Campaign Buzz December 15, 2011: Fox News GOP Iowa Debate — Republican Presidential Candidates Debate in Sioux City Iowa — Last Debate of 2011 & Before Iowa Caucus — Candidates Attack Gingrich

CAMPAIGN 2012

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger to be published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Eric Thayer for The New York Times

The seven Republican presidential candidates made their case to prospective voters in Sioux City, Iowa, on Thursday night in the last debate of the year. More Photos »

IN FOCUS: FOX NEWS GOP REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES DEBATE IN SIOUX CITY, IOWA — LAST DEBATE OF 2011

Live Blogging the Fox News Debate in Iowa: Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich were a focus of attention.
Seven candidates take the stage tonight in Sioux City, Iowa, for the final debate before the Jan. 3 caucuses…. – NYT, 12-15-11

Iowa Debate Fact Check: New York Times reporters examined candidates’ statements on Iran, immigration, the national debt and more, during the Republican presidential debate in Sioux City, Iowa…. – NYT, 12-15-11

Liveblogging the last Republican presidential debate of 2011Yahoo News, 12-15-11

“I’m ready for the next level. Let me tell you, I hope I am the Tim Tebow of the Iowa caucus.” — Texas Gov. Rick Perry

“I think it’s good conservative principle to find ways to help families that are right at the margins to learn how to budget, learn how to take care of a house, learn how to buy a house. I did no lobbying of any kind for any organization.” — Newt Gingrich

“If you have judges that are so radically anti-American that they thought ‘One Nation Under God’ was wrong, then they shouldn’t be on the court.” — Newt Gingrich

“I don’t want to run the world. I don’t want to police individual activities or people’s lifestyle, and I don’t want to run the economy.” — Texas Rep. Ron Paul,

“We have a president who, again, doesn’t understand how the economy works. Not every business succeeds. … In the real world, some things don’t make it.” — Mitt Romney

“We have been kicked around as a people. We’re getting screwed as Americans.” — Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman

“It’s outrageous to say over and over again during the debates to say that I don’t have my facts right. I’m a serious candidate for president of the United States, and my facts are accurate.” — Rep. Michele Bachmann

“You don’t need to be within the technical definition of being a lobbyist to still be influence-peddling.” — Rep. Michele Bachmann

“Where it needs to end is under the Constitution of the United States. If we give to the courts the right to make law, then the people will have lost their representation. They need hold to their representation, That’s why I commend Iowans, because they chose not to retain three judges.” — Rep. Michele Bachmann

  • Iowa Republican debate: The live blog!: If it’s a weekday, it’s time for another Republican presidential debate! Tonight’s debate, which will be in Sioux City, Iowa, will feature seven of the leading contenders for the GOP presidential nod gather on stage with just 19 days remaining before … – WaPo, 12-15-11
  • Washington Wire Live Blog of GOP Debate in Iowa: Tonight’s Republican presidential debate marks the last time the candidates will go after each other on stage before the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3, so the stakes are high to make a good impression — or bloody an opponent. … – WSJ, 12-15-11
  • Live: Gingrich tries to hold lead in last GOP debate: By Catalina Camia, USA TODAY Seven GOP presidential candidates are squaring off in a final, pivotal debate tonight before the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3…. – USA Today, 12-15-11
  • Iowa Debate: Republican Winners and Losers: Fox News and the Iowa Republican party sponsored the final debate Thursday night before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses. Here’s our take on the winners and losers from Sioux City, Iowa.
    WINNERS

