Barack Obama’s has been accused of backtracking on his plans to withdraw troops from Iraq. The Democratic presidential candidate was forced to clarify earlier comments. He said: “We’re planning to visit Iraq. I’m going to do a thorough assessment when I’m there. I have been consistent throughout this process that I believe the war in Iraq was a mistake, that we need to bring this war to a responsible end.” Earlier he had said he may “refine” his views – comments which were immediately pounced on by Republicans.
When he began his bid for the presidency his language was unambiguous. “I will bring this war to a close and I will bring our troops home within 16 months of the time I take office,” he said on the campaign trail. Once the primaries ended this became “approximately 16 months”.
After heavy criticism from his Republican opponent, Obama has said he will visit Iraq and Afghanistan later this summer. Analysts say Obama is trying to broaden his voting base. Jeanne Cummings said: “Right now he is trying to appeal to conservative Democrats and Republicans as well.”
Former Democratic competitor Hillary Clinton put her rivalry behind her to campaign for Obama for the first time last week – symbolically, the rally was held in the New Hampshire town of Unity.