Obama Outsmarts Both Sarah Palin and the GOP With Iraq Speech

All day today, Republicans from John Boehner to Sarah Palin have gone on a prebuttal campaign with the intent of criticizing President Obama for taking credit for the end of the Iraq war. The problem is that Obama’s actual speech gave George W. Bush and the troops credit, and by doing so, he outsmarted Palin and the GOP.

Early on, Obama referenced George W. Bush and the history of the Iraq invasion, “From this desk, seven and a half years ago, President Bush announced the beginning of military operations in Iraq. Much has changed since that night. A war to disarm a state became a fight against an insurgency. Terrorism and sectarian warfare threatened to tear Iraq apart. Thousands of Americans gave their lives; tens of thousands have been wounded. Our relations abroad were strained. Our unity at home was tested.”

Obama gave credit to the troops, “These are the rough waters encountered during the course of one of America’s longest wars. Yet there has been one constant amidst those shifting tides. At every turn, America’s men and women in uniform have served with courage and resolve. As Commander-in-Chief, I am proud of their service. Like all Americans, I am awed by their sacrifice, and by the sacrifices of their families.”

He continued, “The Americans who have served in Iraq completed every mission they were given. They defeated a regime that had terrorized its people. Together with Iraqis and coalition partners who made huge sacrifices of their own, our troops fought block by block to help Iraq seize the chance for a better future. They shifted tactics to protect the Iraqi people; trained Iraqi Security Forces; and took out terrorist leaders. Because of our troops and civilians -and because of the resilience of the Iraqi people – Iraq has the opportunity to embrace a new destiny, even though many challenges remain.”

After noting that he has kept his campaign promise to get combat troops out of Iraq, Obama praised Bush’s patriotism and affection for the troops, and repeated his call for unity, “As we do, I am mindful that the Iraq War has been a contentious issue at home. Here, too, it is time to turn the page. This afternoon, I spoke to former President George W. Bush. It’s well known that he and I disagreed about the war from its outset. Yet no one could doubt President Bush’s support for our troops, or his love of country and commitment to our security. As I have said, there were patriots who supported this war, and patriots who opposed it. And all of us are united in appreciation for our servicemen and women, and our hope for Iraq’s future.”

Obama talked about doing right by the veterans of Iraq in Afghanistan, “Part of that responsibility is making sure that we honor our commitments to those who have served our country with such valor. As long as I am President, we will maintain the finest fighting force that the world has ever known, and do whatever it takes to serve our veterans as well as they have served us. This is a sacred trust. That is why we have already made one of the largest increases in funding for veterans in decades. We are treating the signature wounds of today’s wars post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury, while providing the health care and benefits that all of our veterans have earned. And we are funding a post-9/11 GI Bill that helps our veterans and their families pursue the dream of a college education. Just as the GI Bill helped those who fought World War II- including my grandfather- become the backbone of our middle class, so today’s servicemen and women must have the chance to apply their gifts to expand the American economy. Because part of ending a war responsibly is standing by those who have fought it.”

The President concluded by calling the troops the steel in the American ship of state, “In an age without surrender ceremonies, we must earn victory through the success of our partners and the strength of our own nation. Every American who serves joins an unbroken line of heroes that stretches from Lexington to Gettysburg; from Iwo Jima to Inchon; from Khe Sanh to Kandahar – Americans who have fought to see that the lives of our children are better than our own. Our troops are the steel in our ship of state. And though our nation may be travelling through rough waters, they give us confidence that our course is true, and that beyond the pre-dawn darkness, better days lie ahead.”

Compare what Obama actually said with what Sarah Palin assumed that he would say on her Facebook page, “Later today, President Obama will speak to the American people about Iraq. No doubt he will laud the “end of major combat operations” by the date he randomly selected some 18 months ago. His press secretary Robert Gibbs also gave us a glimpse of what else he might say, telling the Today Show this morning that “What is certainly not up for question is that President Obama, then-candidate Obama, said that adding those 20,000 troops into Iraq would, indeed, improve the security situation, and it did.”

Palin assumed that Obama would be taking a victory lap tonight, but she could not have been more wrong, she assumed that Obama would be dishonest and not give Bush or the troops credit. Palin assumed that Obama would behave like, well, Sarah Palin, “The more honest you are about the past, the more likely it is you will gain the support of the American people for your Iraq policy in the future. We need to be able to trust the White House war strategy, as our children’s future depends on it. Being honest with us tonight is a good starting point in building trust.”

