Iraq Sands Shifting Under McCain Position

Move by Bush, Maliki toward timetable is 'devastating blow'
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2008 1:40 PM CDT
Iraq Sands Shifting Under McCain Position
Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain talks on his cell phone as his campaign plane sits on the tarmac in Romulus, Mich., Friday, July 18, 2008.    (AP Photo)

Republican presidential candidate John McCain is stuck in an awkward position after both President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki moved closer to a withdrawal timetable favored by Barack Obama, Politico notes. McCain has opposed such a measure, but in 2004 asserted that if a sovereign Iraqi government asked US troops to leave, the American government should comply.

“It’s a devastating blow to the McCain campaign — not just that Maliki moved to Obama’s position but that Bush did as well,” a former adviser to Bill Clinton said. McCain officials, meanwhile, jumped to tweak his position. “John McCain supports reducing troop levels based on the conditions on the ground and the security of Iraq and if, and only if, that is consistent with a ‘time horizon’ then of course he would support that policy,” a spokesman said. (More John McCain stories.)

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