The Clinton camp has issued a memo criticizing Obama's work on national security issues at the beginning of this week's 5th anniversary of the Iraq War:
To: Interested Parties
From: The Clinton Campaign
Date: March 17, 2008
RE: Just Words for Five Years
Over the last few weeks, the question of who is most ready to be Commander-in-Chief has rightfully dominated the presidential campaign. Who is ready to take the 3am call? Who has a record of action on national security issues? Who is ready to be president on day one?
Senator Clinton has worked to answer these questions by presenting her record to voters and enabling them to judge her based on the record she has amassed during her 35 years of public service - as a first lady who traveled to 82 countries and as a U.S. Senator who sits on the Armed Services Committee.
Lacking a comparable record, Senator Obama has premised his campaign on just words, most notably the resounding speech he delivered in October 2002 against the Iraq war.
But with the fifth anniversary of the invasion upon us, the onus is now on Senator Obama to demonstrate what he did to act on that 2002 speech when he got to the U.S. Senate.
Hillary has long argued that what matters in this campaign isn't what we've said but what we've done. Are words backed with action?
This week, the Clinton Campaign will continue to discuss which candidate is ready to be Commander-in-Chief on day one. We will urge Senator Obama to show that he hasn't simply amassed five years of words, that his record on ending the war is one of action.
Senator Obama gave an anti-Iraq speech in 2002 that he removed from his website in 2003, calling it "dated." When he got to the Senate, Senator Obama failed to take advantage of the opportunity provided by his new position and did little to turn his words into action until he became a White House candidate. In fact, he voted for over $300 billion in funds for the war and waited 18 months to speak on the Senate floor about Iraq, delivering a speech AGAINST the Kerry amendment that set a hard deadline for withdrawal.
When he took over the subcommittee that oversees NATO and Afghanistan and had a chance to follow up on the part of his 2002 speech that argued that Iraq diverted attention from Afghanistan, he failed to hold a single hearing. And as a candidate, he regularly touts a plan to set a hard end date for Iraq that has now been dismissed by one of his foreign policy advisers as just words.
Voters need to know whether they can count on their candidates to act on the ideas they tout on the stump. While Senator Clinton has acted on the words she uses on the campaign trail, Senator Obama's words aren't backed by action.
At the end of the day, the true test for a president is not the speeches he or she delivers - it's whether he or she delivers on the speeches.