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Boehner Hits — Then Praises — Obama Over Iraq Strategy

House Minority Leader John Boehner appeared to be sending mixed messages Monday on whether to support or bash President Barack Obama over his Iraq War strategy.

The Ohio Republican’s office sent out two e-mails Monday that delivered sharply different messages about Obama’s war strategy. The e-mails came on a day when the president gave a speech highlighting progress in bringing the Iraq War to “a responsible end” and reaffirming a campaign pledge to halt all combat operations by the end of August.

The Minority Leader initially sent out a GOP Leader Alert that criticized Obama for touting success in Iraq, despite his past opposition to the troop surge strategy that led to progress in the region.

“While the president may be eager to use this speech to ‘check off another of the major promises he made during the campaign,’ he may be less willing to revisit his own opposition to the surge strategy that … is responsible for the progress that has been achieved to date,” the e-mail said.

Less than an hour later, after Obama had delivered his remarks, Boehner issued a statement praising the president for working with commanders on the ground and Congress to achieve success.

“I commend President Obama for listening to our commanders in the field and working closely with them, the Iraqi people, and the Congress to ensure that we continue to make progress there,” the Ohio Republican said.

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel defended the statements and said Obama’s position and actions before and after becoming president are what are out of sync.

“There’s nothing contradictory about praising the troops and the president for embracing the Petraeus strategy in Iraq, which has led to this milestone, since he was inaugurated, and also while reminding people of his statements and positions as a senator and during the campaign, before he embraced the Petraeus strategy,” Steel said, referring to Army Gen. David Petraeus, who led the surge in Iraq.

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