News

Clinton, Obama squabble over Iraq

Michael McAuliff
New York Daily News

WASHINGTON - Hillary Clinton's presidential team took its first shot at Sen. Barack Obama Tuesday, criticizing her top rival for distorting her position on Iraq.

Obama, hitting Clinton in a sore spot for the second time, had belittled her plan to "cap" troops in Iraq, pointing out he wants to pull all forces from the country by March 31, 2008.

"My understanding is that she calls for a cap on troop levels but does not begin a phased redeployment," Obama, D-Ill., said in New Hampshire on Monday, visiting the state on the heels of Clinton.

Camp Clinton shot back Tuesday that Obama was trying to hoodwink people into thinking Sen. Clinton, D-N.Y., doesn't want to start pulling out. "Sen. Obama is mistaken," said Clinton adviser Howard Wolfson, who fired off an e-mail listing Clinton's repeated calls for a "phased redeployment."

"In fact both she and Sen. Obama voted in 2005 to begin such a withdrawal," he said.

Clinton returned from Iraq last month and promised that her proposed bill to cap troops would include redeployment. "Her legislation when introduced will further her longtime call for a phased redeployment from Iraq," said spokesman Philippe Reines, adding the bill will be introduced this week.

Measures that Clinton and Obama voted for in the past failed, and a spokesman for Obama noted tartly that Clinton hasn't set any new dates for removing any troops.

"Only Barack Obama opposed the war in Iraq from the start and only Barack Obama has legislation that would, by force of law, begin a redeployment by May 1, 2007," said spokesman Bill Burton.

___

(New York Daily News correspondent Helen Kennedy contributed to this report.)

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