Via Hotline, the DNC spots a piece of ripe, low-hanging fruit in Maverick’s CNN interview and pounces. Pay close attention and you’ll see he’s not far off message: The emphasis is still on conditions on the ground, and he slips in the word “horizon” to allude to the distinction I wrote about here between the sort of timetable Obama has in mind and the more “aspirational”/benchmark type of time frame Bush is willing to agree to. Maliki, in fact, even threw him a bone in his press conference at the Vatican today by mentioning that any agreement on withdrawal should be satisfactory to both sides. But why, oh why, would he say something as sloppy as “I think it’s a pretty good timetable” of Obama’s plan, even if he planned on qualifying it, knowing that the media will be off to the races with it? Bad end to a bad week.
Update: Besides making the media’s job easy for them, McCain’s actually taken a big arrow out of his rhetorical quiver here. Revisit this Martha Raddatz piece at ABC published two weeks ago today querying commanders in the field about how feasible a 16-month pullout would be. Answer: Not very. McCain should be pushing that to buttress his argument that Obama doesn’t know what he’s talking about when it comes to Iraq and is setting Americans up for expectations that can only be disappointed. Instead, he’s saying 16 months sound good, so long as conditions are accommodating. Foolish.