Rep. John Boehner plans to criticize President Obama regarding the war in Iraq on the same day that Obama plans to address the nation about the end of combat operations in that nation.
Boehner will deliver his remarks at a meeting of the American Legion, the nation’s largest veterans service organization. It is being billed as a “major speech,” the second such event the Ohio Republican has held in as many weeks. Last week, Boehner blasted Obama for his economic policies.
The House GOP leader, Boehner is running a fierce campaign against Obama and his fellow Democrats in an attempt to regain House control in this year’s midterm elections. Boehner likely would become speaker if Republicans succeeded in wresting the speaker’s gavel away from current Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Previewing Boehner’s speech Tuesday, in a statement the American Legion cited an op-ed published Aug. 27 in the right-wing newspaper Human Events, in which Boehner said the Aug. 31 shift of U.S. forces from combat to an advisory mission “was made possible by the very surge that President Obama and Vice President Biden opposed,” referring to votes against a 2007 troop increase that Obama and Biden took as members of the Senate.
“With all due respect to them, our troops who have served so courageously in Iraq deserve the credit for the success of the surge and, along with the Iraqi people, the turnaround in Iraq,” Boehner says.
Boehner’s speech to some 10,000 members of the American Legion will come as Obama visits with soldiers at Fort Bliss, Texas, and just hours before an Oval Office address, both intended to mark this month’s end of combat operations in Iraq. The pullout, a promise on which Obama campaigned in 2008, came ahead of schedule. Some 50,000 U.S. troops remain in Iraq for training and advisory purposes.
Obama has long opposed the war in Iraq, which began early in 2003 under then-President George W. Bush.
The American Legion this week is holding its 92nd American Legion National Convention. The organization also notes that members of the Obama administration, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Air Force Secretary Michael Donley also will address the Legion members.
Others scheduled to speak include: Sen. Russell Feingold, (D-Wis.); Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.); Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Rep. Bob Filner (D-Calif.); and Rep. Steve Buyer (R-Ind.). The convention is being held in Milwaukee.
The publisher of the news site On The Hill, Scott Nance has covered Congress and the federal government for more than a decade.