By Patrick Appel
Here's McCain talking to Harry Smith, co-host of CBS News' The Early Show:

"One of the other things that (Obama) has said is that maybe the troops should be out within the next 18 months, an idea that Prime Minister al-Maliki basically agrees with,'' Smith reminded McCain. "Maybe the surge, in fact, did work. Is it time for American troops to start coming home?''

"Well, Prime Minister Maliki agreed with President Bush that it would be conditions-based,'' replied McCain, campaigning in Portland, Me. "If Sen. Obama had had his way, they've have been out last March, and we'd have never had the surge and we would have failed and we would have then faced enormous consequences of defeat, both there, and it would have--in Iraq and it would have affected Afghanistan."

Let me see if I have this straight: Bush agrees with Maliki. McCain agrees with Bush and Makiki. Mailiki agrees with Obama. But McCain and Obama say they don't agree. The election suddenly feels like a math-class word problem.

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