From CBS News' Maria Gavrilovic:
LITITZ, PA. -- Barack Obama defended his comments today that John McCain intends to keep U.S. troops in Iraq for another 100 years. When asked if his assertions were "disingenuous" and an exaggeration, Obama said no.
"John McCain has said that we will stay there as long as it takes and if it takes another 100 years he's up for that commitment and that implies that there is some criteria by which we would understand how long it takes. John McCain has not been clear about what exactly would lead him to decide its time to pullout."
He argued that neither President Bush nor McCain have defined what success in Iraq would entail and that, according to Obama, implies that U.S. troops could remain in Iraq indefinitely. Under Obama's Iraq policy, U.S. troops would be stay in the country in order to protect the U.S. Embassy and possibly serve as a protective force in the region.
"We have troops to make sure that our civilian populations are cared for and what I've said is that I would have a strike force in the region perhaps in Iraq, perhaps outside of Iraq, so that we could take advantage of, or we could deal with potential problems that might take place in the region."
In recent days, the McCain campaign has lashed out at Obama for his Iraq comments, describing them as "political tricks and distortions."
"Barack Obama is being dishonest when he claims that John McCain has plans for 100 years of warfare in Iraq, it's not true, and has been repeatedly reported as false," McCain spokesman, Tucker Bounds said. "It's easy to talk about taking on Washington, but when Senator Barack Obama consistently uses Washington's oldest political tricks and distortions, it's smacks of some hypocrisy."
At a town hall meeting in Lancaster earlier in the day, the mother of U.S. soldier stationed in Iraq asked Obama if any good has come of the war. Obama praised the work of the military and said their work is not a waste.
"Getting rid of Saddam Hussein, that was an accomplishment. Trying to reduce and contain the levels of violence there, that's an accomplishment. Trying to build schools and roads and getting the energy sector back intact, those are all important accomplishments."