Last night on MSNBC’s Hardball, former Rove deputy Ken Mehlman said that people who want a timeline for Iraq redeployment “are going to give the terrorists a big victory.”
Mehlman was asked if his rhetoric applied to fellow conservative Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT), who recently announced his support for his timeline. Mehlman said he “saw him interviewed on this show, Chris Shays, and he, in fact, said something very different…he did not say there ought to be a military timeline.”
Mehlman is in denial. When Shays was on Hardball on Monday, he clearly called for a “timeline on how long our troops will be there.” Watch both clips back to back:
O’DONNELL: As this new rhetoric has emerged, though, it also comes at a time when there are some moderate Republican candidates who are actually — have similar messages to the Democrats or who are at least pulling away from President Bush.
You have Congressman Chris Shays, the Republican from out of Connecticut — 14th visit to Iraq, just came back. He’s was one of the most stalwart supporters of the president on this war. Came back and said it is now time for a timetable.
MEHLMAN: Well, I saw Chris–I saw him interviewed on this show, Chris Shays, and he, in fact, said something very different than what the Democrats say. What he has said is we need to make sure that there are benchmarks established for the Iraqi people to stand up.
O’DONNELL: He said a timeline.
MEHLMAN: Well, but he did not say there ought to be a military timeline. There is a very big difference.
SHAYS: I’m calling for a timetable on three things. One, that they set provisional elections, that they have reconciliation and a timeline to do it, a timeline for finishing the constitution and give them the timeline on how long our troops will be there, doing the police work that ultimately we want them to do.
SHAYS: I think the way to get the Iraqis to wake up, to do the heavy lifting, is to let them know that we are not there indefinitely, that there’s not an open checkbook, that we’re not going take sustained losses indefinitely.