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McCain's Sleazy Attack on Romney

I've been following the controversy that has ensued after McCain accused Romney of supporting a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, which was an obvious attempt to convince Florida Republican primary voters that Romney isn't any different from the Democrats when it comes to Iraq. I have to say, it's quite disturbing how easily McCain can shift into Clinton-sleaze mode when he feels pressure from Romney. Anyone who reads the entire transcript of Romney's comments can see that he wasn't advocating anything remotely similar to what the white flag waving Democrats were. Here are Romney's actual comments:

QUESTION: Iraq. John McCain is there in Baghdad right now. You have also been very vocal in supporting the president and the troop surge. Yet, the American public has lost faith in this war. Do you believe that there should be a timetable in withdrawing the troops?

MR. ROMNEY: Well, there's no question but that -- the president and Prime Minister al-Maliki have to have a series of timetables and milestones that they speak about. But those shouldn't be for public pronouncement. You don't want the enemy to understand how long they have to wait in the weeds until you're going to be gone. You want to have a series of things you want to see accomplished in terms of the strength of the Iraqi military and the Iraqi police, and the leadership of the Iraqi government.

QUESTION: So, private. You wouldn't do it publicly? Because the president has said flat out that he will veto anything the Congress passes about a timetable for troop withdrawals. As president, would you do the same?

MR. ROMNEY: Well, of course. Can you imagine a setting where during the Second World War we said to the Germans, gee, if we haven't reached the Rhine by this date, why, we'll go home, or if we haven't gotten this accomplished we'll pull up and leave? You don't publish that to your enemy, or they just simply lie in wait until that time. So, of course, you have to work together to create timetables and milestones, but you don't do that with the opposition.

I don't see anything unreasonable in his statements. Of course you have goals that are dependent upon how things are going on the ground. It's called a war plan. But you do not under any circumstances let the enemy know what your plans are. John McCain is trying to tell us that Romney's statements are in line with those from Democrats like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi who demanded over and over again for a public date of withdrawal and even attempted to tie war funding to one. McCain's tactic is shamelessly dishonest, and the chorus of those who also think so is growing:

Rich Lowry:

[T]hat doesn't justify the rank dishonesty of his attack on Romney over the weekend. It's so shamelessly unfair, it's the kind of thing you'd expect of Bill Clinton attacking Barack Obama. Clearly, McCain wants to change the topic from the economy. And since he's suffering from his "straight-talk" about his relative lack of knowledge of and interest in the economy, he's trying to compensate with the opposite of straight talk--blatant distortions--about Romney's record.

Bill Bennett (Via Kathryn Jean Lopez):

Bennett's been a McCain defender, certainly more than other conservative radio-talk-show hosts. On CNN, he just called today's Iraq hit on Romney "below the belt" and said "honor has been McCain's watchword" -- he should admit that was wrong to do.

Ed Morrissey:

This is a fundamentally dishonest attack. One of the reasons why some Republicans who have opposed McCain over issues like the BCRA and immigration have tried to keep a civil tongue in discussing McCain is because of the respect he has earned as a stalwart on the war. He deserves that respect; he has been an indispensable voice for the effort and has the right to hold himself up as that. However, he should be showing that respect to others who have supported the war and the troops.

McCain has promised to take a new, respectful tone with Democrats. If he wants to impress us in the primaries, maybe he should try that with Republicans.


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Comments (15)

McCain is a principled (D)e... (Below threshold)

McCain is a principled (D)emocrat.

Well I heard the same waffl... (Below threshold)

Well I heard the same waffling from Romney on the prosecution of the war-I think it was in the first debate.

Trust me I use to loathe McCain for what he did to Rumsfeld but somehow I find Romney's positioning more self serving.

McCain has been fornt and center on his attacks on the methodology of the war


And this is a HUGE BUT-

McCain campaigned verociously for the re-election of Bush when it was not all that politically advantageous to do so.

Where was Romney?

He tells us how he save the Olympics-but he could not help "save" the war effort?

"Where was Romney?"<... (Below threshold)

"Where was Romney?"

Governing a state like He was elected to do. where was McCain on keeping the border open for Al Quaida??

What a Republican dilemna..... (Below threshold)

What a Republican dilemna...octagenarian sleaze attacking a Mutt dressed in an empty suit. Talk about the King's new clothes....Oh, my

Well let's talk about this ... (Below threshold)

Well let's talk about this governance of Massachusetts-why not talk about his economic record there?

If he claims to be able to have the power to internationally pull out the Olympics why could he not use his name recognition to ensure a republican President could win the war effort?

