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Gilmore Talks About Iraq, Abortion and Warner

Tim Craig

GOP Senate nominee James S. Gilmore III said today he expects that U.S. troops will be in Iraq for years to come because they are central to the efforts to combat terrorism around the world.

"The Iraq war is part of a much larger problem and process that is underway," Gilmore said while being interviewed on The Politics Program on WTOP radio. "We have to define what American policy is going to be. I don't think there is any specific time that we are going to be there militarily, but I do know this, we are not going to do a precipitous withdrawal."

Gilmore then accused his Democratic opponent, former governor Mark R. Warner, and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, of wanting to hastily withdrawal troops from Iraq.

When host Mark Plotkin asked Gilmore if he envisioned there would still be 140,000 troops in Iraq six years from now, Gilmore said, "I hope things get better and I hope we get stability to create some consensus in Iraq." But, he added, "the United States can't withdrawal in an isolationist way. We are in a major international conflict and we have to be prepared to address that so we can protect the national security interests of the United States and the people of the United States."

Warner has called for an end to the war in Iraq, but he has been vague about a timetable. Kevin Hall, Warner's spokesman, said, "we need to begin a process (for withdrawl) in consultation with military commanders on the ground but you can't set timelines or dealines." Hall estimates the U.S. will be able to remove a brigade a month.

Gilmore, former chairman of the National Commission on Homeland Security, said national security issues and energy policy will be major themes of his campaign. Gilmore accused Warner of lacking foreign or military policy experience. Hall noted that Warner, as governor, served as the commander of the Virginia National Guard.

During the interview, Gilmore also defended his support for abortion rights until the 8th week of pregnancy, a stance that nearly cost him the GOP nomination at the state party convention last weekend.

"It is the same position I have always held," Gilmore said. "Really it just goes to the question of when I am comfortable with the idea there can be a law that begins to radically change these things, and I simply have never taken a position that from the very moment of conception there ought to be that kind of prohibition."

But Gilmore added he's uncomfortable with the 1973 Roe V. Wade Supreme Court decision, calling it "a wrongly decided case." Gilmore said he will support the appointment of "strict constitutionalist" judges to the federal bench.

Despite that promise, it remains be seen whether Gilmore will able to get anti-abortion activists energized behind his candidacy. One hurdle may be Gilmore's position on the board of Barr Laboratories Inc. The company, which has a plant in southern Virginia, manufactures the morning after pill.

Anti-abortion groups contend the pill is another form of abortion. Gilmore, backed by the Food and Drug Administration and numerous scientists, disputes that assertion.

"Let's be clear what it is," Gilmore said. "It is not an abortion pill, it's an oral contraceptive."

By Tim Craig  |  June 6, 2008; 12:10 PM ET
Categories:  Election 2008/U.S. Senate , James Gilmore III , Mark Warner , Tim Craig  
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Next: John Warner Donates $2,000 to Gilmore

Comments

Is there pending legislation to ban the abortion pill that would be upheld by the current supreme court?

Posted by: get real | June 6, 2008 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Didn't think so.

Posted by: get real | June 9, 2008 10:40 PM | Report abuse

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