U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-Long Branch) and 4th District Congressional District candidate Josh Zeitz want America to pull the plug on the war in Iraq.
Speaking on a conference call this afternoon, they tallied the $4.5 billion total cost of the six-year old war to the 4th and 6th districts, according to Obama presidential campaign spokesman Andrew Poag, and tied those numbers to the record and campaign rhetoric of GOP presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
"We can’t afford another president who will continue George W. Bush’s failed foreign policies," said Pallone, one of four New Jersey congressmen who voted against the initial resolution authorizing Bush to go into Iraq.
"Senator Barack Obama (who at the outset opposed the war in a speech he gave in 2002) has proposed a safe and responsible plan to bring our troops home, but John McCain has no plan to end the war," Pallone added.
Firing back, the McCain campaign said the Republican presidential candidate, who voted for the 2002 war resolution authorizing Bush to commit troops to Iraq, strongly disagrees with those who advocate withdrawing American troops at present.
"Barack Obama says he wants peace, but even today he opposes the surge strategy that succeeded in Iraq and will succeed in Afghanistan," said NJ for McCain campaign spokesman Peter Feldman."Barack Obama's policy of unconditional withdrawal could result in renewed violence and a third Iraq war. John McCain had the foresight to call for more troops in Iraq years before it happened. He strongly supports General Petraeus and the surge and counterinsurgency strategy that is showing success on the ground. While the Democrats were calling for retreat and declaring the war 'lost,' John McCain vigorously supported the troop surge and Gen. Petraeus.”
But Pallone and Zeitz say the cost of remaining in Iraq is too great, particularly, they said, since the country has access to $79 billion in oil revenues.
"Residents of the 4th Congressional district are facing an economic crisis and financing an endless war in Iraq," said Zeitz, who this week told PolitickerNJ.com that he opposed the war from the beginning.
"We need to bring our troops home and start reinvesting that money in our communities, to hire teachers, build roads, improve schools and build a renewable energy economy to put people back to work here in America," said the candidate, who’s challenging U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-Hamilton) in a longshot bid.
In his release, Poag cited the National Priorities Project, which calculates that the War in Iraq has cost over $500 billion, with New Jersey’s share coming in at $30 billion.
"Taxpayers in the 6th Congressional District will pay $2.3 billion for total Iraq war spending approved to date and taxpayers in the 4th Congressional District will pay $2.2 billion," Poag said.