The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs today acknowledged waning public support for the war in Afghanistan, but cautioned that the threat of extremist takeover is real, reports Politico. The security situation is "pretty bad right now and getting worse," Adm. Mike Mullen told NBC's Meet the Press. With Gen. Stanley McChrystal's strategic plan expected in a few weeks, Mullen said troop increases wouldn't be called for—at least immediately.
Health care and Afghanistan swirled elsewhere on the Sunday dial:
- Sen. John McCain said Ted Kennedy’s absence from the Senate has made a “huge, huge difference” in the tense health care debate and may have impeded progress, Politico reports. He added that "people around Obama" are pressuring US military leaders to reduce estimates of troops needed in Afghanistan.
- Calling the Senate Finance Committee's health measure "the great hope now," Sen. Joe Lieberman suggested on State of the Union that it's time to push through "three-quarters" of a bill, and save the rest for healthier economic times.
- Sen. Chuck Schumer is ready to chuck bipartisanship and push through a public option "with the 60 democratic votes we have," he told Meet the Press.
- Sen. Arlen Specter told Fox News Sunday he'd consider a reconciliation health care bill as a "last, last, last resort," but he'd much prefer a bill that passes with 60 votes.