Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama waded into controversy on Thursday over his plans to withdraw US combat troops from Iraq, first saying he might refine”his views but later declaring his stance had remained unchanged for more than a year.
Obama was forced to call reporters back for a second news conference in Fargo, North Dakota, after he initially left open the possibility of revising his 16-month timetable for pulling US combat forces from Iraq.
“Let me be as clear as I can be. I intend to end this war. My first day in office I will bring the Joint Chiefs of Staff in and I will give them a new mission and that is to end this war,” Obama told reporters in his second news conference. But he added: “I would be a poor commander in chief if I didn’t take facts on the ground into account.”
Obama, an early opponent of the war who made his stance a centerpiece of his Democratic presidential campaign, said he would not support a long-term US presence in Iraq but wanted to ensure any troop withdrawal was orderly and safe.