McCain Aide: Maliki Statement "Unartful"

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That's how Randy Scheunemann, McCain's top foreign policy aide, characterized Maliki's Der Spiegel statement.

"We haven't had much contact with Iraq government." he said on a conference call this a.m., but McCain believes that their position is that withdrawing from Iraq "needs to be conditions based." Obama "cannot take a quote that has already been clarified and try to hang their Iraq policy on it," Scheunemann said.

"Obama's judgment in Iraq has been universally wrong," he argued.

And note well this phrase:

"Unconditional withdrawal based on arbitrary dates." This is how the McCain campaign will characterize Obama's position between now and the election.

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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