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Parsing John McCain

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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what you read by Frank Rich, Barack Obama insists: John McCain is fine with 100 years of war in Iraq. Obama didn't decontextualize Mac's statement at all, and if you want proof, check YouTube, he said to Meredith Viera on the Today show this morning. Bad idea. McCain did not say he was okay with 100 years of war in Iraq; he said he'd be fine with "staying" in Iraq for that long, with "maintaining a presence" in Iraq "as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed." For further clarification, he compares this stay to that of U.S. troops in Japan and South Korea. Now smart people have noted that McCain, who has criticized Obama as having a lack of foreign policy experience, should know that a presence in Iraq will always mean a virtual war, or at least a counter-insurgency. Iraq is no South Korea, no Japan, and the notion of remaining there with no loss of U.S. life is a pipe dream. But while we have YouTube open, let's take Obama's advice and check him on his recasting of McCain's comments. (Clip above.) Expect a bunch more back-and-forth on this one.

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