    Newt Gingrich
    Mitt Romney
    Michele Bachmann
    Rick Perry
    Ron Paul

    LOSERS

    Rick Santorum
    Jon Huntsman

    CBS News, 12-16-11

  • Candidates Stake Iowa Debate on Electability, Leadership: As the candidates make their final pitch in a group forum before the first voters go to the polls in Iowa in less than three weeks, the GOP candidates have made their policy cases…. – Fox News, 12-15-11
  • FACT CHECK: Gingrich Off on His Budget History: Newt Gingrich overlooked a couple of years of red ink when he boldly claimed Thursday night that he balanced the budget for four years as House speaker. He also glossed over the fact he was not the only leader in town back in … – AP, Fox News, 12-15-11
  • Gingrich under attack at Iowa presidential debateReuters, 12-16-11
  • Gingrich Parries With Challengers in Final Debate Before Iowa Caucuses: The Republican presidential candidates began delivering their closing arguments at the final debate of the year here on Thursday night, with the rivals trying to whittle away at the credibility of … – NYT, 12-15-11
  • Iowa Republican debate: For the final time before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, the seven men and women running for the Republican presidential nomination faced off on a debate stage…. – WaPo, 12-15-11
  • Some key moments in Thursday’s GOP debate, from Tebow to ‘Pretty-Please’: PERRY TURNS TO TEBOW The gaffe-prone Rick Perry sought strength from an unlikely source Thursday night: Tim Tebow. The young Denver Broncos quarterback has captured the admiration of football fans across the country after a string of … – WaPo, 12-15-11
  • FACT CHECK: Some golden oldie missteps by Gingrich, Romney and more in last: Newt Gingrich overlooked a couple of years of red ink when he asserted Thursday night that he balanced the budget for four years as House speaker. And in claiming sole credit for the achievement, he glossed over the fact that budgets are … – WaPo, 12-15-11
  • Newt Gingrich under fire in final GOP debate before Iowa vote: In the final debate before voting starts in the 2012 presidential contest, front-running Newt Gingrich battled renewed criticism Thursday night from rivals over his activities outside of government. … – LAT, 12-15-11
  • Gingrich under fire as GOP rivals try to stall his momentum: Former House speaker Newt Gingrich, the latest front-runner in a roller-coaster Republican presidential race, was hammered Thursday in the final debate before the Iowa caucuses as rivals …… – USA Today, 12-15-11
  • Republicans Spar Over Their Credentials to Challenge Obama in Final DebateBloomberg, 12-15-11
  • Candidates Stake Iowa Debate on Electability, Leadership: It isn’t quite fourth and one with seconds on the clock, but for political conservatives, Thursday night’s final Republican presidential primary debate had all the markings of a close competition in a tight second half.
    With less than three weeks to go before Iowa Republicans caucus to pick their nominee in the 2012 presidential election season, the GOP hopefuls presented their late-game playbook at Fox News’ debate in Sioux City, Iowa.
    Having largely mapped out their policies and philosophies in more than a dozen pre-season debates, the candidates on Thursday night set out to prove that not only are they the best pick for primary-goers, but they are ready to be recruited for the first-string — a general election contest to defeat the current occupant of the White House. … – Fox News, 12-15-11
  • Takes from the Sioux City Squawker: AP: “Republican presidential front-runner Newt Gingrich clashed sharply with one rival, took pains to compliment another and said it was laughable for any of them to challenge his conservative credentials Thursday night in the last campaign debate … – Time, 12-15-11
  • At Iowa debate, Mitt Romney avoids tangling with Newt Gingrich: To the surprise of many, Mitt Romney, deep into the Fox News debate in Sioux City, Iowa, on Thursday had refrained from attacking front-runner Newt Gingrich a single time. But it’s clear that Romney’s attacks earlier this week had … – LAT, 12-15-11
  • Gingrich, Romney, Paul run thorugh debate gauntlet in Iowa: National Affairs Writer As seven Republican presidential contenders began their sprint toward the first- in-the-nation Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3, each of the top candidates ran through a gauntlet of challenges in their Thursday … – MSNBC, 12-15-11
  • Gingrich and Bachmann duke it out early in Republican debate: Michele Bachmann came out swinging at Newt Gingrich and his $1.6 million in earnings from Freddie Mac…. – CS Monitor, 12-15-11
  • Newt Gingrich invokes Reagan and Clinton at Iowa Republican debate: By Nia-Malika Henderson Newt Gingrich, ahead in the polls and facing withering criticism from his own party, compared himself to Ronald Reagan in the last debate among the GOP presidential contenders before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses…. – WaPo, 12-15-11
  • Newt Gingrich insists he did ‘no lobbying of any kind’ while working for Freddie Mac: At the last Republican debate before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, Gingrich defended his work for mortgage lender Freddie Mac, saying he was “a private citizen engaged in a business like any other business” when he earned $1.6 million for providing the … – WaPo, 12-15-11
  • Rick Perry compares himself to Tim Tebow at Iowa debate: Rick Perry needs a fourth-quarter comeback to win in Iowa. So at the GOP debate in Sioux City on Thursday night, he compared himself to Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, who has captured the attention of NFL fans by leading his … LAT, 12-15-11
  • Newt Gingrich, Under Fire, Plays Clumsy Defense in Fox News Iowa Debate: The Sioux City faceoff made clear that Gingrich is the man to beat in Iowa. But after a string of sure-footed performances, he didn’t help himself on Thursday night…. – Daily Beast, 12-15-11
  • Iowa Debate: Romney, Gingrich In Harmony on Medicare Proposal: Both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich gave high marks to the bipartisan proposal on to revamp Medicare released this week by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis…. – National Journal, 12-15-11
  • Iowa Debate: Candidates All Hawkish, Except for Paul: Thursday night’s debate reinforced the view that the Republican presidential field, split over foreign policy earlier in the campaign, has shifted decisively toward a hawkish consensus –- with the notable exception of Rep. Ron Paul…. – National Journal, 12-15-11
  • Candidates Engage Ahead of Debate: The lights won’t go on at tonight’s Fox News debate until 9 p.m. Eastern, but the Republican candidates have already spent the day in a rhetorical sparring match…. – NYT, 12-15-11
  • With Gingrich under pressure, contenders poised for Iowa debate: The seven Republican presidential contenders prepared for a final debate Thursday before the first-in-the- nation Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3. The event will be the 13 th time that the Republican contenders have … – MSNBC, 12-15-11
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Political Headlines December 15, 2011: Congress Reaches Spending Deal, Averts Government Shutdown — Negotiating Two Month Payroll Tax Extension

