McCain Responds to Maliki's Timetable for Troop Withdrawal from Iraq

(CBS)

From CBS News' John Bentley:

(PITTSBURGH) – The U.S. will withdraw its troops from Iraq "with honor, not according to a set timetable," John McCain said today, in response to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki issuing a statement that said the two countries should "put a timetable on their withdrawal."

"We will be able to withdraw with honor, and I am sure that it will be dictated by the situation on the ground," McCain said. "I'm confident that is what Prime Minister Maliki is talking about, since he has told me that for the many meetings we have had."

Barack Obama's campaign criticized McCain earlier today for not placing more of the burden for the war in Iraq on the Iraqi government. "It's time for John McCain to explain why he refuses to ask Iraq's leaders to take responsibility for their own future, and why he has completely changed his own stated position that he would leave Iraq when the Iraqis ask us to," said Susan Rice, Obama's senior foreign policy adviser. "The American people need a strategy for succeeding in Iraq, not just a strategy for staying, and John McCain's stubborn refusal to adjust to events on the ground just shows that he has no plan to end this war."

McCain was also asked about a recent report by the Associated Press indicating U.S. exports to Iran have risen tenfold, with the largest export being cigarettes. Before the reporter could finish the question, McCain jumped in and said, "Maybe that's a way of killing them." He quickly added "I meant that as a joke," and said he was unfamiliar with the report and would have a better answer tomorrow.
  • John Bentley

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