Sneak Peek: Obama Draws Distinction on Iraq

Five years ago, as his future presidential primary opponents were voting to give President Bush the authority to go to war in Iraq, then-State Senator Barack Obama expressed his opposition in a speech in Chicago.

"I don't oppose all wars...What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war," said Obama on Oct. 2, 2002.

Tuesday Obama heads back to the Windy City to mark the anniversary of his speech by highlighting this significant difference between him and the other top Democratic candidates on Iraq.

ABC News' Rick Klein reports that Team Obama views his early anti-war position as key to his differences with his opponents, since all of the other major Democratic candidates – including Clinton, former senator John Edwards, D-N.C., and senators Joe Biden, D-Del., and Chris Dodd, D-Conn. – voted for the war in Iraq. LINK

But, Klein notes, Obama has struggled to define how his plan for Iraq looking forward would be different than Clinton's and in looking back to 2002, Obama must be careful in how he calibrates his distinctions, since Clinton and her aides will be quick to remind Obama of his past statements regarding positive campaigning if and when he decides to dial up attacks.

Obama marks the fifth anniversary of the "dumb war" speech by holding a series of rallies in 18 cities nationwide. Obama gets things started with an 11:30 am ET foreign policy speech in Chicago, IL at DePaul University's Student Actives Center.

He then heads to Iowa for speeches in Des Moines (at 5:00 pm ET) and Coralville (at 8:45 pm ET).

Hillary Clinton is on the Left Coast with no public events. She will be in Los Angeles, Tucson, and Washington State.

Bill Richardson blazes the trail to Boulder City, CO as the first presidential candidate to visit the city, where he holds a meet and greet at 7:00 pm ET at the historic Boulder Dam Hotel. He then heads to a private fundraising event in the evening.

Joe Biden is in Washington, DC with no public events.

As for the Republicans. . .

Mitt Romney announces his intention to participate in Georgia's Feb 5 presidential primary through his son Ben at a 4:00 pm ET photo op at the Georgia Republican Party headquarters in Atlanta. Ben Romney is joined by Georgia Speaker Pro Temp Mark Burkhalter.

His wife Ann, has a news section of Mitt dedicated to her. It includes her favorite recipes, recent speeches and news for her events on the campaign trail, reports ABC News' Sunlen Miller.

Rudy Giuliani has no public campaign schedule.

John McCain raises campaign coin in Florida before traveling to the Palmetto State for a 6:30 pm ET speech to the Blue Ridge Electric Co-Op PAC for their Appreciation Dinner in Westminster. The event is followed by a media availability.

Fred Thompson is in Iowa today campaigning at various events. He begins with a closed roundtable discussion with the Des Moines Register Editorial Board starting at 9:45 am ET in Des Moines, IA. He then holds a meet and greet at the Webster County Republican Party Headquarters at 12:25 pm ET in Fort Dodge, IA followed by a coffee meet and greet in Clinton, IA at 3:15 pm at the Sweetheart Bakery. He ends his day in Coralville, IA for a with a meet and greet with Johnson County.

Alan Keyes is busy with media appearances, starting his day with a TV appearance on KDCR, radio interview with Ralph Goemaat at 2 pm and a live interview with Laurie Roth at 10 pm .

In our Nation's Capital. . . President Bush meets with the President of Iraq at 9:35 am ET in the Oval Office.

The House votes on the Abercrombie-Tanner bill, which will require the Pentagon to report to Congress on its plans for troop deployment. The resolution (H.R. was introduced last July.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer holds a pen and pad only briefing at 11:30 am ET in Room H-107 in the Capitol.


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Why Violence in Iraq Decreased The number of troops killed in Iraq dropped to the lowest level in 18 months. LINK

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