John Edwards: Time to Start Troop Withdrawal is Now
Update: John Edwards will be live-blogging at his campaign blog at noon ET.
In addition to his campaign against poverty, he's blasting the war in Iraq, particularly John McCain's plan to increase troops in Iraq.
Edwards says we can bring 40,000 troops home now.
From the setting to the words, Edwards is using the day to signal that he intends to run a grassroots, insurgent campaign with an anti-Washington flair. He directly criticized Arizona Sen. John McCain, seen as a leading candidate for the Republican nomination, for recommending that more troops be sent to Iraq to help quell the violence there.
"We need to reject this McCain doctrine of surging troops and escalating the war in Iraq," he said in his campaign video, recorded on Wednesday. "We need to make clear we're going to leave and we need to start leaving Iraq."
Today, Edwards said he thought as many as 40,000 U.S. troops should be quickly withdrawn from Iraq, with the United States pressing Iraq's fragile government to do more to quell violence and launching a broad international effort to secure a diplomatic resolution to the ongoing conflict.
Can Edwards beat Hillary or Obama?
Despite the celebrity appeal of Clinton and Obama, Edwards begins the campaign well-positioned to compete for the nomination. He tops public opinion polls of Democrats in Iowa, which will hold the first caucuses of 2008; retains a base in South Carolina, whose primary he won in 2004; and has built good relationships with organized labor in Nevada, which is scheduled to hold the second caucus next year.
....Perhaps most significantly, he recanted his original support for the war in Iraq, writing an op-ed column in The Washington Post in which he said of his vote for the 2002 resolution authorizing Bush to go to war: "I was wrong." His new position gives him the opportunity to appeal to the party's anti-war activists, many of whom remain wary of Clinton because of her long support for the war.
As for his position on issues:
The issues include restoring the nation's moral leadership around the globe, beginning in Iraq with a drawdown of troops; strengthening the middle class and "ending the shame of poverty"; guaranteeing health care for every American; fighting global warming; and ending what he called America's addiction to oil.
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