POLITICS

Obama Says He Made '04 Iraq Remarks To Protect Kerry/Edwards

As Barack Obama highlighted his early opposition to the Iraq war today, rivals tried to shift attention to comments Obama made in July 2004 on the Iraq war resolution:

In a recent interview, he declined to criticize Senators Kerry and Edwards for voting to authorize the war, although he said he would not have done the same based on the information he had at the time. 'But, I'm not privy to Senate intelligence reports,' Mr. Obama said. 'What would I have done? I don't know. What I know is that from my vantage point the case was not made.'" [NYT, 7/26/04]

A press release from Sen. Chris Dodd's (D-CT) campaign today wished Obama a "Happy (Belated) Anniversary," since July 26 "marked the 3rd anniversary of the New York Times story in which Obama admitted that he did not know how he would have voted on the Iraq resolution had he been serving in the United States Senate at the time of the vote."

During a CNN interview today, Obama addressed those 2004 remarks for the first time:

OBAMA: The only time when I said I'm not sure what I would do if I were in the Senate was right before the Democratic convention when I, we had two nominees that obviously I did not want to be criticizing right before they got up and received the nomination.

CROWLEY: But you didn't mean it?

OBAMA: Well, no, what I'm suggesting is everybody had difficult choices to make, and these were difficult choices. I made the right choice, and I think that is relevant not to the past but to the future.

Whether the 2004 statement calls into question Obama's opposition to the war is debatable. But Crowley's question remains unanswered -- did Obama mean what he said then or was he merely avoiding the appearance of an attack on Kerry and Edwards?