By launching a preemptive strike against Obama’s speech tonight, Republicans left themselves wide open to be made fools of, which is exactly what the president did. Did Sarah Palin or John Boehner speak to George W. Bush today and give him credit for his contributions? Nope. In stunning contrast to Obama’s actual speech, Palin spent most of her Facebook post attacking the president instead of thanking the troops.

The Republicans thought that they could shape the message by speaking first, which might have been a great plan, if they would have delivered the correct message. Instead, we got another edition of Republicans guessing and getting it totally wrong. The GOP is so deep into their Obama hate that they have lost all touch with reality. Obama did not take credit for anything, except keeping a campaign promise. Instead of a “mission accomplished” victory lap, Barack Obama attempted to provide closure to the long and divisive political conflict over the Iraq invasion. Obama spoke as the nation’s leader, while Sarah Palin brought more sour grapes.

Full Transcript of Obama’s Iraq Speech

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36 Replies to “Obama Outsmarts Both Sarah Palin and the GOP With Iraq Speech”

  1. Absolutely a wonderful speech. Well done. And poor Sarah showed her blindness as a presidential candidate. She needs to start realizing that people read what she slops onto paper.

    Myself, I want us out of all wars so am at odds slightly with Obama. I also want Cheney in prison. But thats neither here nor there in the scheme of things.

    Obama was brilliant tonight. Giving Bush credit was a stroke of genius. And all the people who say “well he didnt mention he was against the surge” are meaningless. Obama also didnt mention how incredibly unfit for secretary of defense Donald “We kill Americans” Rumsfeld was either

  2. Just watched O’really the only bad thing he could say was that Obama looked and sounded like the boring professor, and wishes that Obama would have brought his passion as he did in the campaign.

  3. GOP will kill all of us if they get the chance, through their sheer ignorance, hatred, racism and greedy selfishness. they are little children intellects trying to keep up with the adults. how pathetic the RNC has become when Sarah palin and Glenn Beck are their leaders. pitiful, really. pitiful people.

  4. these posts are so pathetic… all Obama was trying to gain tonight was the disappearing votes for the liberal party. I am very supposed that he didn’t blame Bush once again for the economy. How much of a disgrace can one be. Its time for the Democratic party to step up and take responsibilty. The american people cannot be fooled any longer. Liberals have had control of both branches of gov’t for way too long. Its time for Pelosi, Reid, Franks, Rangel, and the likes to be ousted once and for all. It is no coincedence that many Democratic leaders have decided to retire, rather than go through the humiliation of finally loosing in an election.


  5. Jaime…you need a dictionary or spellcheck if you want to be taken seriously on this site. Why do the most negative Obama bashing posts have such a hard time with basic grammar? However, I do agree with one thing you wrote. “It’s time for a real change.” So true!! Get rid of your mentally challenged heroes starting with Palin and Beck. One is a liar, hyprocrite and a grifter. The other one was a known drug addict for several years and that may explain his odd behavior bordering on lunacy. Freedom of speech allows anyone to bash President Obama without the threat of retaliation or punishment. However, I have the right as an American citizen to voice my opinion of YOU when you disrespect the highest office in the land. And my opinion is that you should leave this country and take your shitty attitude with you. On your way out please stop by the Palin residence and help her pack as well.

  6. Shiva- I’m sorry to have to be the one to tell you this… but you must have a pulse to get into the prison system. It is unfortunate for us all that Cheney has chosen to become a full time vampire in fulfilling his quest to the dark side.

  7. There was also no mention of the false justification for the war, Cheney’s relentless vendetta or Bush’s selective “facts”. We now see Obama being criticized for “taking too much credit” and “not giving enough credit to the previous administration”. Most of the people this criticism of Obama is provided to would have obviously not watched the address, and will believe anything filtered for them. When I was young, my mother ran a religious bookstore and the surge of condemnation for Monty Python’s “The Life Of Brian” was intense- it was clear that the critics either hadn’t seen it or didn’t “get” it. History repeats itself, often ad nauseum.

  8. Let me add an amen to that! Well said. I am tired of these low life illiterates screaming nonsense and disrespecting a good man. I can’t say what I want to say. I was raised better than these knuckle draggers.

    I wish they would all leave, take Palin and her groupies of idiocy with them.

