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Daily Column
US Papers Wed: Iraq is Likely Key McCain Theme
Anbar handover a boost to RNC
By DANIEL W. SMITH 09/03/2008 01:55 AM ET
After yesterday’s big features about the handover of Anbar province to Iraqi control, it is followed up today by... almost nothing. The news today was all RNC, which provided the one piece of Iraq coverage.

Stateside Election News
the New York Times’ David E. Sanger reports from St. Paul that Events in Iraq Likely to Be Key Theme for McCain”. Not a surprising headline. It makes the point that the improved security in Iraq, and particularly Monday’s handover of Anbar, are something that both McCain and Bush can bask in.
It allows Mr. Bush to claim that five years after the invasion, Iraq is achieving stability, and it allows Mr. McCain to argue that he was the first to come up with the winning strategy, an infusion of additional troops. Mr. Bush skimmed past his long-running, very public argument with Mr. McCain over troop levels when he addressed the convention here on Tuesday night by video link. “Some told him that his early and consistent call for more troops would put his presidential campaign at risk,” Mr. Bush told the delegates. “He told them he would rather lose an election than see his country lose a war. That is the kind of courage and vision we need in our next commander in chief.” That is likely to be a central element of Mr. McCain’s campaign coming out of the convention, his policy aides here said. But it may be one of the few areas where he and Mr. Bush are on the same page: Mr. McCain plans to call for far more vigorous efforts to reduce dependence on Middle East oil, his senior policy adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, said Tuesday, an area “where I think you’ll see some overlap between our position and the Democrats’.”
McCain’s insistence on the “surge” was a gamble that he may be able to cash in on in the coming election, or at least at the RNC this week.

Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, no Iraq coverage.


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