McCain camp reacts to Maliki’s call for withdrawal: Voters don’t care what Iraqi leaders say.


In response to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s clear statement in support of a 16-month redeployment from Iraq, a senior McCain official tells Marc Ambinder “[V]oters care about [the] military, not about Iraqi leaders.” A “prominent Republican strategist” who occasionally provides advice to the McCain campaign said more candidly, “We’re f*cked.” Recall, this is what McCain said in 2004:

QUESTION: Let me give you a hypothetical, senator. What would or should we do if, in the post-June 30th period, a so-called sovereign Iraqi government asks us to leave, even if we are unhappy about the security situation there? I understand it’s a hypothetical, but it’s at least possible.

McCAIN: Well, if that scenario evolves, then I think it’s obvious that we would have to leave because — if it was an elected government of Iraq — and we’ve been asked to leave other places in the world. If it were an extremist government, then I think we would have other challenges, but I don’t see how we could stay when our whole emphasis and policy has been based on turning the Iraqi government over to the Iraqi people.