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Poll shows peril for GOP candidates blasting Iraq withdrawal

By Jonathan Terbush
Thursday, November 3, 2011 13:14 EDT
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Almost immediately after President Obama announced the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the year, his reelection rivals ripped into him for that decision.

However, a Gallup poll released this week shows the danger of attacking the Iraq drawdown, as it found that fully three-fourths of Americans support the president’s decision.

According to the poll, 75% of adults nationwide support bringing nearly all U.S. troops back from Iraq by 2012, verus 21% who oppose that move. Among independents, 77% said Obama made a good decision, while just 17% he did not.

In the wake of Obama’s withdrawal announcement, every GOP presidential candidate except Ron Paul condemned the decision. (Though Paul, who advocates an end to all foreign occupations, said the Iraq withdrawal was only a first step in the right direction.)

Mitt Romney said Obama’s decision  was an “astonishing failure” that showed, “naked political calculation or simply sheer ineptitude.” Michele Bachmann echoed that sentiment, saying it was a “political decision” as opposed to a “military one.”

“We have been ejected from a country by the people that we liberated and that the United States paid for with precious blood and treasure,” Bachmann said.

Newt Gingrich and Rick Santroum said the move showed that America had lost the war, with Gingrich calling it a “decisive defeat,” and Santorum claiming that that administration had empowered Iran because they’d, “lost control and lost the war.” Even Jon Huntsman, the most moderate Republican in the GOP field, warned that Iraq was now, “vulnerable to backsliding.”

Though Democrats struggled to gain the high-ground on national security during the Bush years, Obama has seemingly flipped that dichotomy on its head. His approval rating got a huge boost following the death of Osama bin Laden and, though Americans were initially skeptical of the Libyan campaign, polls ultimately showed that solid pluralities approved of the mission overall.

Jonathan Terbush
Jonathan Terbush
Jon Terbush is a Boston-based writer whose work has appeared in Talking Points Memo, Business Insider, the New Haven Register, and elsewhere. He tweets about politics, cats, and baseball via @jonterbush.
 
 
 
 
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