At 12:56 pm, the White House Press Office blasted this e-mail to reporters, accidentally, it turns out:

-----Original Message-----

From: White House Press Releases [mailto:Press.Releases@WhiteHouse.Gov]

Sent: Sat 7/19/2008 12:56 PM

To:

Subject: Reuters - Iraqi PM backs Obama troop exit plan - magazine



Iraqi PM backs Obama troop exit plan - magazine





BERLIN, July 19 (Reuters) - Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told a

German magazine he supported prospective U.S. Democratic presidential

candidate Barack Obama's proposal that U.S. troops should leave Iraq within

16 months.



In an interview with Der Spiegel released on Saturday, Maliki said he wanted

U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible.



"U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we

think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility

of slight changes."



It is the first time he has backed the withdrawal timetable put forward by

Obama, who is visiting Afghanistan and us set to go to Iraq as part of a

tour of Europe and the Middle East.



Obama has called for a shift away from a "single-minded" focus on Iraq and

wants to pull out troops within 16 months, instead adding U.S. soldiers to

Afghanistan.



Asked if he supported Obama's ideas more than those of John McCain,

Republican presidential hopeful, Maliki said he did not want to recommend

who people should vote for.



"Whoever is thinking about the shorter term is closer to reality.

Artificially extending the stay of U.S. troops would cause problems."



Maliki, who is due to visit Germany this week, has suggested a timetable

should be set for a U.S. withdrawal but U.S. officials have been more

cautious, despite an improving security situation.



The White House said on Friday President George W. Bush and Maliki had

agreed that a security deal under negotiation should set a "time horizon"

for meeting "aspirational goals" for reducing U.S. forces in Iraq.



"The Americans have found it difficult to agree on a concrete timetable for

the exit because it seems like an admission of defeat to them. But it

isn't," Maliki told Der Spiegel.



Some five years after the U.S.-led invasion, there are still some 146,000

U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

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