Eight-year-old Logan Crawford, left,
takes a photo of US Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, as she speaks during a
town hall meeting, Sunday, Jan. 28, 2007, at the Mississippi Valley
Fairgrounds in Davenport, Iowa. Clinton has formed an exploratory
committee in advance of formally announcing her candidacy for the 2008
Democratic presidential nomination. [AP]
DAVENPORT, Iowa - Hillary Rodham Clinton said Sunday that US President Bush
has made a mess of Iraq and it is his responsibility to "extricate" the United
States from the situation before he leaves office.
It would be "the height of irresponsibility" to pass the war along to the
next commander in chief, she said.
"This was his decision to go to war with an ill-conceived plan and an
incompetently executed strategy," the Democratic senator from New York said her
in initial presidential campaign swing through Iowa.
"We expect him to extricate our country from this before he leaves office" in
January 2009, the former first lady said.
The White House condemned Clinton's comments as a partisan attack that
undermines U.S. soldiers.
About 130,000 American troops are in Iraq and Bush has announced he was
sending 21,500 more as part of his new war strategy.
Clinton held a town hall-style forum attended by about 300 activists, giving
a brief speech before taking questions for nearly an hour. Pressed to defend her
vote to authorize force in Iraq before the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003,
Clinton responded by stepping up her criticism of Bush.
"I am going to level with you, the president has said this is going to be
left to his successor," Clinton said. "I think it is the height of
irresponsibility and I really resent it."
Bush describes Iraq as the central front in the global fight against
terrorism that began after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. "The war on terror
will be a problem for the next president. Presidents after me will be
confronting ... an enemy that would like to strike the United States again," he
recently told USA Today.