  9. President Obama has repeated over and over again about turning the page and moving on. But the Republicans are already talking about ‘holding hearings’ over some perceived illegality in the Obama administration if they get control of the house. Where was this spirit for inquiry when Bush was cooking up his ‘ go to war ‘ story. What a bunch of hypocritical, small minded partisan assholes. The Republicans have had control or exercised significant influence for most of the last thirty years, and our country is still teetering on the brink of collapse because of them, and all they can do is engage in petty politicking. Jesus K. Rist.

  10. In a perverse way, Cheney is in prison. Google LVAD. He is now being kept alive by a whirrrrrrring clickkkkkkkkkkkking pump inserted into his chest. Forever and ever. No transplant, no meds. Just Cheney and click click whir whir click click whir whir until ALARM.

    HELP Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    karma baby

    Would it be unkind to hope for bed bugs in the Cheney home?

  11. Thanks as usual Jason for shining light on the truth. The GOP’s attack on President Obama is so awful, massive and so continuous, I truly worry about his health. In spite of it all, President Obama carries on with a strong spirit of purpose and responsibility to our country and it’s people. What’s more disturbing than Beck and Palin are the mindless people that follow them and the greed that controls and directs them.

  12. Great post, Jason.

    PO’s speech tonight was simply superb, especially considering the delicate national and international tightrope he has to walk. The subject — ending a war which he inherited — was gracefully and intelligently handled. It will be well-received by all but the most partisan of folks.

    I watched a bit of O’Reilly tonight in which a bleached blonde shill for the GOP had the most inane, immature criticisms of PO that I’ve ever heard, mainly about his appearance. I rarely watch FOX, but every time I do, I’m stunned by the shallowness and immaturity of their analysis. The Far Left will be critical that PO didn’t get his pound of flesh from GWB and the GOP for starting the war in the first place, but tonight’s speech simply wasn’t the appropriate venue for that kind of partisan rhetoric (not the least of which is that many countries around the world were also listening to his speech).

    The more I see of this president, the more impressed I am with his intelligent and adroit handling of some of our most complex issues in the presence of withering criticism and extreme political/ social polarization. The folks who think he’s weak, on both the right and left, are underestimating this man, just as they did during the ’08 campaign. You don’t grow up African-American in America and attain the highest office in the land by virtue of being weak.

  13. it was okay, because bush was white. and from texas. and…slightly moronic. also, bush had connections. oh, and that whole attitude of, ‘if you question me, i will throw you in JAIL!’ so…yeah…no one bothered because no one wanted to be imprisoned. that is what will go down in journalism history as an era of fear.

    besides, cheney’s the one we really need to look at. but as someone mentioned, he’s dealing with his own misery. karma is a harsh, but often just, mistress. after all, you reap what you sew.

  14. Thank you for this article! We need to put a muzzle on that pit bull. While soldiers are giving their lives, she is polarizing the country. At a time when she talks about “Restoring Honor” she is doing nothing but criticizing. Thank you for your insights and observations. Malia Litman

  15. I watched the speech also, and it was a nuanced one that showed extreme restraint in alluding to the Bush administration and its leading this country into a war that should never have been fought. Obama was making a show of unity that transcended partisanship with his positive references to Bush, because he was making points about the big picture. Although it’s true that he has adhered to a campaign promise, he acknowledged that there is still a lot of work to do in Iraq. I liked how he pivoted to address the subject of the economy in this country. There is no way to accurately discuss it without acknowledging that these wars have been waged at the expense of unmet needs among us Americans. The war in Afghanistan also can’t end soon enough, and both of them underscore the limits of military might. Any “victory” is measured in whether either of these two countries acquires stability, and it will be the doing of their citizens. In any case, going forward, I hope he will address the economy, since it will be the most important factor in how people vote in November. It is also my fervent hope that all the people the Party of No has worked so hard to alienate will show up at the polls and hand them the defeat they richly deserve.

  16. thank you. I think if Obama wanted to go after the false justifications of this war and all that it would have been counterproductive at this time. Personally I wish he would go into all that with a war crimes trial for Bush and Cheney but that’s not going to happen. And I guess so many years afterwards it doesn’t matter anymore. If you had discussed the false justification for this war he would have had to discuss far too many things about the war to go along with them. I think his speech was all about this is where we are and this is where we are going.I also think it was about burying Sarah Palin and the GOP. which he did in convincing fashion

  17. what’s the problem? You have a problem with Bush being blamed for the economy or you one of the people who fails to admit that we ever even had a President Bush?
    By the way, you don’t get extra points if the Conservatives get into power. At that point you’re just another liberal to them.

