In an effort to woo more Michigan voters, a senior policy adviser for Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s campaign visited the Michigan League Wednesday to lay out the candidate’s foreign policy platform.
Susan Rice, currently on leave from a fellowship at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., spoke to about 120 people.
To begin, Rice explained Obama’s plans to remove combat troops from Iraq in 16 months.
“The next president of the United States is going to inherit from George Bush an unprecedented series of messes,” she said. “The people who brought us this mess are not going to be the ones who fix it.”
When the foreign policy platform of Obama’s opponent, Republican presidential candidate John McCain, came up, Rice slammed the Republican by comparing his positions to those of George W. Bush.
“John McCain has been asked and said repeatedly in recent weeks that he would do Iraq all over again,” she said. “I think most of you, however, would agree that we need to change course.”
Rice emphasized Obama’s willingness to negotiate with Iran instead of only using military force.
“Listen to McCain — he’s joked that we ought to bomb, bomb, bomb Iran,” she said. “He said it before Bush.”
On the divisive Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Obama supports a two-state solution, Rice said.
She touted Obama’s expansive service plan, which includes an expansion of the Peace Corps and the U.S.’s international service presence abroad.
Rice said Obama is committed to doubling foreign assistance and strengthening alliances with Russia and its neighbors.
“We need to clean up messes, but also move down the path,” she said.
She concluded her speech by urging audience members to help the campaign by registering voters.
“Michigan is a crucial battleground state,” she said. “It’s your future, your choice.”
While Rice spoke about Obama’s plans to end the war in Iraq and increase national security, there was one lingering question: With his campaign visiting Michigan on a weekly basis, why hasn’t Obama spoken in Ann Arbor?
LSA junior Nathaniel Eli Coats Styer, chair of the College Democrats, said he has no doubts that Obama will visit Ann Arbor at some point. He said he thinks the Illinois senator could fill Michigan Stadium’s 100,000-plus seats.
Styer said he thought it was important for the Obama campaign to discuss foreign policy at the University. Most of Obama’s speeches in Michigan have catered toward working-class voters, outlining the candidate’s economic plans.