John McCain said this morning on the "Today" show not only that can’t he provide an estimated date for US troops’ homecoming from Iraq, but that it’s “not too important. What’s important is the casualties.” The statement provoked an instantaneous response from Harry Reid, who called the comment “a crystal clear indicator that he just doesn’t get the grave national-security consequences of staying the course”—citing Afghanistan and the search for bin Laden.
Greg Sargent calls the remark “a pretty serious gaffe” on Talking Points Memo, figuring that it’s one thing to say we need to staff Iraq indefinitely, but “another thing entirely to suggest” bringing them home isn’t important. At best, “an awfully clumsy and inartful way” to say reducing casualties is paramount. Look for this story to blow up.