During a January 30 Republican primary debate, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) pilloried former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for having once used the word “timetable” while talking about Iraq. “Timetables was the buzzword for those that wanted to get out,” scoffed McCain.
But on the heels of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s embrace of a 16-month timetable for withdrawal, McCain has been forced to change his tune. “I think it’s a pretty good timetable,” McCain told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Friday.
Now, however, McCain is denying his own words. “I didn’t use the word timetable,” he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in an interview airing today:
STEPHANOPOULOS: You shouldn’t have used the word timetable.
MCCAIN: I didn’t use the word timetable. That I did — if I did…
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, it’s a pretty good timetable.
MCCAIN: Oh, well, look. Anything is a good timetable that is dictated by conditions on the ground. Anything is good.
Later in the interview, McCain claimed he was right in his pre-war prediction that America would be “greeted as liberators.” “We were greeted as liberators,” McCain insisted. Watch it:
Thrown off by the converging political consensus around a timetable for withdrawal, McCain can’t seem to figure out what his position on Iraq is. First, he denied that the Iraqis wanted the U.S. to leave on a timetable, then he said that Maliki had floated “a pretty good timetable.” Defending his shifts today, he claimed, “Anything sounds good to me.”