Obama’s Iraq speech draws lukewarm response from Marines
CAMP LEJEUNE, North Carolina – So much for those adoring crowds.
President Barack Obama, who is used to screaming masses and loud applause from his 2008 campaign events, got a more tepid response on Friday from a hall of Marines and sailors who listened to his announcement on pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq.
Obama, who said U.S. combat forces would be out of Iraq by August 2010, drew polite clapping from the crowd for his policy announcements, but most of his presumed applause lines fell a bit flat.
“We sent our troops to Iraq to do away with Saddam Hussein’s regime – and you got the job done,” he said. Polite applause from the crowd of roughly 2,000.
“We kept our troops in Iraq to help establish a sovereign government – and you got the job done,” Obama continued. Modest clapping.
“We will raise military pay,” he declared. Whoops, cheers, and very loud clapping.
“I figured that’d be an applause line,” Obama said. He was right about that.
In contrast, former President George W. Bush typically received thunderous applause when he addressed military crowds.
Military members, who were approved to speak to reporters, played down the crowd’s responsiveness to Obama’s remarks.
Sergeant Adryon Johnson, 22, of Pennsylvania said he was excited to see the president in person.
“I’ve been over there,” he said. “I’m all supportive of whatever the commander-in-chief says.”
As for the tepid applause: “Marines are pretty disciplined so, you know, at times we’re going to do our jobs and maintain a professional appearance,” he said.
“As far as when the president, as you heard him talk about pay and, you know, family benefits and things that really matters to us, applause came.”
– Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Young (Obama addresses Marines in North Carolina)