Iraq shares hope of 2010 troop withdrawal

July 21, 2008 6:58:22 PM PDT
Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama is in Iraq, where he is meeting with Iraqi leaders and American troops.

Obama spent Monday in Baghdad, talking with two top officials there ? U.S. General David Petraeus, and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki.

Obama has made pulling American troops out of Iraq a cornerstone of his campaign, prompting swift responses from his opponent, John McCain.

Barack Obama's campaign couldn't have scripted it any better. That's the assessment from a Stanford expert on Iraq, who is also an advisor to the Obama campaign.

With his tour of Afghanistan over, Barack Obama turned to Iraq on Monday.

Obama got a lot of help this weekend, when Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki was quoted in a European magazine saying he agrees with Obama's time table for withdrawing U.S. troops.

"You know, I just don't see how the Obama campaign could've scripted something better than this," says Obama advisor Larry Diamond from Stanford.

John McCain continues to hammer away at what he describes as Obama's inexperience.

"If he had had his way we would've lost in Iraq," says McCain.

On an interview on Good Morning America, McCain committed a gaff, saying "we have a lot of work to do and I'm afraid it's a very hard struggle, particularly given the situation on the Iraq Pakistan border."

But, Iraq and Pakistan don't share a border.

McCain said Iraq when he probably meant to say Afghanistan. ABC7 political analyst Bruce Cain says it's another in a string of mistakes that could cost McCain.

"The statements are starting to pile up. Eventually, while none of them are so far the defining moment, the cumulative effect of all this is to raise the question to whether he's kind of where Ronald Reagan was in his second term, that it really not on top of his game and not able to master the details," says Cain.

This week McCain's plan is to visit a half dozen states to talking about the economy, in hopes of countering the coverage of Obama's Mideast and European tour.


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