Sen. Lindsay Graham (R.-S.C.), fresh off his eleventh trip to Iraq, said Clinton’s remarks “might come up” again this week. Graham accompanied McCain and Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.) on the trip, which included stops in Israel and Europe.
Graham noted how Democratic efforts to attack Petraeus have backfired. “It really undercut any effort to produce votes to end the war or set a timetable for withdrawal because most Americans found the whole concept of attacking him offensive,” Graham said in a conference call Monday afternoon.
Republican Whip Sen. Jon Kyl (R.-Ariz.) said he’d like things to go more smoothly this time around. “I’m hoping my colleagues in the Senate and the House will view the testimony received and the report in a non-partisan, constructive way towards trying to understand how we can continue to support the effort and understand both the positives and the negatives rather than use it as a political exercise,” he told reporters in a separate conference call late Monday morning.
The Republican National Committee, charged with fundraising and get out the vote activities for McCain, released a video that day titled “Politics vs. Petraeus” that contrasted statements made by Clinton and Obama with warnings from Petraeus about the effect a premature withdrawal would have on security improvements in Iraq.
Clinton and Obama have both promised to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq if elected President.
Clinton and Obama maintained relatively low-profiles, while the GOP launched their media offensive.
Clinton’s campaign, still reeling over the loss of longtime strategist Mark Penn, who resigned over conflicting interests Sunday, promoted a new proposal to spend $300 million tax dollars on breast cancer research and prevention. Her former president husband, Bill, campaigned on her behalf in Puerto Rico.
Obama’s schedule did not list any public events Monday.