserving flexibility for the Commander-in-Chief has also been Senator Clinton’s position – or at least it was until she made the judgment that attacking Barack Obama on this issue is more politically beneficial to her campaign.

Washington has played too much politics with the issue of war. It’s what got us into Iraq in the first place. It’s why so many brave Americans have lost their lives. And it’s why the real Commander-in-Chief test in this election isn’t about some TV ad, it’s about whether the American people will be able to trust in the judgment and the honesty of their next President.

If the Clinton campaign wants to have a serious debate about who opposed the war in Iraq and who’s more committed to ending it, we’re more than happy to have that debate. But they should stop playing politics with war, and they should stop telling the American people things that they know aren’t true. We will not let this campaign be about who can tear each other down. We owe it to the American people to try and lift this country up.

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