ABC News' Teddy Davis Reports: One day after Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., portrayed Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., as being opposed to beginning the phased withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, her campaign chided the Illinois lawmaker for distorting her position.
"Senator Obama is mistaken," Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson said in a statement e-mailed to reporters. "Senator Clinton has long been on record in favor of a phased redeployment of our troops. In fact both she and Senator Obama voted in 2005 to begin such a withdrawal." Obama claimed Monday that Clinton and her bill do not support beginning a "phased redeployment" of U.S. troops from Iraq.
"I think the difference is--," Obama said Monday, "and now again, I don't want to speak for her or her bill -- my understanding is that she calls for a cap on troop levels but does not begin a phased redeployment. And so that's a pretty substantial difference."
Contrary to the impression given by Obama's statement, Clinton does support beginning a phased redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq. She joined Obama both in November of 2005 and in June of 2006 in voting for measures which put both of them on the record as expressing their support for such a change in U.S. policy.
What Clinton does not support is having Congress announce a date for finishing the phased redeployment.
Asked if Obama, or his campaign, acknowledges that Clinton does support beginning a phased troop withdrawal from Iraq even though she does not share Obama's support for an actual deadline for finishing the withdrawal, Obama press secretary Bill Burton told ABC News: "The votes on their research document appear to be accurate."
While Obama's description of Clinton's position on beginning the redeployment of troops was misleading, important differences remain between the two candidates.
Whereas Clinton does not support having Congress announce a target date for finishing the phased redeployment, Obama does: he has introduced legislation that begins redeployment of U.S. forces no later than May 1, 2007, with the goal of removing all combat brigades from Iraq by Mar. 31, 2008.
Another important difference pertains to the positions Obama and Clinton took before the start of the war. While Clinton voted in 2002 to authorize President Bush to use force in Iraq, Obama opposed the use of force in Iraq while still serving in the Illinois state legislature.