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What to Watch for

Most of the news coverage from the upcoming days of testimony from Army Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker will probably focus on how the presidential candidates interact with the officials. For those of you more interested in the policy than the presidential politics, here is a running list of things I'll be watching for in the next week or so:

-How the Democrats tie Iraq war spending to a flagging U.S. economy. They’ve been arguing an upcoming recession is tied to the war and Iraqis are getting a better “deal” on domestic services than Americans in terms of healthcare, gas prices and education.

 -Possible bipartisan agreement that Iraqis need to be spend more of their oil revenues on reconstruction and that U.S. money to Iraq should be made in the form of loans, not grants so that some of it will eventually be repaid.

-If Democrats concede security efforts have been successful, but believe Iraq has not made enough political progress to make continued efforts there worthwhile.

-How Republicans argue recent, unexpected violence is due to terrorists who want to put a damper on good news coming from Iraq.

-Whether House Democrats will hold a war supplemental bill “hostage” for extra domestic pork barrel spending next week.

-If Democrats abandon plans to cut funding for the war and instead propose legislation limit deployments.

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