(URBANDALE, Iowa) — Texas Gov. Rick Perry accused President Obama of putting politics ahead of troops at an early morning stop in Iowa Wednesday, criticizing the president for not holding a welcome home parade as the final soldiers returned from Iraq this month.
“As a veteran, as the commander-in-chief of our forces in Texas, some 20,000 young men and women who’ve been deployed multiple times, who I’ve had the opportunity and the great privilege to go visit in their theaters and welcome them home, have sent them off with ceremonies, it really disturbs me that nearly after nine years of war in Iraq, that this president wouldn’t welcome home our many heroes with a simple parade in their honor,” Perry told a crowd of 200 caucus goers at the Westside Conservative Club breakfast at the Machine Shed restaurant in Urbandale. “Mr. President, our soldiers come first and it comes before party politics. We need to welcome our soldiers home, give them that parade. Give them that pat on the back. Tell them thank you for the freedom that we have in this country.”
Perry has long criticized Obama’s decision to disclose an end date for pulling U.S. troops in Iraq, arguing that the president put political expediency ahead of the safety of American soldiers.
“Most importantly you don’t tell the enemy what your timetable is going to be,” Perry told reporters in October, shortly after Obama set the deadline. “This administration has signaled, telegraphed its intentions all too often, and that’s just unacceptable. The last thing that you want to do is put those men and women’s lives in peril, and I think that’s what the president’s done by making a political statement to his base that he’s going to be out of Iraq on a date certain.”
The Texas governor also railed against the president for requesting a $1 trillion hike in the debt ceiling along with slamming his healthcare plan, saying “Obamacare is going to destroy healthcare in this country.”
Perry has three more events in Iowa Wednesday afternoon — two meet and greets in Indianola and Pella, and a town hall in Oskaloosa.
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Eric Bradner, Jeff Zeleny and Shimon Prokupecz, CNN
Deirdre Walsh and Eugene Scott, CNN