This could be a preview of the presidential debate between the two potential VP candidates: Joe Lieberman and Evan Bayh. They appeared on FOX News Sunday. Read the entire transcript.
WALLACE: As we discussed with Admiral Mullen, Iraqi prime minister Maliki seemed over the weekend to endorse Obama's plan for pulling combat troops out of Iraq by mid 2010, within two years. Now he's apparently backed off that.
But, Senator Lieberman, the Iraqis clearly want us out sooner rather than later, and they would like on a timetable. Why is Senator McCain resisting that?
LIEBERMAN: Well, we — Senator McCain and I and others — want us out of Iraq sooner rather than later, but we want us out in a way that does not compromise all the gains that American and Iraqi forces have made in Iraq, which Admiral Mullen spoke to.
And frankly, we want to stay there to a victory because we don't want all those who have served in the American uniform there to have served or in some cases died in vain.
Remember this, Chris. We wouldn't be having this discussion about how to get out unless the surge, which John McCain courageously fought for, taking on the president of his own party, popular opinion, risking his campaign, and which Senator Obama opposed, worked.
So I think that's the good news. I think everybody — that is, Prime Minister Maliki, President Bush, people like John McCain and I — agree the sooner we're out, the better. But it has to be based on conditions on the ground.
Senator Obama doesn't seem to feel that way. It looked like he did a little bit after the primaries were over. But then he, pushed by MoveOn.org and others on the antiwar left of the Democratic Party, is back to a rigid time line. And that's not wise.
WALLACE: Let me talk to Senator Bayh about that.
Admiral Mullen didn't mention Obama, but he did say this idea of a timetable for getting out in two years is dangerous. Why not agree that you're going to make any decisions based on conditions on the ground, Senator?
BAYH: Chris, I think it's important to note that Barack Obama's judgment about these issues has been excellent from the beginning, the kind of judgment you'd want in a commander in chief, and others are now beginning to adopt his positions.
We wouldn't be discussing surges in Iraq or anything else if Barack had had his way. We wouldn't have started that war to begin with.
He was right about Afghanistan. That's the place from which we were attacked. He's been calling for more troops there now for over a year. And John McCain, to his credit, has now come around and adopted Barack's point of view on that.
He has been for, as you say, a phased withdrawal from Iraq. As we heard, Prime Minister Maliki has embraced a more definitive time line, whether it's the 16 months or something else. But clearly, they want a more definitive time line.
And even President Bush now is coming up with a variety of euphemisms — aspirational goals, time horizons. I mean, it's starting to sound pretty much like a timeline to me.
So it's common sense, Chris. Any important enterprise, certainly something as important as a war — you want to have a plan. And a plan has to have some idea of what it's going to cost, what the adverse consequences are going to be and how long it's going to take.
So 16 months seems to be a reasonable goal. Let's work toward that. Let's bring this to a conclusion in a responsible way and focus on Iraq (sic) where the focus should have been all along.