Senator Clinton Calls for Troop Cap in Iraq
Filed at 9:09 a.m. ET
WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States should cap the number of troops
in Iraq, while increasing American forces in Afghanistan, Sen. Hillary
Rodham said Wednesday.
Clinton, the expected front-runner for the 2008 Democratic
presidential nomination, was quick to seize the spotlight the day after
Illinois Sen. Barack Obama took a major step toward entering the race.
Appearing on network television and radio shows to discuss her
recent trip to Iraq, the New York senator said she opposes President
Bush’s plan to increase U.S. troops in Iraq and favors redeploying
troops out of Baghdad and eventually Iraq. She said she also favors
conditioning economic aid to the Iraqi government’s progress in meeting
certain political goals.
»The Bush administration has frankly failed to put any leverage on
this government, » Clinton told CBS »The Early Show. » But she
sidestepped questions on whether she would vote to block funding for
Bush’s troop increase.
On Afghanistan, Clinton called the conflict there »one of the great
missed opportunities, » urging an increase in U.S. troops before a
likely »spring offensive » by the Taliban.
»Let’s focus on Afghanistan and get it right, » Clinton said.
Clinton deflected questions on the presidential qualifications of
Obama, who has emerged as her chief competitor for the nomination.
»We’re going to have a really vigorous debate on both sides, in
both parties, » Clinton told NBC’s »Today Show. » »The voters will
make that decision. »
On when she will announce her own candidacy, Clinton was also vague:
»I’m not influenced by anybody else’s timeline. I’m trying to pursue
my own assessment and analysis. »