President Bush's announcement Tuesday that he would bring home 8,000 troops from Iraq early next year did not win over Barack Obama. The Democratic presidential nominee said the move just "kicks the can down the road" to the next president.
Obama was in Dayton, Ohio, pushing his education reform plan Wednesday when the president announced the troop redeployment. Obama said the plan continues to give Iraq's leaders a "blank check" instead of pressing them to take responsibility.
"What has been clear throughout this process is that until we have a political reconciliation and stabilization, that we are going to continue to have problems in Iraq," he said. "And the fact that this deployment — redeployment — is small and isn't taking place for five months, the bulk of it, I think indicates the degree to which the central problem still has not been solved."
Obama spent the rest of his day in rural southwest Virginia, courting mostly white working-class voters in a congressional district that has an interesting presidential voting record — voting twice for Bill Clinton and then twice for George W. Bush. Trying to bring these voters back into the Democratic fold, Obama left the stage and hit the streets of historic Abingdon to shake hands and hobnob in an old-fashioned soda shop.
Later, in a steamy high school gymnasium in Lebanon, Va., Obama reaffirmed his belief in the Second Amendment right to own guns.