Lieberman: McCain Supports Palin’s Call For ‘Exit Plan’ From Iraq

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"Lieberman: McCain Supports Palin’s Call For ‘Exit Plan’ From Iraq"

In March 2007, Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin, seemingly distanced herself from the Bush administration and McCain, stating that she wanted to see an “exit plan” from Iraq:

I haven’t really focused much on the war in Iraq. I heard on the news about the new deployments, and while I support our president, Condoleezza Rice and the administration, I want to know that we have an exit plan in place.

Yesterday at a Republican National Convention event, ThinkProgress asked Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) how Palin’s desire for an “exit plan” is consistent with McCain’s refusal to call for a withdrawal timetable from Iraq. Lieberman said McCain does indeed support an “exit plan”:

Yes, [he supports] an exit plan from Iraq. But the question is what is it. In other words, a lot of my Democratic colleagues in the Senate including Senator Obama kind of gave up on Iraq when things were going tough in 2005 and 2006. … The goal has always been to leave, but not to leave on a politically mandated timetable from Washington.

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But it’s hard to believe that McCain supports a clearly defined “exit plan” from Iraq. He has for years been opposed to all withdrawal plans from Iraq, claiming the U.S. will withdraw only when there is “victory.” “If you pass a resolution…that dictates withdrawal and a time for withdrawal, all you’re doing is telling the enemy, ‘hang on, we’re leaving,” he said in March 2007.

Lieberman today also suggested that McCain supports the new withdrawal timetable reached between the U.S. and Iraq, which would call for the removal of combat troops from Iraq by 2011:

The sooner we’re out the better. It looks like the Iraqis and our government have agreed that 2011 is a reasonable goal, not a forced timetable, to be out of there with all of our combat troops

But Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki did indeed ask for a “forced timetable.” “There is an agreement actually reached, reached between the two parties on a fixed date which is the end of 2011 to end any foreign presence on Iraqi soil,” Maliki said last month.

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