Per NBC/NJ's Aswini Anburajan, Obama in his speech today will lay out a detailed withdrawal plan from Iraq, and map out what American foreign policy would look like under an Obama presidency. Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki says, "Obama will outline what this war has cost us as a nation and lay out his plan for ending the war -- with new policy proposals on troop withdrawals, diplomacy within Iraq and offer aggressive action to deal with Iraq's humanitarian crisis: and talk about what American can accomplish in the world once we end the war."
According to excerpts the campaign has released, Obama will say: "There is something unreal about the debate that's taking place in Washington… The bar for success is so low that it is almost buried in the sand. The American people have had enough of the shifting spin. We've had enough of extended deadlines for benchmarks that go unmet. We've had enough of mounting costs in Iraq and missed opportunities around the world. We've had enough of a war that should never have been authorized and should never have been waged."
More: "I opposed this war from the beginning. I opposed the war in 2002. I opposed it in 2003. I opposed it in 2004. I opposed it in 2005. I opposed it in 2006. I introduced a plan in January to remove all of our combat brigades by next March. And I am here to say that we have to begin to end this war now."
The AP notes that Obama will be introduced by Zbigniew Brzezinski, Carter's national security advisor. Brzezinski has endorsed Obama, but this is his first appearance with the campaign.
President Bush will give a primetime address on Thursday on endorsing Petraeus' recommendations. The Washington Post: "White House aides said they are working on a 20-minute prime-time speech that Bush will give tomorrow night, in which he will endorse the main elements of the strategy outlined by Petraeus and Crocker on Capitol Hill this week. They said the president plans to emphasize that he is in a position to order troop cuts only because of the success achieved on the ground in Iraq, and that he is not being swayed by political opposition. Aides said that he plans to outline once again what he sees as the dire consequences of failure in Iraq and that he will make the troop cuts conditional on continued military gains."
The New York Times says that Petraeus and Crocker "conceded Tuesday that the Bush administration's overall strategy in Iraq would remain largely unchanged after the temporary increase in American forces is over next summer, and made clear their view that the United States would need a major troop presence in Iraq for years to come… The clashes over war strategy were more intense and emotional than had unfolded during the previous day in the House, reflecting the powerful passions and ambitions of a Senate that includes five presidential aspirants."
Speaking of, here's a look at what presidential candidates said during the hearings, per the Boston Globe's front-page story…
BIDEN: "The American people will not support an indefinite role whose sole remaining purpose is to prevent the situation in Iraq from becoming even worse." The Globe also writes that Biden "seemed less interested in data than anecdote."
CLINTON: "The reports you provided to us require the willing suspension of disbelief." She called Petraeus and Crocker "the de facto spokesmen of what many of us consider to be a failed policy."
EDWARDS (in a statement): "It's time for Congress to act. They must stand firm and tell President Bush with one voice: No timetable, no funding. No excuses."
MCCAIN: "I believe we cannot choose to lose in Iraq."
OBAMA: "You said in this testimony that it's political, the reason for the success in Anbar [province], not because of an increase in troop strength."
The Washington Post's Dana Milbank yesterday spied an Obama campaign memo, which read: "As you get ready for press around your speech on Iraq, we wanted to make sure you have on one piece of paper the principle [sic] differences between your speech on Iraq and the most comprehensive on Iraq given by Senator Clinton." Milbank writes, "It isn't entirely surprising that he would be preparing some political barbs for the Democratic front-runner… Still, Obama's juxtaposition -- contemplating the nakedly political as he prepared to question the top U.S. general in Iraq and the U.S. ambassador to Iraq -- was stark." More: Biden "displayed his disdain for the more popular Obama by conspicuously reading a newspaper while the Illinois senator questioned the witnesses."
The Hartford Courant covered Dodd's questions to Petraeus yesterday. "Dodd seemed incredulous [of the assertion that the surge is working]. 'I don't seem to get any indication, don't get a feeling here that there's any real opportunity or optimism, that this is going to get better,' the senator said."