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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Video: Obama vs. McCain: Troop Withdrawal Debate

The Obama camp and the McCain campaign are going head to head after John McCain said on the Today Show that bringing home the troops from Iraq "wasn't too important."

It's the last question, about 6 minutes in.

Lauer: If it [the surge] is working, do you have a better estimate of when the troops can come home?

McCain: No, but that's not too important. What is important is the casualties in Iraq. Americans are in South Korea, American troops are in Japan, Germany, that's all fine. American casualties and the ability to withdraw. We will be able to withdraw. Gen. Petraeus is going to tell us in July when that can happen but the key to it is we don't want any more Americans in harms way, and that way they will be safe and serve our country and come home with honor and victory which is what Senator Obama's proposal would've done. I'm proud of them, they're doing a great job, and they're succeeding, and it's fascinating that Senator Obama still doesn't realize that.
According to Politico:
Sen. John Kerry said on an Obama conference call that the comment was “unbelievably out of touch with the needs and concerns of most Americans,” saying that to families of troops in harm’s way, “To them, it's the most important thing in the world.”

Kerry claimed “an enormous, fundamental flaw in his candidacy for the presidency, which supposedly has hung on his strength as commander in chief and his understanding of foreign policy.”

I think the context of the quote speaks for itself. McCain obviously believes in what President Bush has always wanted: a base in the middle east like we have in Germany, Japan, etc. Politico has the McCain camp response:
McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said: “The Obama campaign is embarking on a false attack on John McCain to hide their own candidate’s willingness to disregard facts on the ground in pursuit of withdrawal no matter what the costs. John McCain was asked if he had a ‘better estimate’ for a timeline for withdrawal.

“As John McCain has always said, that is not as important as conditions on the ground and the recommendations of commanders in the field. Any reasonable person who reads the full transcript would see this and reject the Obama campaign’s attempt to manipulate, twist and distort the truth.”
I think we expect to hear more of the "You never served in the army and I did." from McCain in the coming hours and days. He doesn't like anyone telling him he doesn't care about the troops.

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