Bully Pulpit

Obama's Oval Office Speech: Switch Focus from Iraq to Afghanistan

The main component of President Barack Obama’s anticipated Oval Office Speech will be the need for America to shift its focus from the war in Iraq to the war in Afghanistan, his spokesman said Thursday. The speech, to be delivered on Tuesday, August 31, at 8 p.m. EDT, was previewed by Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton while Obama vacationed in Martha’s Vineyard. It “commemorates an important milepost in American history,” said Burton, and Obama plans to speak “directly with the American people about what our mission is in Afghanistan [and] the fact that more of our efforts and focus are now on fighting al Qaeda in Afghanistan.” Obama will also use the occasion to thank the troops for their bravery in Iraq, according to Burton, and before the speech Obama will fly to Fort Bliss in Texas to thank them in person. The number of U.S. troops in Iraq dropped below 50,000 this week for the first time, and Burton said Obama is confident the transition to Iraqi control “has been a successful one.”