Boehner Responds To Gibbs, Reaffirms Support For Iraq Troop Drawdown

08/31/2010 01:02 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

House Minority Leader John Bohner's (R-Ohio) office reaffirmed on Tuesday that he supports the removal of combat troops from Iraq after White House officials insinuated that he either opposes or is non-committal on the drawdown.

In a statement to the Huffington Post, Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said "of course" the congressman supports the withdrawal of 90,000 troops that President Obama is celebrating in an Oval Office address Tuesday evening.

"[T]his draw-down was a part of the status-of-forces agreement negotiated by the Iraqi government and President Bush. Boehner has always supported it," Steel added, "and has publicly praised President Obama for sticking with it."

Earlier in the morning, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs -- undoubtedly tiring of Boehner's criticism that the president is benefiting from a troop surge he didn't support -- challenged the House Minority Leader to detail his personal position on the drawdown.

"I think what the American people would like to know with Congressman Boehner is: Do you support the withdrawing of 90,000 troops that the president is marking today?" Gibbs told ABC's "Good Morning America".

Other administration aides, who also suggested that the Boehner was not being pressed adequately on his stance, echoed Gibbs' comment in private.

Steel's response puts to rest the notion that Republican leadership is not on board with President Obama's plans for Iraq. And it further inflames the debate over who actually authored those plans -- first implemented under the Status of Forces Agreement signed by President George W. Bush, they were brought to completion by Obama.

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