By The Way, Candidates, There's A War On

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Weekly commentary by CBS Evening News chief Washington correspondent and Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer.

We interrupt American politics to ask this question: Does anyone remember the war in Iraq?

We ask because there hasn't been much to jog your memory on the campaign trail.

The threat of recession has blown Iraq off television and the front pages. In South Carolina, a poll of Democrats showed the economy overwhelmingly outweighed the war as the most important issue.

That's given the candidates a virtual pass on Iraq.

Until John McCain accused Mitt Romney yesterday of favoring a timetable for withdrawing American forces there, a charge Romney vehemently denies, Republicans hardly mentioned the war.

That would force them to mention George Bush and frankly, they'd rather talk about Ronald Reagan.

Nor do Democrats bring it up. The surge of troops the President sent there last year reduced the violence and that raises questions about the Democrats' previous demands for an immediate American drawdown.

Yet, the war goes on. Last week, 38 Iraqis died and hundreds were injured as a massive bomb went off in the town of Mosul. The Iraqi president promised to "do something," neglecting to mention he had been urged to "do something" in Mosul for months BEFORE the bomb went off.

For the record: While the Iraqis have been trying to get their act together, the war has claimed 4,094 American military and civilian lives and left more than 29,000 wounded.

Iraq may be off the front pages, but it is not over. The candidates and the rest of us would do well to remember that.


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By Bob Schieffer
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    Bob Schieffer is CBS News' chief Washington correspondent and anchor of Face the Nation.

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