Tuesday, November 14, 2006

# Posted 10:44 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

SUNDAY MORNING ROUND-UP: McCain and Lieberman were on NBC because Reid and Pelosi turned down Russert's invitation. But Reid did show up on CBS, followed by White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten. ABC led off with incoming chairmen Joe Biden and Carl Levin, followed by Josh Bolten.

McCain: B+. Russert zeroed in on the big questions McCain will have to answer again and again in the coming months: How can he make a successful run for the White House if he stands almost alone in his position on the most important issue of all, Iraq? McCain answered that his position on the war is what he believes to be morally right. That is a good answer for now, but McCain will have to think about how tenable that answer will be 18 months from now.

Russert also asked whether McCain's insistence that we need more troops to win the war in Iraq amounts to an admission that there is no point to staying in Iraq if we don't bring more troops to the fight. McCain didn't resist or spin. He acknowledged that Russert was drawing a logical infernece, but that the costs of withdrawal might still be unacceptable. Again, a good answer for now, but how will it look in 18 months?

Lieberman: B. This was his honeymoon interview. Russert threw him softballs.

Reid: B. Pleasant and non-confrontational. The former chairman of the Nevada gaming commission is holding his cards very close to his chest. With regard to Iraq, Reid seemed to hint that the Democrats are beginning a very gradual move away from calculated ambiguity and toward a clear policy of withdrawal redeployment. Reid rejected a timetable for withdrawal redeployment and insisted that the decision to withdraw redeploy belongs to the generals, but that a withdrawal redeployment should start "within the next few months." I guess the generals get to decide whether a "few" means 3 or 4...

Bolten: B. Unobjectionable. In other words, he said nothing, but very pleasantly. It seems that the White House may also be playing its cards close to its chest, waiting for the Democrats to tip their hand.

Biden & Levin: B. Friendly and non-partisan, although Stephanopoulos didn't exactly challenge them. It seems that Biden and Levin chose to take exactly the same step as Harry Reid away from calculated ambiguity and toward redeployment. Like Reid, they refused to call for a timetable but insisted the withdrawal redeployment should begin within a matter of months.

Bolten: B-. Once again unobjectionable, but there was absolutely no way for Bolten to spin credibly out of the accusation that Bush fibbed a couple of weeks ago when he insisted Rumsfeld would stay in. But spin Bolten must, because he serves the White House.

See ya in seven.
(1) opinions -- Add your opinion

I guess I don't understand the fuss regarding Bush's "fib" about how long Rumsfeld was staying on.

It may or may not have been a good idea for Bush to delay the announcement until after the election, but it doesn't seem unreasonable to me for him to control when the announcement is made. I don't buy the notion that reporters have the right to force the announcement prematurely just by asking questions.
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