No sooner did Clinton finish an afternoon news conference than Sen. Barack Obama, who triggered his White House run on Tuesday, sent out a statement saying he, too, will be introducing legislation furthering his concepts for getting troops home.
This is notable politically because it's the first time since Obama started running for president that he directly reacted to Clinton. He at first told reporters he might draft his own plan in a matter of days. It turned out to be a few hours, suggesting he has a rapid response operation either incubating or fully hatched.
It's interesting to see Obama elbowing his way into a developing story line of the day.
Obama and Clinton are starting as the Democratic front-runners. That's a reason why Clinton drew a packed crowd of scribes to the Senate Press Gallery on Wednesday. The scribblers were anticipating something Obama-related, even if it were just a reaction from her about his running.
Clinton said nothing more about Obama -- because no one asked.
On NBC's "Today" show Wednesday morning, host Matt Lauer asked Clinton: Is Obama "completely qualified to be commander-in-chief, in your opinion?" Clinton dodged a direct answer. "We're going to have a vigorous debate, I think, on both sides with both parties, in this primary season. And the voters will make these decisions. That's what's so great about our system," she said.
On page 302 of his book, The Audacity of Hope, which he finished last year, Obama wrote that it was in the interest of the United States and Iraq to begin a phased withdrawal by 2006. In his Nov. 20 Iraq speech in Chicago, Obama revised his timetable, calling for a phased redeployment to begin in four to six months. In an interview Sunday, Obama said a phased withdrawal should start "four to six months from now.'' I asked Obama's office when the clock starts, and I was told it was in November.
Obama's latest: "I not only favor capping the number U.S. troops in Iraq, but believe it's imperative that we begin the phased redeployment I called for two months ago, and intend to introduce legislation that does just that."
Clinton said she was not sure she could pass her plan. "I can count," she said.
Can Obama? The race is on.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
"Obama floats Iraq plan after Clinton puts out proposal"
Lynn Sweet in the Chicago Sun-Times: