Obama to call Bush ahead of Iraq speech
Just a friendly chat between two commanders in chief over a 7-1/2 year Iraq war…
President Barack Obama plans to call former President George W. Bush and discuss Iraq where he is ending combat operations that his predecessor began.
Whether or not Obama will mention Bush in his primetime Oval Office television address at 8 p.m. Tuesday is unclear. But White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the ex-president will be among the people Obama calls before giving the speech.
Republicans have criticized Obama for what they say is a failure to acknowledge the success of Bush’s troop surge in bringing down violence in Iraq.
Gibbs was pressed during a briefing with reporters on whether Obama, who opposed the Iraq troop increase, now believes it worked.
Gibbs said additional troops were one element that contributed to the reduction in violence, but there were a “host of factors” that also played a role, such as the Sunni Awakening and an improved political environment.
“The president always believed that you would change part of the security situation by vastly increasing the number of troops,” Gibbs said.
But he said Obama’s view was that “we were not going to accomplish all of what needed to be done in Iraq simply militarily, that there had to be a political accommodation.”
Photo credit: Reuters/Jason Reed (Obama leaves Walter Reed Army Medical Center after private meeting with injured troops)