POLITICAL HEADLINES

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

IN FOCUS: CONGRESS REACHES SPENDING DEAL, AVERTS GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN — NEGOTIATING TWO MONTH PAYROLL TAX EXTENSION

Congress reaches spending deal: Congressional negotiators signed off Thursday evening on a sweeping $1 trillion spending agreement for federal agencies, just 28 hours before a deadline that would have led to a government shutdown.
Members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees gave final approval to a plan after a four-day standoff that became entangled in a separate issue related to the payroll tax holiday. That negotiation, according to lawmakers and aides, also could be headed toward an agreement…. – WaPo, 12-15-11

  • Lawmakers Agree on Spending Bill, Avoiding Shutdown: Congressional leaders said they had agreed on a spending measure to keep the government running for nine months, but agreement on the payroll tax cut was still elusive…. – NYT, 12-15-11
  • Congressional leaders reach spending deal to avoid government shutdown: Congressional negotiators signed off Thursday evening on a $1 trillion spending agreement for 2012 for federal agencies, barely 27 hours before a deadline that could have led to a government shutdown. After dropping minor policy prescriptions that … – WaPo, 12-15-11
  • Congressional negotiators preparing 2-month payroll tax cut, jobless benefits: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says congressional bargainers are preparing a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut and expiring jobless benefits as a fallback plan in case negotiations on a yearlong package don’t succeed. … – WaPo, 12-15-11
  • Lawmakers Agree on Budget, Consider Two-Month Tax Cut Extension: The US Senate’s top Democrat said his colleagues are considering a two-month extension of an expiring payroll tax cut and extended unemployment benefits if they are unable to strike a deal on a longer-term plan … – BusinessWeek, 12-16-11
  • Congressional negotiators agree on $1T spending measure to avert government shutdown: Republicans yielded on policy affecting communist Cuba and Democrats gave way on new energy standards for light bulbs to seal an agreement Thursday evening on a massive $1 trillion-plus year-end spending package in time avert a possible … – WaPo, 12-15-11
  • Congress reaches tentative deal to avoid government shutdown: The $1-trillion plan would last through September 2012. Republicans and Democrats are still struggling with how to extend a payroll tax break. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (R-Nev.) says that with a tentative deal on a government funding bill…. – LAT, 12-15-11
  • Congress Agrees on Spending Deal Likely to Avert Government Shutdown: Republicans and Democrats in Congress found a compromise way Thursday night out of a deeply partisan standoff that threatened millions of Americans with a big New Year’s tax increase, the unemployed with loss of government benefits and the whole federal government with a shutdown…. – Fox News, 12-15-11
  • Government shutdown? Congress suddenly uniting to avert it: Government shutdown looms because of the absence of spending legislation. But GOP, Democratic leaders are sounding bipartisan notes to resolve conflict over payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits and avert a government shutdown. … – CS Monitor, 12-15-11

Full Text December 15, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Speech on Minimum Wage and Overtime Protections for In-Home Care Workers

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

Ensuring Fair Pay for Homecare Workers

Source: WH, 12-15-11

20111215 President Obama with Pauline BeckPresident Barack Obama delivers remarks on new minimum wage/overtime protections for in-home care workers at a “We Can’t Wait” event in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House, Dec. 15, 2011. Among the workers joining the President was Pauline Beck, right, a home care worker from California who, in 2007, was shadowed by then Senator Obama as part of an event called “Walk a Day in My Shoes.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Four years ago, President Obama spent the day with Pauline Beck, a home health care worker. He followed her throughout her day — as she got up at 5:00 in the morning to care for an 86-year-old amputee. He saw first-hand the demands of her work.

