The Washington Times - July 19, 2008, 07:15PM

AUSTIN It has not been a good day for the Republicans.

 

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Sen. Barack Obama landed in Afghanistan and got a little boost when Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki told a German magazine he endorses the Obama plan to remove troops from Iraq within 16 months.

 

The news alone probably wasn’t welcome over at Team McCain, and the White House “hit the wrong button” and accidentally sent a Reuters write-up of the Maliki article to reporters with the subject line, “Iraqi PM backs Obama troop exit plan - magazine,” according to ABC.

 

Oops.

 

Then the Obama campaign issued a memo saying their guy was great on foreign policy and suggesting McCain was a copy cat.

 

The McCain camp responded with a statement that misspelled former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s name:

 

“Let’s be clear, the only reason that the conversation about reducing troop levels in Iraq is happening is because John McCain challenged the failed Rumsfield-strategy in Iraq and argued for the surge strategy that is responsible for the successes we’ve achieved and which Barack Obama opposed.  Unlike Barack Obama, John McCain has never ignored the facts on the ground in Iraq, he’s never avoided the warzone before proposing new strategy, and he’s never voted against funding our troops in the field.  If John McCain was following Barack Obama’s lead on foreign policy, the United States would have already withdrawn from Iraq in a humiliating defeat at the hands of al Qaeda.”

 

Whoops.

 

An snarky political observer sniffed that didn’t bode well for the candidate of “experience.”

 

What’s more, McCain’s campaign didn’t respond to the Maliki interview until 6:28 eastern time — many hours after the magazine went live with the report and not helping his image with critics who don’t like that McCain has been taking most weekends off.

 

“For a candidate who touts that his biggest advantage is that he has the experience to respond to international developments swiftly and with authority, taking 12 hours to respond to the biggest international development of the year is embarrassing,” a Democratic operative said.

 

Christina Bellantoni, national political reporter,
The Washington Times

 

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