President Barack Obama consigned the Iraq war to history Friday, declaring he will end combat operations within 18 months and open a new era of diplomacy in the Middle East.
"Let me say this as plainly as I can: By August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end," Obama told Marines who are about to deploy by the thousands to the other war front, Afghanistan.
Even so, Obama will leave the bulk of troops in place this year, contrary to hopes of Democratic leaders for a speedier pullout. And after combat forces withdraw, 35,000 to 50,000 will stay behind for an additional year and half of support and counterterrorism duties.
President Barack Obama has launched a bid to transform the US political landscape, with a 3.55-trillion-dollar budget mapping out the sweeping scale of his administration's ambitions.
The document handed to Congress bristled with spending on healthcare, climate change, the military and education, included a rosy prediction of a return to growth next year and raised taxes on the wealthiest Americans.
President Obama has taken to heart the cheerleading aspect of his job. We have yet to see how his plans will work in real life.
His proposed budget is like a dazzling magical, mirrored box -- reflecting what you want to see. It has money for health care. It promises an end to waste, fraud and abuse. It addresses climate change. The billions we spend each year on Iraq and Afghanistan are finally on the books.
The words were upbeat and inspiring and the follow up budgetary details so startling one can only wonder how in the world most of it can be accomplished with a treasury that is as much underwater as half the stocks in everyone's 401(k) or the value of their houses as compared to their mortgages.
Barack Obama called for national confidence in his speech to Congress, and the exhortation was needed -- the best friend a recession has is fearfulness.
But as persuasive, refreshing and even dazzling as this remarkable president continues to be, the question remains whether we should have confidence in him, or more precisely, in his policies.
A "substantial" number of the roughly 100,000 U.S. combat troops to be pulled out of Iraq by Aug. 31, 2010, will remain in the war zone until at least December to ensure national elections there go smoothly, senior Obama administration officials say.
That pacing suggests that although Obama's promised withdrawal will start soon, it will be backloaded, with larger numbers of troops returning later in the 18-month time frame.
Obama was to announce his strategy Friday at the sprawling Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, where thousands of Marines are soon heading to another war front, Afghanistan.
What President Obama delivered was technically not a State of the Union address. His first will be next January. This was an address to a joint session of Congress, but for all practical purposes it was a State of the Union address and that state is "economic crisis."
Obama is a gifted orator, perhaps the best presidential speaker in memory, and Tuesday night's speech was a tour de force -- bold, optimistic and certainly not lacking in big ideas.
President Barack Obama is sending Congress a budget Thursday that projects the government's deficit for this year will soar to $1.75 trillion, reflecting efforts to pull the nation out of a deep recession and a severe financial crisis.
A senior administration official told The Associated Press that Obama's $3 trillion-plus spending blueprint also asks Congress to raise taxes on the wealthy in 2011 and cut Medicare costs to provide health care for the uninsured.
President Barack Obama is close to issuing an order to withdraw the bulk of US military forces from Iraq by August 2010, the New York Times reported Wednesday, citing senior administration officials.
The order would give the US military 19 months to pull out, three months more than the promise Obama made while campaigning for president in 2008.
President Barack Obama gave America the audacity to hope again.
After describing the U.S. economy in nearly apocalyptic terms for weeks, pushing his $787 billion stimulus plan through Congress, the president used his address to Congress on Tuesday night to tap the deep well of American optimism — the never-say-die spirit that every president tries to capture in words. And great presidents embody.