Saturday, January 26, 2008

Who's Right on Pulling out of Iraq? Hillary Clinton, John McCain or Mitt Romney?

Want some help in deciding who you should support for President in 2008? Take this simple, one-question test to help you decide:

Which of the following three positions would YOU support with the war in Iraq?

Position 1: Surrender and set an immediate timetable for withdraw from Iraq and announce the withdrawal timetable publicly?

Position 2: Stay in Iraq indefinitely, even 100 years if that's what it takes. Set no goals or benchmarks, even privately, with the Iraqi government. Win at all costs and give the Iraqi government a blank check and unlimited time to take over from US troops, without timetables, benchmarks or goals.

Position 3: Never surrender, but keep strong pressure on the new Iraqi government so the US troops can gradually withdraw. Have a plan, goals and benchmarks for withdrawal which are discussed in private with the Iraqi government. Withdrawal gradually, not in surrender, but as appropriate with a successful and timely handoff to a new and stable Iraqi government.

OK, have your answer?

If you like Position 1, then you should consider voting for any of the democratic candidates or Ron Paul.

If you like Position 2, you should consider voting for John McCain.

If you like Position 3, you should consider voting for Mitt Romney.

John McCain is feeling desperate and the pressure is getting to him. If you've followed his career, you know what McCain does when things don't go his way. He gets mean, loses his cool and starts distorting the truth.

McCain knows that the American people, particularly those in Florida on Tuesday, are more concerned about the economy than any other issue right now. That's bad news for McCain, who admits he is weak on economic issues. He started by distorting his OWN record in the debate this week in Florida when he plead ignorance when Tim Russert brought up McCain's own statements he made just last month about his lack of knowledge on the economy.

Now, in a desperate effort to bring the discussion away from the economy, John McCain is completely distorting statements Mitt Romney made on Good Morning America back in March. Romney (so much for McCain's "straight talk express"). Romney, who has always supported Position 3 above, is having these statements taken out of context by John McCain to suggest he supports Position 1. Nonsense.

For those of you who don't like reading only the headlines or statements taken out of context, here is the entire exchange on Good Morning America, and you judge for yourself:

Robin Roberts: “Iraq. John McCain is there in Baghdad right now. You have also been very vocal in supporting the President in the troop surge. Yet the American public has lost faith in this war. Do you believe there should be a timetable in withdrawing the troops?”

Mitt Romney: “Well, there's no question but that the President and, and Prime Minister al Maliki have to have a series of timetables and milestones that they speak about. But those shouldn't be for public pronouncement. You don't want the enemy to understand how long they have to wait in the weeds until you're going to be gone. You want to have a series of things you want to see accomplished in terms of the strength of the Iraqi military and the Iraqi police and the leadership of the Iraqi government. ”

Robin Roberts: “So private? You wouldn't do it publicly. Because the President has said, flat out, that he will veto anything the Congress passes about a timetable for troop, troop withdrawals. As President would you do the same?”

Mitt Romney: “Well, of course. Could you imagine the setting where, where during the Second World War we said to the Germans, ‘Gee, if we haven't reached the Rhine by this date, we’ll go home. Or if we haven’t gotten this accomplished, we’ll, we’ll pick up and leave.’ You don’t publish that to your enemy or they simply lie in wait until that time. So, of course you have to work together to create timetables and milestones, but you don't do that with the, with the opposition.”

It's very clear in reading this that Romney takes Position 3. Romney is saying there SHOULD be a plan, discussions, timetables, goals, benchmarks, etc., discussed in private with the Iraqi government, so that we can start to pull our troops out. This is different than John McCain who has said he's prepared to stay in Iraq for 100 years, and blindly let the Iraqi government have a blank check to take their time without any goals (which is what he must believe if he takes issue with Romney's comments on Good Morning America).

Last week, the Clintons knowingly took comments made by Barack Obama about Ronald Reagan out of context. They intentionally twisted around what Obama was saying, even running radio spots taking his comments out of context, only to later pull the advertising when it was obvious what they were doing. John McCain is doing the exact same thing here. He is taking statements by Mitt Romney out of context, knowing full well Mitt Romney has never supported a public withdrawal timetable. Time magazine has said that there is no evidence of what McCain is claiming.

Just like this backfired on the Clintons, making them just look dishonest and deceitful, this will also backfire on McCain, in three ways: 1) It shows that McCain is getting desperate and resorting to slimy, dirty, political tricks, 2) its punctuates the fact that McCain is weak on economics and will avoid that topic at all costs, and 3) highlights his Position 2 on the war, when most Republicans like Position 3.

So, even if John McCain is successful in temporarily pulling people's attention away from the economy, he'll just end up spotlighting his irresponsible, ill-planned, and warmongering stance on the war in Iraq.


PS: John McCain will be on Meet the Press tomorrow. Hopefully Tim Russert won't let McCain get away with how he's trying to distort Romney's record. It's pretty hard to get spin past Russert.

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John McCain's Flip Floppin

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