MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry hit President Obama for ending the Iraq war and pulling out U.S. troops -- carrying out a Status of Forces Agreement first negotiated between the Bush administration and the Iraqi government.
"I would send troops back into Iraq," he said. "I think we start talking with the Iraqi individuals there. The idea that we allow the Iranians to come back into Iraq and take over that country, with all of the treasure, both in blood and money, that we have spent in Iraq -- because this president wants to kowtow to his liberal leftist base, and move out those men and women. He could have renegotiated that time frame. I think it is a huge error for us."
Perry added, "We're going to see Iran, in my opinion, move back in at literally the speed of light. They're going to move back in, and all of the work we've done -- every young man that has lost his life in that country will have been for nothing. Because we've got a president that does not understand what's going on in that region."
The speed of light is fast, and it seems doubtful that Iran will be moving back into Iraq in that timeframe. The last U.S. troops left Iraq at the end of 2011, so presumably, if Iran were moving at such a quick pace, it would already be there.
Perry spokesman Mark Miner told The Huffington Post in the spin room after the debate that Perry was talking about having "a strategic presence of troops like we're already doing around the world."
"It wasn't a new policy," he said.
When asked what Perry would do if the Iraqis don't want U.S. troops in their country, he replied, "It has to be a working relationship. What we don't want is Iran to get a hold over Iraq and jeopardize peace in the region and be a detriment to peace in the region."