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Sunday, June 29, 2008

POLITICS: McCain, Iraqi President say progress being made.

Looking more presidential than ever, hey? I don't know if I'll ever warm up to McCain- I'm too much of a GWB supporter. But, hey, McCain is infinitely better than Hussein, even if he spends half his time courting Clinton Democrats and anti-Bush independents. Besides, can you imagine Hussein being the leader of the free world? I bet he'll do all the wrong things! He'll probably change the presidential seal to satisfy his crazy ego, then disarm America and do away with the defense budget so he can set-up a worthless Department of Peace to make the wiccans from Code Pink deliriously happy, then he'll sit down with the ayatollah of Iran for a little chat, then pull the troops out of Iraq and leave Israel in a very vulnerable position and then blame GWB for all the chaos that will follow. Scary.

Sooo presidential.

WASHINGTON - Appearing together in solidarity, Republican John McCain and Iraq's president said Saturday that the war-ravaged country is making significant but fragile progress.

The GOP presidential nominee-in-waiting expressed confidence about prospects for the two countries completing a complex agreement that would keep U.S. troops in Iraq after a U.N. mandate expires at year-end. And, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said an American military presence still was needed.

"I, of, course am encouraged. We both agree that the progress has been significant but the progress is also fragile. And there's a lot of work that needs to be done," McCain said at the end of a private 45-minute meeting with Talabani.

Sitting next to the Arizona senator at a Washington hotel, Talabani nodded in agreement and said it was a pleasure and an honor to update an "old friend" about "this stage of success" in Iraq.

U.S. and Iraqi authorities are trying to meet a July target date for completing a security agreement. Talks bogged down over several key issues, which Iraqi lawmakers said violated the nation's sovereignty. Recently, however, Iraqi authorities said prospects for a deal had brightened after the Americans submitted new, unspecified proposals.

Talabani discussed the issue with President Bush on Wednesday.

McCain emphasized that the two countries will decide the role of U.S. forces together.

"I am confident that the two nations, as sovereign nations, will reach agreement in the best interest of the United States of America and the best interest of the government of Iraq," McCain said.

"We are winning in Iraq, and we will withdraw, but we will withdraw with victory and honor," McCain said.

Talabani, for his part, said his country has achieved "good successes and achievements" in training the Iraqi army and policy force.

But, he said: "We are still in need to have American military presence in Iraq, and it must be decided by both governments of the United States and Iraq how much they will remain there."

Talabani added: "In my personal opinion, we are in need to have some, at least some, military bases as a symbol for preventing others in interfering (with) internal affairs of Iraq.

Later, as he spoke to a Hispanic organization, McCain was interrupted four times by anti-war protesters, who screamed "we want a peace candidate" and "bring our troops home."

McCain also met with Philippines President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Saturday, and was traveling to Kentucky for an evening fundraiser.