  18. Malia, am adding your blog to my blogroll. I think that you and Sarah Jones should get together, and have a summer BBQ, and do a dual skewering of Sarah Palin. I think it’s a roast well deserved!

  19. Man I love this blog! You guys are awesome! Totally nailed it with the “Palin expected Obama to act like her”! Unfortunately, I’m sure Boner and Paylin will take credit for influencing Barack’s speech. :(

    In the end, they only look like fools to us. To their followers, it looks like Obama knuckled under from the pressure from these “Reel ‘Merkinz”.


    > George W. Bush had been the first President to need a TelePrompTer
    > installed to be able to get through a press conference, would you
    > have laughed and said this is more proof of how inept he is on
    > his own and is really controlled by smarter men behind the
    > scenes?

    > George W. Bush had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to take
    > Laura Bush to a play in NYC, would you have approved?
    > George W. Bush had reduced your retirement plan’s holdings of GM
    > stock by 90% and given the unions a majority stake in GM, would you
    > have approved?
    > George W. Bush had made a joke at the expense of the Special
    > Olympics, would you have approved?
    > George W. Bush had given Gordon Brown a set of inexpensive and
    > incorrectly formatted DVDs, when Gordon Brown had given him a
    > thoughtful and historically significant gift, would you have
    > approved?
    > George W. Bush had given the Queen of England an iPod containing
    > videos of his speeches, would you have thought this embarrassingly
    > narcissistic and tacky?
    > George W. Bush had bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia , would you
    > have approved?
    > George W. Bush had visited Austria and made reference to the
    > nonexistent “Austrian language,” would you have brushed it off as
    > a minor slip?
    >If George W. Bush had filled his cabinet and circle of advisers
    > with people who cannot seem to keep current in their income taxes,
    > would you have approved?
    > George W. Bush had stated that there were 57 states in the United
    > States , would you have said that he is clueless.
    > George W. Bush would have flown all the way to Denmark to make a
    > five minute speech about how the Olympics would benefit him walking
    > out his front door in Texas , would you have
    > thought
    > he was a self important, conceited, egotistical jerk.
    > George W. Bush had been so Spanish illiterate as to refer to “Cinco
    > de Cuatro” in front of the Mexican ambassador when it was the 5th
    >of May (Cinco de Mayo), and continued to flub it when he tried again,
    > would you have winced in embarrassment?
    >If George W. Bush had misspelled the word “advice” would you have
    >hammered him for it for years like Dan Quayle and potatoes as proof
    >of what a dunce he is?
    > George W. Bush had burned 9,000 gallons of jet fuel to go plant a
    > single tree on Earth Day, would you have concluded he’s a hypocrite?
    > George W. Bush’s administration had okayed Air Force One flying
    > low over millions of people followed by a jet fighter in
    > downtown Manhattan causing widespread panic, would you
    > have wondered whether they actually get what happened on 9-11?
    > George W. Bush had failed to send relief aid to flood victims
    > throughout the Midwest with more people killed or made homeless than
    > in New Orleans , would you want it made into a major ongoing
    > political issue with claims of racism and incompetence?
    >If George W. Bush had created the position of 32 Czars who report
    >directly to him, bypassing the House and Senate on much of what is
    >happening in America , would you have approved.
    > George W. Bush had ordered the firing of the CEO of a major
    > corporation, even though he had no constitutional authority to do
    > so, would you have approved?
    >If George W. Bush had proposed to double the national debt, which
    >had taken more than two centuries to accumulate, in one year, would
    >you have approved?
    > George W. Bush had then proposed to double the debt again within 10
    > years, would you have approved?
    > tell me again, what is it about Obama that makes him so brilliant
    > and impressive? Can’t think of anything? Don’t worry. He’s done all
    > this in 15 months — so you’ll have two years and nine months to
    > come up with an answer.

  21. Jaime, Obama didn’t create this mess that we’re in. It didn’t happen overnight and it’s not going to get better overnight. Obama is trying to clean up the mess that the Republicans that you are so fond of created. You can write as much lies and half-truths that you want. You can also spin it any way you want. The fact remains that this world is this way because, with the exception of 8 years of a Democrat in the White House, of 25 years of Republican rule, starting with Ronald Reagan in 1980. Don’t blame Obama because of what the Republicans did. Obama was given no choice. Someone has to clean up the mess. I don’t see any Republicans volunteering for the job! They just want to create more of it.

