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Exclusive: GOP talking points encourage using Lieberman to attack Democrats on war

John Byrne
Published: Tuesday January 30, 2007
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A set of talking points sent out yesterday by the staff of House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) encouraged House Republican press staff to use a quote from Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) -- a onetime Democrat -- as a means of attacking Democratic resolutions calling for US redeployment.

The full talking points leaked to RAW STORY are printed below. They carried the image above in an html-formatted email.

"House and Senate Democrat leaders have stated they oppose the increase in troops, and their whole idea of troop 'redeployment' would amount to little more than pulling out our troops and walking away," the release says.

"As Senator Joseph Lieberman (ID-CT) [sic] told the Wall Street Journal last week:

"The people in Congress, and the public, were quite right in saying the president's got to come up with a different approach. And he did. It's better than any other plan I've seen because it holds the hope of success. Most of the other plans are effectively just giving up and walking away."

President Bush and Vice President Cheney have both recently applauded Lieberman in public comments the last few weeks, raising the possibility that the highlighting of Lieberman's comments may have been a coordinated effort.

"Acting on the good advice of Senator Joe Lieberman and other key members of Congress, we will form a new, bipartisan working group that will help us come together across party lines to win the war on terror," Bush said in his Jan. 10 address to the nation outlining his strategy for Iraq. "This group will meet regularly with me and my administration; it will help strengthen our relationship with Congress."

This weekend, in an interview with Newsweek, Vice President Cheney contrasted Lieberman's words with those of Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE), who criticized Bush's "surge" gambit.

"I thought that Joe Lieberman's comments ... were very important," Cheney said. "Joe basically said the plan deserved an opportunity to succeed ... that we're sending Gen. [David] Petraeus out with probably a unanimous or near-unanimous [confirmation] vote, and that it didn't make sense for Congress to simultaneously then pass a resolution disapproving of the strategy in Iraq."

Lieberman recently told Fox News Sunday that he agreed with Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who said congressional resolutions embolden the enemy.

Lieberman told host Chris Wallace, "I fear that while this resolution is non-binding and therefore will not affect the implementation of the plan, it will do two things that can be harmful. Which is that it will discourage our troops who we're asking to carry out this new plan, and it will encourage the enemy."

The talking points acquired by RAW STORY follow in full.

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WHAT IS THE DEMOCRAT STRATEGY FOR SUCCESS IN IRAQ?

GOP LEADERS have OFFERED A RESPONSIBLE PLAN TO HELP THE PRESIDENT'S NEW IRAQ STRATEGY SUCCEED

January 29, 2007

In Senate hearings last week Gen. David Petraeus testified that reinforcing U.S. troops in Iraq is necessary for the President's new strategy to succeed. The Democrat-controlled chamber then went on to endorse his selection as the new commander of American armed forces in Iraq without a single dissenting Democrat vote despite oft-repeated opposition to the President's new strategy. An editorial in the Washington Post captured the irony:

"On Tuesday nearly every member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee warmly endorsed Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus, the new U.S. commander in Iraq, and a number wished him success or 'Godspeed' in his mission. Yesterday some of the same senators voted for a resolution that opposes the increase of troops for Gen. Petraeus's command -- even though the general testified that he could not accomplish his mission without the additional forces and hinted that such a resolution could encourage the enemy."

Last week, House Republican Leaders and key Committee Ranking Members unveiled a responsible proposal to help measure the effectiveness of the President's new strategy by setting strategic benchmarks and calling for a bipartisan select panel to oversee the new strategy's implementation. The proposal is designed to help the President's new strategy succeed.

It begs the question: what is the Democrat plan for success in Iraq? House and Senate Democrat leaders have stated they oppose the increase in troops, and their whole idea of troop "redeployment" would amount to little more than pulling out our troops and walking away. As Senator Joseph Lieberman (ID-CT) told the Wall Street Journal last week:

"The people in Congress, and the public, were quite right in saying the president's got to come up with a different approach. And he did. It's better than any other plan I've seen because it holds the hope of success. Most of the other plans are effectively just giving up and walking away."

Stephen Hadley, the President's national security adviser, explained in a Washington Post op-ed today that rather than "walking away," any strategy for success in Iraq "must have a plan for securing Baghdad":

"Ultimately, a strategy for success must present a realistic plan for bringing security to the people of Baghdad. This is a precondition to advancing other goals. President Bush's strategy offers such a plan -- and it is the only strategy that does."

It is in America's strategic interests to ensure regional stability in the Middle East and to deny terrorists a safe haven in Iraq. The President's new strategy deserves a chance to succeed and it should receive fair and full consideration by this Congress.

Republican Leader Press Office Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) H-204, The Capitol (202) 225-4000 http://republicanleader.house.gov/