Both use the question of how they would handle Iraq to attack John McCain’s statement that the U.S. could be in Iraq for “100 years.” It’s the first time the Republican front-runner comes up in the debate.
Hillary, with her decision to give Bush the authority to go to war looming heavily over her, states unequivocally that she would begin withdrawing troops within “60 days” of taking office, with “most troops” out within a year. Obama, in what are becoming regular indirect attacks on Hillary, says that we need to be “as careful getting out of this war as we were careless going in.” Wolf Blitzer again enunciates the attack for Obama, asking Clinton if she “was naive” in voting in favor of the war. Hillary gets slightly defensive, getting into a convoluted explanation of the minutiae of the war authorization.
Obama responds by simplifying the issue, saying the vote was “an authorization to go to war” and repeating another regular anti-Clinton catch-phrase of his: “It is important to be right on day one.”
This time it is Clinton who comes out looking a bit sheepish, as Obama did with the immigration question (though she gets a double-dig in by mentioning Rep. Maxine Waters’ support for her and pointing her out in the audience. She says Waters was one of the original “Get-out-of-Iraq” caucus members. She also happens to be African American).