  22. Please remember that the democrats were also to blame for the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars, approved by both GOP and DEM. Both were responsible; therefore, we to balance the house and senate with equal numbers of these politicians to cancel out each other. Obama’s problem is not protecting our borders, then suing AZ (really bad politics), a health care bill that no one wanted (back door approval) & the so-called stimulus bill that wasted our money…. Obama is not a mature president yet. Maybe the next few years will tell his full story…… Obama is not well liked because of these failures….

  23. Jaime you are just really idiotic and don’t do your research!
    *Bush couldn’t read a teleprompter.
    *He spent over 17 MILLION dollars on vacations while in office!
    Bush bowed to corporations and his cronies, he lied about invading the Middle East and killed over 4,000 soldiers. He created the largest debt in our history.
    You are either uneducated or willfully ignorant and YOU and people like you are the problem with this nation!

  24. What exactly are you proud of when it comes to the GOP? What are you proud of Bush for? He was in office 4 years, and ran this country into the ground. Obama is President for barely 2 and you act as if he has ruined everything. What has Obama done that is so bad and so reckless? What did Bush do that was so worthy of praise? I am not understanding how you can side with people that lie and are BLATANT liars at that, and still act as if Obama is the enemy. What ever happened to standing by your President?This country doesn’t NEED nor can endure being torn apart.

    It is time we unified, stopped fighting and for the love of AMERICA, start acting like our kids futures are important, because we seem to be bickering babies and can’t even see the BIG picture. OUR CHILDREN’S future. I am sick of this Obama hatred (which I feel is ONLY because he is black, and I can see it for myself, watch FoxNews or the GOP, you will see.) and how people are so torn apart. When we were apart of a war we shouldn’t have started or been in, there wasn’t NEARLY as much outcry. When Bush spend us into the ground, no one said a thing. However, when Obama is trying to HELP us and get us on a better foot, people who can’t even decide between light and lager beer start spouting off.

    Unite, Fellow Americans, if we do not. We are as good as done.

  25. I agree, and I have to say that I am sick of this segregation crap. What happened to America UNITING? It is like we have to have a disaster in order for us to be unified, and that is just ridiculous!

    I am not a Democrat, nor a Republican. I have been an Independent ever since I could vote, and I will never change that, but WOW, the GOP is on a tear and it really makes me sick to my stomach. People actually LISTEN to Palin, FoxNews, and Beck. They actually LISTEN to them. It is absurd.

    I just wish that people who call them Americans, act as such. Back the President, be unified and stop acting like communists.

  26. I agree, the last 8 years was horrific. Bush is an absurd fool and so sick of how people say what Obama is doing is bad, but Bush was not???? How does that add up?

    Now, in regards to your Reagan remark, I have to disagree. Reagan was given an office that was similar to Obama’s, bad economy, Americans fighting each other, and other countries predicting our demise in the 80’s. Reagan made Americans PROUD again. He made us feel important and we finally responded, we had the economic boom (I am not saying it was a great stradegy, but at the time, we were prospering, could it have been done differently? OF COURSE, but that is not my point.), technology boom and lifestyle boom.

    That is what we need now, but we have so many GOP racist and communist like thinking that this nation is being torn APART. I will never understand why it is OK for a white man to destroy this country, but wrong for an ethnic man to save it. No wonder other countries laugh at us.

  27. sandra3344,

    Do you know how the War started? Bush said, he would do it WITH or WITHOUT congress’ support. So, to not seem unpatriotic, they supported it, AND supported in the basis of TERRORISM. You need to understand the facts when it comes to the war.

    Secondly, MANY people wanted universal Healthcare, I DO! Obama’s campaign ran on this principle. Did you forget this. How can people want it then say, no one wanted it? Also, how is it “back door” approval? The MAJORITY house said YES. That is how it should be. That is LAW. Again, you have to understand the facts.

    Thirdly, His failures? He has passed the Healthcare bill, he got stimulus’ to pass, he has gotten many victories and FOUGHT for them. One more thing, you do know our money is based on NOTHING, right? So why is it wrong to print more? It is not based on the gold standard anymore, so if the president prints more it is bad? Yet, Bush can spend wildly for his run and the war, but that is ok? Where is the logic?

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