Schieffer Slams White House On Iraq: Bush ‘Even More Isolated,’ Coalition ‘Coming Apart’

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"Schieffer Slams White House On Iraq: Bush ‘Even More Isolated,’ Coalition ‘Coming Apart’"

Last night on CBS, chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer was sharply critical of the Bush administration’s attempt to spin Britain’s Iraq drawdown as a sign that conditions are improving.

“If that’s the claim, it’s going to be a very hard sell to a country and a public that has already turned against this war,” Schieffer said. In fact, the UK’s decision to redeploy troops is “going to make the president even more isolated,” he said, adding, “Whether you’re for the war or against the war, Katie, what this underlines tonight is that the coalition that the president put together to fight this war is now coming apart.”

Drawing parallels to the Vietnam era, Schieffer said Tony Blair’s decision reminded him of “when things were going badly, and the crusty old senator from Vermont, George Aiken, said there’s only one way out here, that’s to declare victory and just leave. That’s what we’re seeing.”

Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/02/bobbrit.320.240.flv]

Transcript:

COURIC: Now to Washington and our chief correspondent there, Bob Schieffer.

Bob, the Bush administration is characterizing the British drawdown as a sign of success. Is anyone buying that?

BOB SCHIEFFER, CBS CORRESPONDENT: Well, if that’s the claim, it’s going to be a very hard sell to a country and a public that has already turned against this war, and especially a hard sell with the Congress.

I think what we’re seeing here, Katie, is what happened back during the Vietnam era when things were going badly, and the crusty old senator from Vermont, George Akins, said there’s only one way out here, that’s to declare victory and just leave. That’s what we’re seeing. Tony Blair is telling his people we’ve done our job, now we’re going to start bringing our people home.

COURIC: And, Bob, do you think this will change minds or change even votes on Capitol Hill?

SCHIEFFER: Well, I think it’s going to make the president even more isolated than perhaps he is now. The Democrats have already pounced on this. They say it shows that the president’s idea of putting more troops in is not the solution, and that there is not a military solution; there has to be a diplomatic solution.

Whether you’re for the war or against the war, Katie, what this underlines tonight is that the coalition that the president put together to fight this war is now coming apart.

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