Their business is a growing industry — one of the fastest in America. As the population of this country gets older, more Americans are turning to people like Pauline Beck to help make sure they have the care they need. And as the President said this morning, “As the homecare business has changed over the years, the law hasn’t changed to keep up.” In the eyes of the law, homecare workers fall into the same category as a teenaged babysitter.

20111215 President Obama on Home Care Workers President Barack Obama delivers remarks on new minimum wage/overtime protections for in-home care workers at a “We Can’t Wait” event in Room 430 of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House, Dec. 15, 2011. Attendees include: Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Karen Kulp, President & CEO Home Care Associates; and home care workers: Pauline Beck, Thelma Reta, Iterra Blackshear, Tracy Dudzinski, Manuela Butler, Elma Wauneetta Phillips, Bertie Caraway, Margaret Glover, Elva Munoz, Michelle Wise, Olive Nanette Lyons, April Jones-Britt, Martha Cobos, and Gilda Brown; and home care employers: Sascha M. Bittner and Robin L. Shaffert. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

So today, the President did something to help homecare workers like Pauline Beck. He announced his support of a law to extend overtime pay protections and a guaranteed minimum wage to those who do this work:

We are going to make sure that over a million men and women in one of the fastest-growing professions in the country don’t slip through the cracks. We’re going to make sure that companies who do right by their workers aren’t undercut by companies who don’t. We’re going to do what’s fair, and we’re going to do what’s right.

Read the Transcript  |  Download Video: mp4 (73MB) | mp3 (7MB)

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President on Minimum Wage and Overtime Protections for In-Home Care Workers

Eisenhower Executive Office Building

12:13 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody.  As I said in Kansas last week, the defining issue of our time is whether we can build an economy where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded.  It’s whether this is going to be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family and build a modest savings and own a home, secure their own retirement, look after their kids.  That’s the test of our time.

In some cases, building this kind of economy is going to require some action from Congress.  And right now, Congress needs to make sure that 160 million working Americans don’t see their taxes go up on January 1st.  None of the workers who’ve joined us here today can afford a $1,000 tax increase next year.  And it wouldn’t be good for the economy.  Every economist indicates that it’s important for us to extend the payroll tax cut and make sure that unemployment insurance is extended.  So this Congress cannot and should not leave for vacation until that — until they have made sure that that tax increase doesn’t happen.  Let me repeat that:  Congress should not and cannot go on vacation before they have made sure that working families aren’t seeing their taxes go up by $1,000 and those who are out there looking for work don’t see their unemployment insurance expire.

There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to extend these items — the payroll tax cut, UI — before the holidays.  There’s no reason the government should shut down over this.  And I expect all of us to do what’s necessary in order to do the people’s business and make sure that it’s done before the end of the year.

Now, only Congress can prevent the payroll tax from going up next year.  But there are also some things that we can do without Congress to help make sure that hard work pays off.  And that’s why we’re here today.

Right behind me here is my friend Pauline Beck.  One day, back in 2007, Pauline was my boss.  I was in California to take part in an event called “Walk a Day in My Shoes,” where you’d spend the day working the job of someone who was in the service industry.  And I was lucky enough to be paired up with Pauline, and I have tell you, it ended up being one of my favorite days of the entire campaign.

Pauline is a home health care worker.  When we met, she was getting up every day at 5:00 a.m. to go to work taking care of an 86-year-old amputee named “Mr. John.”  And each day, she’d dress Mr. John and help him into his wheelchair.  She’d make him breakfast.  She’d scrub his floors.  She’d clean his bathroom.  She was his connection to the outside world.  And when the workday was done, she would go home to take care of a grandnephew and two foster children who didn’t have families of their own.  Heroic work, and hard work.  That’s what Pauline was all about.

And one of the things I remember about Pauline was her patience.  She was patient with me even when I didn’t wring out the mop properly or didn’t shake out the sheets before putting them in the laundry bin.  But I also remember listening to her talk about the hardships in her life, and she did so without any self-pity.  She was glad to be working hard and she was glad to be helping someone.  All she wanted in return for a hard day’s work was enough to take care of those kids she was going home to, enough to save a little bit for retirement, maybe take a day off once in a while to rest her aching back.

