Edwards: Congress Should Cut Iraq Funding

John Edwards at Democratic National Committee meeting
Democratic Presidential hopeful, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards gestures during his speech at the Democratic National Committee Winter Meetings in Washington, Friday, Feb. 2, 2007.

North Carolina Democrat John Edwards believes that the war in Iraq will be one of the "dominating issues" in the 2008 race for the White House, and Sunday on Face The Nation, he said Congress should cut funding for the war effort to force a redeployment of American troops.

"I think the Congress should use its authority, its funding authority to bring down the troop level an initial 40- to 50,000 out of Iraq, and continue to use that authority to redeploy troops out of Iraq over the next year or so," Edwards told Bob Schieffer.

As a retired Senator, Edwards does not have a vote on the current Iraq policy. When he was in the Senate, Edwards voted in favor of the 2002 resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq. On Sunday, he said he thought that his vote was wrong.

"I also think it's important for those of us who were responsible for voting on the resolution in 2002 to say whatever the truth is for us about that vote," he said. "For those who voted for it, including me, if we believe we were wrong — and I believe I was — I think it's important to be honest about that and to say it."

One of Edwards' chief Democratic rivals, Sen. Hilary Clinton, D-N.Y., has been criticized for not offering a clear apology for her 2002 vote.

Edwards' said his plan for U.S. troops in Iraq would be to withdraw American forces to Kuwait and Afghanistan, as well as to ships in the Persian Gulf.

"And while I was doing that, I would engage the Iranians and the Syrians directly, both of whom have an interest in a stable Iraq, particularly with America leaving Iraq," Edwards said.

The former Senator also talked about domestic issues. He said he would rollback President Bush's tax cuts for people who make over $200,000 a year to pay for his universal health care plan.

"I do not believe, having spent a lot of time on this, that you can achieve universal health care without finding a revenue source, and that's my revenue source," Edwards said.

The Edwards campaign has tried to label their candidate as "the candidate of fundamental change," but some of his Democratic opponents might say the fundamental changes have been in Edwards and his record.

But the former Senator said any changes were part of his maturation.

"In my case, there was a lot of seasoning that's gone on, both during the last campaign and since that time," he said. "I've done a lot of work overseas, for example, and I've learned. I hope we all continue to learn. And I don't think there's been any change in me as a human being, what my fundamental values are."