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Monday, July 16, 2007

Obama Says Bush Made US Less Safe

Oelwein, Ia. — Bad decisions by President Bush in the Iraq war have made the United States less safe from terrorism, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Saturday on a campaign visit to Oelwein.

Obama made the statements to about 250 people at City Park.

He cited recent intelligence reports that al Qaida has regained its pre-9/11 capability.
Obama said the war has been a distraction from the country’s focus on terrorist groups, specifically those along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

“We could have significantly reduced our risks had we pursued better polices over the last several years,” the Illinois senator said. “As a consequence of bad decisions, we are more at risk and less safe than we should have been at this point, given the amount of resources that we’ve devoted and the number of U.S. lives lost.”

Obama unveiled a mailing that will go out Monday that includes the telephone numbers of Iowa Republican congressional leaders who have voted against efforts to end the war.

The pamphlet urges people to call their congressmen “and tell them to bring the troops home now, even if it means voting to override a presidential veto.”
Earlier this year, Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley criticized Obama after he made a similar suggestion to Iowa voters at campaign stops.

Grassley said Obama lacks “political class.”

“It’s not senatorial, and if you can’t be senatorial, how can you be presidential?” Grassley said in May. “Generally, when you’re in another state, you don’t take pokes at a fellow senator.”

Obama also made stops Saturday in Elkader and Manchester.

After the Oelwein speech, he criticized comments caught by an open microphone earlier in the week between former North Carolina senator John Edwards and New York senator Hillary Clinton.

Clinton and Edwards suggested that lesser-known candidates should not be part of future debates so that voters could focus on front-runners. Edwards later said he meant that all candidates should get to debate but in smaller groups.

“I don’t know how you would draw the line to say that some can participate and some can’t,” Obama said. “Particularly when you know, historically, Bill Clinton, for example, was at 2 percent in the polls in some of these early contests and ended up showing himself as an extraordinary campaigner as a consequence of him having a chance to be a part of it.
“My attitude is the more the merrier.”

Also Saturday, Obama took part in the First Congressional District Workshop Reception at Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta.

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