WASHINGTON, March 17 (Reuters) - Democratic U.S. presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton put the war in Iraq in the forefront of her campaign on Monday, attacking Democratic rival Barack Obama and Republican John McCain over an issue that has divided the country.
Clinton, a New York senator and former first lady, laid out her policy proposals to deal with the conflict, including ensuring that troops have sufficient rest time between deployments, pressing the United Nations to be more involved, and getting key allies to help stabilize the region.
"Bringing our troops home safely will take a president who is ready to be commander in chief on Day One," she said in a speech.
"Withdrawal is not defeat. Defeat is keeping troops in Iraq for 100 years."
Clinton, who would be the first woman U.S. president, was speaking while McCain visited Iraq as part of a congressional delegation.
She also accused Obama, who would be the first U.S. black president, of not starting to end the war until he began his race for the White House.
"Senator Obama has said often that words matter. I strongly agree. But giving speeches alone won’t end the war and making campaign promises you might not keep certainly won’t end it," Clinton said. (Writing by Jeff Mason; editing by Lori Santos)