Candidates Seize Petraeus Moment

White House hopefuls flex rhetoric as general testifies
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2008 4:48 PM CDT
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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(Newser) – Today’s Capitol Hill appearance by Gen. David Petraeus was a golden opportunity for the White House hopefuls to flex their Iraq rhetoric, the Los Angeles Times reports. Hillary Clinton called for a troop withdrawal; though she agreed the decisions weren’t “easy,” she said the Bush administration “often talks about the costs of leaving Iraq … while ignoring the greater costs of staying.”

John McCain waxed, “We're no longer staring into the abyss of defeat, and we can now look ahead to … success,” and “we should not choose to lose.” Barack Obama said terrorism in Iraq is the “direct result” of the US invasion—and that an end will only come “if we’re applying increased pressure in a measured way,” including a timetable for withdrawal.