Will Petraeus hearings favor Obama and Clinton?
“Of course not. The American people want a discussion of policy,” Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin of Michigan said.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden agreed: “The biggest mistake we can make is politicizing, looking at this in terms of political advantage and disadvantage. The American people are sick of this crap.”
The two committee chairmen were responding to questions from reporters who wondered if they might allow the Democratic candidates to speak earlier than they would ordinarily.
Army Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker, the top two U.S. officials in Iraq, will appear before the Levin and Biden committees on Tuesday to deliver a progress report and recommend how quickly U.S. forces can be withdrawn in the waning months of the Bush administration.
One reporter wanted to know if Biden would allow Obama, the junior Illinois senator on his committee, to speak ahead of presidential rival John McCain, the panel’s senior Republican.
“McCain is the ranking guy. So he’s going to get to speak first,” Biden responded.
But while rejecting any notion of partisanship, Biden appeared to suggest the subject matter could have campaign implications for McCain, who supports a Republican war strategy that Democrats say has failed.
“I think it’s good to hear what McCain has to say. I love the idea of McCain having to explain what’s going on here and why this is working so well,” Biden said.