Each of the folks who are here today has a story like Pauline’s.  They represent nearly 1.8 million homecare workers across the country — hardworking professionals, mostly women, who work around the clock so that folks who need help, including many of our family members, can live independently in their own home.  Right now, homecare is one of the fastest-growing industries in America, partly because we’re getting older as a society.  And as the baby boom generation heads into retirement, more and more Americans are going to need the services of these outstanding workers.

But here’s the thing:  As the homecare business has changed over the years, the law hasn’t changed to keep up.  So even though workers like Pauline do everything from bathing to cooking, they’re still lumped in the same category as teenage babysitters when it comes to how much they make.  That means employers are allowed to pay these workers less than minimum wage with no overtime.  That’s right — you can wake up at 5:00 in the morning, care for somebody every minute of the day, take the late bus home at night, and still make less than the minimum wage.  And this means that many homecare workers are forced to rely on things like food stamps just to make ends meet.

That’s just wrong.  In this country, it’s unexcusable.  I can tell you firsthand that these men and women, they work their tails off, and they don’t complain.  They deserve to be treated fairly.  They deserve to be paid fairly for a service that many older Americans couldn’t live without.  And companies who do pay fair wages to these women shouldn’t be put at a disadvantage.

Four years ago, a homecare worker named Evelyn Coke took her case all the way up to the Supreme Court.  And Evelyn was working up to 70 hours a week with no overtime pay.  But the Court ruled against her, saying that to change the law would require action from Congress or the Department of Labor.  I’m sure many of you won’t be surprised to know that Congress hasn’t acted on this issue so far.

Today, I will.  Today, we’re guaranteeing homecare workers minimum wage and overtime pay protection.  And that’s thanks to the hard work of my Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis.  We are going to make sure that over a million men and women in one of the fastest-growing professions in the country don’t slip through the cracks.  We’re going to make sure that companies who do right by their workers aren’t undercut by companies who don’t.  We’re going to do what’s fair, and we’re going to do what’s right.

Evelyn Coke didn’t live to see this day.  But the truth is, Americans like Evelyn and Pauline and the rest of the workers who are here today, they’re one of the reasons that I ran for President.  They work hard.  They play by the rules.  In exchange, they just want to see that their hard work and their responsibility is rewarded.  It’s that simple.  Americans all deserve a fair shake and a fair shot.  And as long as I have the honor of serving as President, I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure that those very modest expectations are fulfilled.  I’m going to make sure that they are treated right.  I’m going to make sure that every American is treated fairly.

Thanks very much, everybody.  Thank you.

END
12:20 P.M. EST

Political Buzz December 15, 2011: First Look: New Obama Family Portrait

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

First Look: New Obama Family Portrait

Source: WH, 12-15-11

President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and their daughters, Malia, left, and Sasha, right, sit for a family portrait in the Oval Office, Dec. 11, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The White House photo office today released a new official portrait of the First Family, which was taken by Pete Souza in the Oval Office on Sunday December 11, 2011 after the family returned to the White House after church services. The previous official portrait, below, was taken in the Green Room in 2009 by Annie Leibovitz.

First Family Official PortraitThe Official Portrait of the First Family. October 23, 2009. (by Annie Leibovitz)

Political Buzz December 15, 2011: US Fornally Ends Iraq War with Ceremony in Baghdad Lead by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta

POLITICAL BUZZ

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger to be published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

Casing the Colors in Iraq

Source: WH, 12-15-11
20111215 Casing the Colors

Lloyd James Austin III, commander, United States Forces-Iraq, and Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph R. Allen, case the USF-I Colors during a flag casing ceremony that marked the end of Operation New Dawn, at the former Sather Air Base, in Baghdad, Iraq, Dec. 15, 2011. Since 2003, more than 1 million Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines have served in Iraq. Photo Credit: Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricard, U.S. Air Forces Central, Baghdad Media Outreach TeamGen.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey — chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — were in Baghdad today to bring the mission in Iraq to its official end.

At Baghdad Airport, in a ceremony steeped in tradition and history, soldiers lowered and cased the U.S. flag in preparating for its return to the United States.

“This will be an historic moment where we basically enter a new chapter in Iraq in which we deal with them in a way that represents the kind of normal relationship we have with other countries,” Secretary Panetta said.

The drawdown will continue through December 31.

