Have a look at how Tony tries to set up the Dems as worse than Lugar and ask yourself the following question: What's the difference between Lugar and Reid's position on the W, Rove and Co Iraq Democracy Experiement and why does it matter to Tony?
Q He said most U.S. troops can be pulled out by the middle of 2008, specifically. Do you agree with that?Oh, and who is playing partisan politics if it's not Tony? Dems bad, GOP Good no matter how much criticism the GOP Senator slings at the W? I see.
MR. SNOW: We'll see. I mean, I'm not a general, I'm not going to try to play one.
Q He also said, "Our course in Iraq has lost contact with our vital national security interest." Do you agree with that? Does that really show --
MR. SNOW: I think it's tied up with our vital national security interest. But I'm not going to -- again, I'm not going to get into a fight with --
Q But how can you say, as you did this morning, you're saying again that Republicans like Lugar are not necessarily opposing the White House when they're saying "our force in Iraq has lost contact with our vital national security interest" -- how does that agree with what you're saying?
MR. SNOW: Well, again, what you've done is -- we went through this last week, where you take one sentence, I'd cite another sentence -- I didn't bring the whole speech with me this time.
Q Well, he's got a speech -- it's 45 minutes. Is there a line in his speech that agrees with your policy?
MR. SNOW: Yes, I think there -- the whole series of lines in there. Again, ask yourself what Dick Lugar wants to see. What he wants to see is an effective and integrated diplomatic effort within the region, which this administration has been trying to work through and has been working through. What he wants is more political progress on the ground with the Iraqis. What he wants is better training and capability on the part of the Iraqis. He wants al Qaeda to lose. He wants the Iraqi people to win. I think there are substantial areas of agreement here.
Q Sure, but he's saying that the course you're taking is not succeeding in those endeavors, so --
MR. SNOW: No, he's -- again, we have just started the course. The course has just begun.
Q He is saying time is running out. But he's not a Democrat, he's a Republican, a very senior one saying --
MR. SNOW: I understand that --
Q -- time is running out.
MR. SNOW: I understand that, Ed.
Q But is the White House in denial about that, then?
MR. SNOW: No, the White House is not in denial about the fact, but I think you're in denial about the fact that in the overall contours, there's just not that much disagreement. If you want disagreement, you compare what he's saying with what Harry Reid is saying. If you want a disagreement, you take a look at what Dick Lugar has been saying and what Democratic leaders have been saying, by and large.
What Dick Lugar is trying to do -- and I think this is a sensible thing -- is to try to lower the temperature and find a way where you can get some bipartisan conversations, because in many cases, people have dug in their heels, saying, the President is for it, we're going to be against it. And he understands that if you try to look at this through strictly a political lens, you run a very high risk of ignoring the fact that our national security really is under assault by the forces of terror, and it's important to succeed in Iraq because, as I pointed out this morning, what begins in Iraq, whether it is a Democratic renaissance or a victory in the war on terror, does not end there. And what we want to make sure is that the seed that gets planted is the seed of democracy and not the one of terror and tyranny.
Q I need to correct the record, Tony, because you quoted me and you quoted me incorrectly.
MR. SNOW: I'm sorry.
Q You said that I said everyone agrees with what the President said. I didn't say that.
MR. SNOW: No, no, I didn't say that. You said everybody agrees with those benchmarks. I did not have --
Q I didn't even say that.
MR. SNOW: You didn't?
Q What I said is that everyone agrees what the President said, not that they agree with him.