This from Yahoo! News:
WASHINGTON – Just what does it mean to end combat missions in Iraq? Democrats John Edwards and Hillary Rodham Clinton disagree.
Edwards has been criticizing Clinton for her plan to continue combat missions against al-Qaida in Iraq. His campaign says that would be a continuation of what it calls the “U.S. occupation” that he will end if elected president.
Edwards says that doesn’t mean he’ll stop fighting against terrorists in Iraq. The difference, he told The Boston Globe in an article published Thursday, is that his counterterrorism missions would be based in Kuwait and elsewhere in the Middle East and conduct quick “expeditions” into Iraq.
Clinton’s campaign says either way, sending troops to fight would be a combat mission in Iraq.
“It’s unfortunate that Senator Edwards is so frustrated with his campaign that he’ manufacturing false attacks against Senator Clinton,” said Clinton spokesman Phil Singer. “Before Senator Edwards goes after others on an issue, he ought to get his own position straight and explain why he tells voters he’ll end combat missions in Iraq if his actual position is that he’d continue them.”
Edwards responded saying it doesn’t matter, he’s correct:
Edwards’ campaign said whether the combat troops are in the country or not is an important distinction. Troops on bases in Iraq would become targets for insurgents, symbolize continuing U.S. occupation, inevitably get drawn into other missions and prevent Iraqis from moving toward sovereignty, the campaign said.
Edwards spokesman Chris Kofinis also accused Clinton of failing to respond directly to questions Edwards has posed to her asking for details about her plan to end the war.
Blah blah blah, John Edwards isn’t going anywhere in the polls. However, the fact that Hillary’s campaign even felt the need to spar with the Edwards campaign is quite telling.
I’m wondering if they were a little bothered by Hillary’s drop in the polls and felt they better not let Edwards’ attacks go unanswered. I say this because Edwards has been nipping at her heels for months and usually Hillary just ignores him like the barking chihuahua that he is. However, it is getting closer to primary time and it’s best to not let these things fester.
Hillary wins this media exchange in my opinion. She has trumped Edwards’ statement in that he would “quick expeditions” into Iraq. Thus, he is now splitting hairs on why his “quick” combat is different than Hillary’s generic combat. A dumb position to be in.