Candidates Plan to Grill Petraeus on Iraq War

Next week, each of the Presidential candidates will get the chance to press General David Petraeus on the Iraq War and where the nation stands in regard to withdrawing troops.

Here’s the report on it from AOL News:

WASHINGTON (AP) – When Army Gen. David Petraeus delivers his assessment of the Iraq war next week, the next commander in chief will weigh in as well.

Republican Sen. John McCain will get a chance to argue that last year’s U.S. troop buildup has been a success and withdrawal would be a mistake. Democratic Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama will have an opportunity to ask why the United States is still fighting more than five years after the invasion.

All three presidential contenders serve on Senate panels that will hear and question the top U.S. military commander in Iraq when he testifies Tuesday and Wednesday. McCain and Clinton serve on the Armed Services Committee; Obama is a member of the Foreign Relations Committee.

The backdrop to the Petraeus hearings includes the stark difference on the war between Republicans and Democrats, an increase in fighting in Iraq’s southern region and a deeply disapproving public. Petraeus’ status report not only will shape the administration’s policy for the next several months, but also how the war will figure in the general election campaign.

I think this will be interesting to watch how far the candidates will go. Obviously McCain will be more supportive of Petraeus but I’m doubting Obama or Clinton will want to make a national spectacle out of badgering him over withdrawal timetables. They will have to play to their base a bit but will not want to turn off independent voters. Everything the candidates do now is on the national, and international, stage so if they press him too hard, it will become an evening news sound bite.