On one hand, when discussing issues in real time with little preparation — and no TelePrompter — it’s easy to get points confused. On the other hand, can we all imagine how the media would have treated this if George Bush did it … twice?

President Barack Obama experienced a rare speaking stumble Thursday, mixing up Iraq and Afghanistan when responding in a YouTube interview to questions challenging the wars in those countries.

The president twice referred to Afghanistan when clearly talking about the situation in Iraq.

He said that the United States would withdraw all combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2011 and that combat operations there had ended, which actually describes the situation and policy for Iraq.

It was unclear whether Obama realized his mistake. He then correctly stated the situation in Afghanistan, saying the United States would start withdrawing some forces beginning in July, with the goal of handing over full security responsibilities to the Afghan government in 2014.

Well, with Obama adopting the surge strategy in Afghanistan that he excoriated when Bush used it in Iraq, perhaps distinguishing the two might be a little difficult for the Commander in Chief. The answers couldn’t have built the confidence of the person asking the question much, though.

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Tags: Barack Obama