We all knew him from the Olympics yet he was no where to be found.

You cannot distance yourself from Bush and the war effort in Florida.

I know you all hate Bush but some of us still like him and we are absentee active duty military voters in Florida.

So the Bush hating club of Malkin et al are really helping McCain at least in Florida.
This is where Jeb won by a landslide after 2000.

It also has not been smart for Romeny to play the Lou Dobbs isolationist card with China during the last debate,or for him to have Bay Buchanan associated with his campaign and Pat Buchanan the Isolationist Champion of the war Effort-being enamored with him.

Sorry but the US military ain't liking Pat Buchanan and if you are playing to that wing of the party in Florida-you are risking losing the vet vote.

It's that simple.

Can anyone explain why it i... (Below threshold)

Can anyone explain why it is that McCain has street cred re: National Security?

As far as I can tell his bone fides consist of talking about security issues. He hasn't actually done anything. Where as other candidates have actually performed as executives.

Guilliani's efforts to secure NYC following 9/11. Huckabee lead National Guard in AK. I know AK wasn't a terrorist target but still he had to coordinate his state agencies with Homeland security. And for however small this seems, it still eclipses McCain's record of accomplishments.

Romney in my opinion probably leads the pack on this topic. I live in Salt Lake City and witnessed the 2002 Olympics. Romney pulled off a national security miracle! He coordinated an exhastive security plan just 5 months after 9/11. We all were nervous in the city that terrorists would be attracted to this internationally televised event. What a perfect target. We also feared that the Games would be a disaster as schedules slipped because of all the screening of bags and personal items. Well it was an amazing effort to behold. The whole of Downtown SLC was baracaded and screening into the Zone was both thorough and quick. And this effort was duplicated in the 7 or 8 other venues scatted throughout the State. Whether is was this canyon or that mountain resort they were all similarly staffed and the efficiency was truly remarkable. I couldn't belive they pulled it off. You saw all the security personnel walking around watching over the activities and it made us feel safe. And schedules did not slip in the least.

Romney went on to Govern Massachusetts so like Guilliani and Huckabee he had plenty of experience coordinating with homeland security and like Guilliani's NYC, Boston was probably one of the top 5 terrorist targets.

I think these examples of actual leadership in action make McCain's Senate tea sessions look like he was just play acting.

It is quite simple ...... (Below threshold)

It is quite simple ...

McCain is LYING about Romney ... he knows it and all of you McCain supporters know it ...

Straight Talk my a** ... typical liberal slime job ...

Thats what we see in McCains political DNA ...

Spin it all you want ...


I'd sooner vote for Barack ... (Below threshold)

I'd sooner vote for Barack Obama than John McCain. And I'm a Republican!

Wow. Somebody needs to cal... (Below threshold)

Wow. Somebody needs to call a whaaaaaambulance for our conservative pundits and some commenters. It's fight for the freakin' Presidency and y'all are gonna sit around wailing, "He's not playing fair!! If my guy doesn't get the nomination I'm not even gonna VOTE!!" When did the GOP turn into the party of nap-deprived kindergarteners?

This is an interesting deve... (Below threshold)

This is an interesting development. Romney maintains that his private opinion and public presentation are two different things. Privately, he believes there should be a time line, but is saying McCain took it out of context by voicing concern over Romney's opinion over troop withdrawal.

Just like the Dems, the Republicans are getting a little down and dirty, and a bit defensive, as well.

Did you see where Romney, a... (Below threshold)

Did you see where Romney, at a FL event, ate fried chicken with the skin removed! That could cost him FL.

"I know you all hate Bus... (Below threshold)

"I know you all hate Bush but some of us still like him and we are absentee active duty military voters in Florida." Rory

Hey Rory, I love your love for the US and its Constitution. Do ya got anymore great goosesteps you bootlickin' oinker?

"Did you see where Romne... (Below threshold)

"Did you see where Romney, at a FL event, ate fried chicken with the skin removed! That could cost him FL."

Okay, Barney. That was almost funny, only because I really love fried chicken. :p

"Hey Rory, I love your l... (Below threshold)

"Hey Rory, I love your love for the US and its Constitution. Do ya got anymore great goosesteps you bootlickin' oinker?"

Hey hogcall, we know you love your hatred and disrespect for the military, even when they are overseas, active-duty voters. Why do you sound like long lost "freedom fries"?

swanny - "When did the ... (Below threshold)

swanny - "When did the GOP turn into the party of nap-deprived kindergarteners?"

About the same time they started watching the dems debate anything in the House and Senate.






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