Vilsack Challenges Democratic Presidential Candidates to Work to End Iraq War Immediately

CARSON CITY, NV -- Today, Democratic candidate for president Tom Vilsack challenged the other Democratic presidential contenders to work for an immediate end to the war in Iraq.

"I want to challenge every single one of you and ask a simple question,"

Vilsack told attendees of the AFSCME presidential forum in Carson City, Nevada. "What have you done today to end this war in Iraq? It needs to be ended now; not six days from now, not six months from now, not six years from now, it needs to be ended now and it's up to you."

Vilsack reiterated his demand that Congress take "the authority they have under the constitution and the moral authority that we expect them to show, and say to the president, 'Mr. President we are no longer going to fund this war.'"

Vilsack said that ending the war in Iraq immediately is an important goal, but that to keep our country out of future oil wars America must develop a long term policy to become energy independent. "Let's make sure that we take the resources that are currently being directed into Iraq and redirect them back into the United States to make sure that we don't have another oil war," Vilsack said. "Let's rebuild America. Let's build an energy secure America. Let's build a petroleum free transportation system in this country."

Vilsack's energy security agenda, which has been called "the most wide-ranging and detailed energy policy of any of almost two dozen 2008 presidential hopefuls," will reduce carbon emissions 75% by 2050 and make America energy independent by increasing the domestic production of renewable fuels.

Vilsack was the first Democratic candidate for president to announce his candidacy, the first to repudiate the Bush-McCain Doctrine of escalation in Iraq, and the first to demand that Congress defund the war in Iraq. Last week, the Iowa Senate heeded Vilsack's call to pass a resolution strongly repudiating the Bush-McCain plan to escalate the war. The resolution was drafted and passed as a direct response to Vilsack's final "Condition of the State" address to the Iowa Legislature in January when he called for the passage of a resolution condemning the escalation of the Iraq war.