Three top Republican lawmakers pushed back against President Obama's Iraq war message ahead of Tuesday's scheduled address on the end of combat operations

The Republicans hit President Obama on his opposition to the 2007 troop surge.


Republicans have brushed aside the White House's narrative that the withdrawal of combat troops in Iraq fulfills one of Obama's chief campaign promises, and instead have credited former President George W. Bush.

House GOP leader John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerLobbying world A new kind of hero? Last week's emotional TV may be a sign GOP up in arms over Cheney, Kinzinger MORE (Ohio) is scheduled to speak at the American Legion's national convention Tuesday afternoon, where he will express gratitude to the troops and take a jab at Obama and other Democratic leaders in Congress for expressing skepticism over the 2007 surge.

"When General Petraeus embarked on the surge strategy in January 2007, it was widely viewed as our last chance to save Iraq from spiraling into an irreversible descent toward chaos," BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerLobbying world A new kind of hero? Last week's emotional TV may be a sign GOP up in arms over Cheney, Kinzinger MORE will say, according to excerpts released by his office. "The consequences of failure then, as now, were severe. Some leaders who opposed, criticized, and fought tooth-and-nail to stop the surge strategy now proudly claim credit for the results ... today we mark not the defeat those voices anticipated — but progress."

Republican efforts illustrate the length to which both sides are going to capitalize on the messaging surrounding the end of the conflict, which helped define Bush's presidency and much of the 2008 presidential campaign.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs made the rounds on television and radio news shows Tuesday morning, previewing the president's address and pressuring Republicans to say whether or not they support the withdrawal of 90,000 troops from Iraq this month. 

"I think what the American people would like to know with Congressman Boehner is: Do you support the withdrawing of 90,000 troops that the president is marking today?" Gibbs said Tuesday on ABC's "Good Morning America."

Obama is expected to thank the troops for their service and speak about the Iraq war's place in the broader U.S. national security strategy during his Oval Office prime-time address. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHouse to act on debt ceiling next week White House warns GOP of serious consequences on debt ceiling Lindsey Graham: Police need 'to take a firm line' with Sept. 18 rally attendees MORE (R-Ky.) is also expected to speak in his home state today and will address the war.

“Thankfully we can say today that our troops, the surge, and the Petraeus Plan all succeeded where many in Washington thought they would fail," he will say.

House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (Ind.) also penned an op-ed in The Washington Times, in which he wrote that he is "grateful for the support the Obama administration has shown our troops in Iraq, but its long-standing opposition to our military's successful surge strategy must not be forgotten in the midst of this widening American success."

Gibbs on Tuesday morning acknowledged that the president opposed the surge, and said that it was political progress in Iraq that hastened the United States's ability to withdraw.

"The president did oppose the surge," he said. "But while the surge did provide some increased security in Iraq, what happened was a political transformation a long time after the troops were sent to Iraq."