Voter Asks Edwards to Debate Distinctions

By MichaelJames

Oct 28, 2007 8:40pm

ABC News’ Raelyn Johnson Reports: Perhaps both a sequel to the Democratic presidential debate in Dartmouth last month and prequel to Tuesday’s upcoming showdown, today a New Hampshire voter encouraged former Sen. John Edwards to draw further distinctions between himself and Sen. Hillary Clinton on bringing troops home from Iraq.

“I know that your position is probably the closest to mine of all those three [top tier] candidates,” said Dave Tiffany, 59, during a town hall in Bedford, N.H.  “It’s not enough for candidates to say that they will end the war in Iraq.  I’ve heard Hillary Clinton say that probably about 50 times. I don’t think she means the same thing by it as I mean by it.”

Tiffany, who expressed his disappointment in the Democratic Congress for funding the war without a timetable for troop withdrawal, recapped Edwards performance saying, “In the Dartmouth debate you did take Hillary Clinton to task for continuing combat operations. Please, continue to make this an issue in future debates.  We need to know that we’re going to end the war in Iraq.”

At Dartmouth last month, moderator Tim Russert asked that candidates if they would pledge by January 2013 there will be no U.S. troops in Iraq.  Clinton, Obama and Edwards all failed to directly commit to the pledge, though they did express a desire to have all troops out of Iraq during their presidency. However, Edwards took a moment to take Sen. Clinton to task, saying, “There are, however, differences between us, and those differences need to be made aware. Good people have differences about this issue. For example, I heard Sen. Clinton say on Sunday that she wants to continue combat missions in Iraq. To me, that’s a continuation of the war.”

Today, Edwards reiterated his differences at the request of Tiffany.

“I will have every American combat troop out of Iraq long before that [2013], and I will stop combat missions long before that,” said Edwards.

“No combat troops, no combat troops being stationed in Iraq — that is an important distinction between at least Sen. Clinton and myself."

Tiffany, who is currently an undecided voter, said he was taking a close look at the entire field of Democratic candidates, noting, “If we’re going to vet our candidates properly, we’re going to need to go to a greater level of detail.”  On Tuesday, Tiffany will tune in to the debate with great detail.

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