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Wednesday, April 11, 2007
 
Blogger Conference Call

I participated in the blogger conference call with John McCain this morning. I won't try to describe the entire conference call, but it was extremely interesting. Senator McCain was on top of the facts, sharp and detailed and not vague. I definitely got the impression that he was engaged and determined. Anybody concerned that he's too old for the job would have their fears alleviated.

The main topic of course was the speech he gave this morning at VMI.

"On my trip, I traveled to Baghdad, Ramadi, and Tikrit, met with Iraqi cabinet officers, our top military leadership, including Generals Petraeus and Odierno, and with embassy officials, including our new ambassador, Ryan Crocker. I also had the privilege of spending time with our soldiers, from generals to privates. Their courage and resolve in this frustrating war is an inspiration, and serves as a reminder of our obligations to avoid the expediency of easy, but empty answers or the allure of political advantage to choose the path in Iraq that best honors their sacrifices.

"We're going to need their courage more than ever. The divisions in Iraqi society are deep, and the need for greater security critical. Innocent Iraqis are still being murdered, and our soldiers are braving dangers no less threatening than in the past. Every day we read about or watch on television the latest car bombing, IED explosion or sniper attack. But something else is happening, too. There are the first glimmers of progress under General Petraeus' political-military strategy. While these glimmers are no guarantee of success, and though they come early in the implementation of the new strategy, I believe they are cause for very cautious optimism.


This caution was something that Senator McCain stressed in his responses to questions from bloggers like Captain Ed and Powerline's John Hinderaker, and he did not flinch from criticizing the president over premature optimism.

Update: Our longtime blogger buddy BDP writes:

All in all a great conference call by McCain. You can tell he really believes that success in Iraq is necessary but is under no delusions about how hard it will be.

One other thing also struck me - McCain is very comfortable with bloggers. None of the questions are pre-screened, and McCain is definitely a straight-shooter whether you agree with him or not.

Even those on the right who may not agree with him on everything certainly have to respect him - at least the mature people will for doing things like this and not talking in “sound bites”. This kind of thing will pay off for him should he win the nomination, especially with right-wing bloggers who may have supported someone else.

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