WH Switches Gears From Iraq to the Economy

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President Barack Obama says now that the war in Iraq is winding down, Americans must take on the problems of unemployment and a sagging economy in the U.S.

"Thousands of Americans gave their lives," Obama said in his speech from the Oval Office Tuesday night. "Tens of thousands have been wounded. America's relations abroad were strained. The country's unity was tested," he said.

Dr. Charles Dunn, dean of Regent University's School of Government, provided an analysis of the president's speech on the CBN Newschannel's Midday program, Sept. 1. Click play to view his comments.

Read all of President Obama's speech and watch a portion of his comments here.

From the start, Obama opposed the war that former President George W. Bush began. However on Tuesday, he tried to bridge the division, saying he had telephoned Bush earlier.

"It's well known that he and I disagreed about the war from its outset," Obama said. "Yet no one could doubt President Bush's support for our troops, or his love of country and commitment to our security. As I have said, there were patriots who supported this war, and patriots who opposed it."

Still, some critics pointed out that Obama had been against Bush's troop surge -- which in effect ended the fighting in Iraq. House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Obama was more interested in ending the war than winning it.

"Using campaign promises as a yardstick to measure success in Iraq and Afghanistan runs the risk of triggering artificial victory laps and premature withdrawal dates unconnected to conditions on the ground," Boehner said.

Some analysts have warned that it might be too soon to leave Iraq, because the country doesn't have a solid government yet. However, the president said it's time to focus on domestic problems -- joblessness and the weak economy.

"At this moment, as we wind down the war in Iraq, we must tackle those challenges at home with as much energy, and grit, and sense of common purpose as our men and women in uniform who have served abroad," Obama said.

Obama said the war on a weak economy must be waged wholeheartedly.

"This will be difficult," he added. "But in the days to come, it must be our central mission as a people, and my central responsibility as president."

One major issue the president - and possibly a new Congress - must face, is rapid growth of federal spending. The government spent a record $3.2 trillion in 2009. Spending was up 16 percent from the previous year, largely because of the immense cost of the economic stimulus programs.

Huge federal spending and the exploding national debt are key political issues right now, along with the slumping economy. Voters are expected to make that abundantly clear this November.

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.