What really happened in Obama, McCain Afghan exchange
But the McCain folks are pushing back against this notion that tempers were flaring between Obama and McCain as reported by major media outlets.
McCain has made no secret of what he feels is an urgent need to increase U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and he repeated that appeal in the meeting, saying he hopes the president will make his decision soon and “not in a leisurely fashion,” according to McCain spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan.
News accounts of the exchange behind closed doors have said Obama responded curtly that he was not acting in a leisurely fashion, but McCain, as relayed by Buchanan, said Obama made the comment in his wrapup remarks and that he in no way sounded irritated.
Buchanan told us that McCain is “astonished” that this has been blown up into a big hullabaloo and that the senator appreciated that Obama had the entire congressional leadership over to the White House to discuss Afghanistan.
Our Caren Bohan checked in with a senior administration official who confirmed that Obama’s comment that the decision-making process “won’t be leisurely” was made in the president’s wrapup comments and not immediately after McCain spoke.
Democratic Senator Carl Levin responded more directly to McCain’s comments, according to the official. Levin said that Obama was entitled to take the time he needs to make the decision and he pointed out that President George W. Bush took three months to make a decision about whether to boost troops in Iraq.
Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Young (McCain speaking after Afghanistan meeting at White House), Reuters/Asmaa Waguih (U.S. Marines on patrol in Afghanistan)