Bachmann Waits to Voice Opinion on Afghan Troop Withdrawal
Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., opposes President Obama's decision to withdraw 10,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year and another 23,000 by the end of next summer. But, while other Oval Office hopefuls were quick to announce their thoughts on the strategy, with one even sending out an opinion before the speech under an embargo, the congresswoman's campaign was asked by Fox News for a statement twice before sending out the candidate's thoughts on the issue nearly 22 hours later.
Bachmann serves on the House Intelligence Committee and frequently cites it as evidence of her solid foreign policy credentials and expertise.
The initial request was at noon Thursday, at which point we were told that the campaign might send one out later. Another Fox journalist asked for a statement at 3:30 p.m. ET and was told that they would not be sending out one, and that the campaign was, according to a spokeswoman, "pretty focused on the announcement tour," a three state swing that is scheduled to begin with a formal campaign roll-out speech in Waterloo, Iowa on Monday.
The campaign sent a statement later in the afternoon saying that the president's plan was a political calculation. "Announced deadlines for withdrawing forces from any battle enables the enemy to simply wait until we leave to reconstitute itself," Bachmann said in a statement, "By undercutting our security objectives in Afghanistan with ill-advised timelines and accelerated troops withdrawals, President Obama apparently listened to his political consultants rather than his military commanders."
Bachmann has expressed frustration with the war in Afghanistan in the past, telling CNN in May that she was, "tired of Afghanistan and Iraq, too. I think we need to get out. I think Afghanistan is -- on many, many levels, it doesn't seem we're gaining any ground. I want to reduce U.S. exposure in Afghanistan. So, let's get them out as quickly as we can," before adding that generals on the ground should be the experts on troop decisions.
That frustration is absent in her new statement, which says that the surge has made "great progress."