In recent weeks, the McCain campaign used its vice presidential pick of Sarah Palin to try to “seize the change mantle.” The Washington Post notes that McCain offers new rhetoric of change “with little explanation of what that change would be or how that change would take effect.”
CNN’s Dana Bash reported last night that for John McCain, “talking about change means not talking about George Bush.” She noted McCain neglected to make any mention yesterday of Bush’s major announcement to withdraw 8,000 troops from Iraq:
The most interesting thing, I think, on the campaign trail with McCain today is what we didn’t hear.
You know what happened at the White House? The president announced 8,000 troops are coming home from Iraq. That is something you’d think John McCain would be trumpeting from the rooftops as evidence that Iraq is actually succeeding, but he didn’t mention it at all.
Why? A McCain adviser I talked to tonight admitted that talking about anything related to Bush especially policy, especially Iraq policy, is basically a political death knell especially for John McCain right now. So he didn’t mention it at all.
Editorializing on Bush’s failure to offer an exit plan from Iraq, the New York Times notes that “Bush and his party’s nominee, John McCain, both want to stay the course until some undefined ‘victory’ is achieved.”
As the American public, the Iraqi public, and Iraqi political leaders have all consolidated behind the need for a fixed timetable for the drawdown of American troops in Iraq, the Bush administration appears to be grudgingly going along. “That leaves Mr. McCain as the stubborn man out,” writes the Times. In July, McCain rejected Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s desire for a timetable, claiming, “I know what they want.”