IN FOCUS: US FORMALLY ENDS IRAQ WAR WITH CEREMONY IN BAGHDAD LEAD BY DEFENSE SECRETARY LEON PANETTA

U.S. formally ends war in Iraq: Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta paid solemn tribute on Thursday to an “independent, free and sovereign Iraq” and declared the official end to the Iraq war, formally wrapping up the U.S. military’s 81 / 2-year mission in the country. “After a lot of blood spilled by Iraqis and Americans, the mission of an Iraq that could govern and secure itself has become real,” Panetta said at a ceremony at Baghdad ‘s international airport. “To be sure, the cost was high – in blood and treasure for the United States, and for the Iraqi people. Those lives were not lost in vain. ” The 1:15 p.m. ceremony (5:15 a.m. in Washington) effectively ended the war two weeks earlier than was necessary under the terms of the security agreement signed by the U.S. and Iraqi governments in 2008, which stipulated that the troops must be gone by Dec. 31. But commanders decided there was no need to keep troops in Iraq through the Christmas holidays given that talks on maintaining a U.S. presence beyond the deadline had failed. The date of the final ceremony had been kept secret for weeks, so as not to give insurgents or militias an opportunity to stage attacks…. – WaPo, 12-15-11

Ceremony today will formally end Iraq war: The Iraq war is set to officially end Thursday, with Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta flying into Baghdad to attend a ceremony formally wrapping up the U.S. military’s 81 / 2-year mission in Iraq.
The ceremony effectively ends the war two weeks earlier than was necessary under the terms of the security agreement signed by the U.S. and Iraqi governments in 2008, which stipulated that the troops must be gone by Dec. 31. But commanders decided there was no need to keep troops in Iraq through the Christmas holidays given that talks on maintaining a U.S. presence beyond the deadline had failed. The date of the final ceremony had been kept secret for weeks, so as not to give insurgents or militias an opportunity to stage attacks…. – WaPo, 12-15-11

  • US War in Iraq Declared Officially Over: Almost nine years after the first American tanks began massing on the Iraq border, the Pentagon declared an official end to its mission here, closing a troubled conflict that helped … – NYT, 12-15-11
  • Iraq war draws to a quiet close: The American war in Iraq came to an unspectacular end Thursday at a simple ceremony held on the edge of Baghdad’s international airport, not far from the highway along which US troops first fought their way into the capital more than eight … – WaPo, 12-15-11
  • Iraq war draws to a close: US Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta declared the official end to the Iraq war, formally wrapping up the US military’s mission in the country after almost nine years. US military personnel holding the US flag, Iraq flag, and the US Forces Iraq colors … – WaPo, 12-15-11
  • Mission accomplished, really: US war in Iraq officially ends: Some 4000 US forces will be exiting Iraq in the coming days. ‘Iraq will be tested in days ahead,’ warned Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, at an end-of-mission ceremony Thursday…. – CS Monitor, 12-15-11
  • US formally draws curtain on the unpopular war in Iraq (video): At the official flag-furling ceremony in Baghdad to end the war in Iraq, Secretary Panetta spoke highly of US soldiers’ sacrifice. But both Iraqis and Americans appear happy for it to be over…. – CS Monitor, 12-15-11
  • US military formally ends mission in Iraq: The US military mission in Iraq formally ended Thursday in a small ceremony at Baghdad airport as the last US troops prepared to leave the country after nearly nine years of war, billions of dollars spent and nearly 4500 … – LAT, 12-15-11
  • Panetta to formally shut down US war in Iraq: After nearly nine years, 4500 American dead, 32000 wounded and more than $800 billion, US officials prepared Thursday to formally shut down the war in Iraq — a conflict that US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said was worth the price in … – AP, 12-15-11
  • Panetta Arrives in Baghdad for Military Handover Ceremony: Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta landed in the Iraqi capital on Thursday for the ceremony officially ending the military mission here and closing out a bloody and controversial chapter of American … NYT, 12-15-11
  • Iraq war draws to a quiet close: The Iraq war is set to officially end Thursday, with Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta flying into Baghdad to attend a ceremony formally wrapping up the US military’s 8 1 / 2 -year mission in Iraq. The ceremony effectively ends the war two … WaPo, 12-15-11
  • Obama Praises Troops as He Ends the War He Opposed: President Obama observed the end of the war in Iraq on Wednesday before an audience of those who fought in it, telling a crowd of returning war veterans that the nearly nine years of conflict in Iraq…. – NYT, 12-14-11
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