April 8th, 2008
03:10 PM ET
7 years ago

Levin: Iraq hearings mostly avoided politics

Levin says presidential politics were ‘kept to a minimum’ Tuesday, despite the presence of the major candidates.
Levin says presidential politics were ‘kept to a minimum’ Tuesday, despite the presence of the major candidates.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin says he accomplished what many would consider a tall task: Keeping presidential politics to a minimum during today’s hearings on the Iraq War.

General David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq were the crucial witnesses in today’s hearing. But with the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Senator John McCain of Arizona, and one of the two remaining Democratic presidential candidates, Senator Hillary Clinton of New York in attendance, it was hard to avoid the specter of the campaign trail.

Levin, commenting on the hearings after they concluded, said “the tone of it was right and I saw a minimum amount of presidential politics. I know that there is an understandable focus because Senators Clinton and McCain were there. But I thought that people went really to the substance and avoided politicizing this hearing in any way and I hope that’s the way it appeared to the public because that’s clearly what we intended.”

Petraeus and Crocker are now testifying in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, home of another of the White House hopefuls, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois.

Related: Watch Jamie McIyntre's fact check on the hearing

soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. demo crazy

    of course, guess who voted for that?

    McCain and Hillary, ONE and the SAME

    April 8, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  2. CC in MI

    Helloooo everyone... This was a COMMITTEE HEARING. Obama was not there because he is not on this committee! Not every senator is on every committee. Obama is on Foreign Relations, not Armed Services. That's why he'll be involved in THAT hearing. Tiny reality check here... dig out your high school civics books and brush up! :)

    April 8, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  3. Mike

    Obama did an excellent job in his questions. He was rightfully respectfull to General Petraeus who has done a fine job. Obama asked the right question. At what point can America decide that we have accomplished enough that we can withdraw from this seemingly never ending quagmire. Obama unlike McCain has a deep understanding of the underlying forces at work in Iraq and in the greater middle east et al. My God, a politician with an intellect. Do we even deserve Obama?

    April 8, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  4. Gina

    Obama didn't vote against the war....he didn't vote period.
    He has voted the same as Hillary on every single vote ever since.

    April 8, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  5. Darryl

    Why are we still paying for this reconstruction of IRAQ and IRAQ has Money they can pay for this Reconstruction themself.

    What are we getting from IRAQ?

    IRAQ needs to give us free Oil of Security.....

    April 8, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  6. BUTCH

    STILL CANT BELIEVE HOW ANTI-AMERICAN SOCIALISTIC PIGS THE LIBERAL DEMOCRATS ARE... COUNTRY AT WAR AND ALL WE HEAR IS BASHING OF OUR MILITARY AND PRESIDENT.. THEY SHOULD ALL BE HELD FOR TREASON AND SENT OUT OF THIS NATION TO THE ONES THEY FEEL ARE SO MUCH BETTER.

    April 8, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  7. Peter

    With few exceptions, Petraeus and Crocker have been the only speakers with any honor and decency all day long. The strutting and posturing by most of the senators, but sadly by the Democratic Senators in particular especially Kennedy, Casey, and Biden, has been nauseating. I hope the troops are not watching this farce.

    Peter S.
    Georgia

    April 8, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  8. BUTCH

    BEING A LIFE LONG DEMOCRAT I CANT BELIEVE HOW MUCH DAMAGE THE LIBERAL WING OF OUR PARTY HAS DONE.. THEY HAVE NO PRIDE IN NOTHING BUT WHAT THEY CAN RAKE OUT OF THE AMERICAN WORKER

    April 8, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  9. CHERYL

    THE DIFFERENCE IS THAT HILLARY CAN GET IN THERE AND GET SOMETHING DONE!!!!
    OBAMA DOES A LOT OF TALKING AND NO ACTION!!!!

    WHAT HAS HE EVER DONE?

    HE HAS LIED AND CHEATED TO BE WHERE HE IS!!

    I FOR ONE OF MANY AM NOT FALLING FOR IT!!!!

    HILLARY LEADS IN THE POLLS!!!

    BECAUSE OF HER KNOWLEDGE AND GUTS!!!!!

    HILLARY WILL WIN THIS THING!!!!!!!

    April 8, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  10. Tyrone Harvey

    Hillary is a liar that would do anything and say anything to be President ! She wants the power the power that her husband had. Together they don't work. What did Hillary do when Bill let 74 Americans burn to death in WACO.She didn't care about those little children! Hillary was involve in Wal-Marrt as a Atty. Where was Hillary when there health insurance policy for the little children. Hillary tells a good story and sound very good. But for the last week or so she has been promoting McCain THE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE! STUPID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

    April 8, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  11. CHERYL

    HILLARY HAS MORE CAHOONA'S THAN ANY OF THESE SO CALLED MEN!!!!!

    AND MORE HONESTY!!!!!

    I BELIEVE THAT SHE WAS IN THE SENATE MEETINGS FOR EVERY VOTE!!!!!!

    GO HILLARY WE SUPPORT YOU IN MI AND FL!!!!!!

    April 8, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  12. E1944

    To Scott from Minneapolis
    " I wonder why B.O. was not at the hearing?"
    He is.

    April 8, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  13. Tyrone Harvey

    In two week there will be a boycot of Foxnews and any product that supported FoXNews Hannity must go!

    April 8, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  14. Nick - Arlington, VA

    Obama is making death threats? really? do you seriously believe the garbage you write?

    and im pretty sure that Afghanistan is not overlooked by Obama's committee, but a different one headed by John Kerry..

    April 8, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  15. rupert MI

    levin is very cozy with code pink. It would come as no surprise if he is one of the dems/communist supporters who provides access to hearings.
    If anyone has a picture of levin with the code pink loons, please post it.

    April 8, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  16. Ardnuas

    The Democrats did a GREAT job!!!!
    Obama/Edwards08 Si Se Puede

    April 8, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  17. kelly WI

    Since when did this become such a nation of whiners.?
    Must be the generation.

    April 8, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  18. Chris from Baltimore

    Iraqis have a right to live free from foreign occupation. After 5 years, it's obvious that they will fight to the death, even against the world's mightiest army, to defend their country and their families against foreign occupiers, just as anyone here would do if our government was overthrown and a puppet government was installed by the occupiers.

    Republicans can talk all they want about how their "surge" is somehow "working," but until the Iraqis are governing themselves, with leaders chosen by them–regardless of whether those leaders are "friendly" to the US or not–then bloodshed will continue to visit US forces in the Middle East, and possibly US citizens here at home as well.

    If that's what you want, by all means vote for Sen. McCain. Freedom can only be supressed temporarily...the Iraqis have proven that, as did the Afghanis before them.

    April 8, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  19. Danny

    He said that's he going pull out the troop from Iraq? I don't think so he not even show up and ask a question he's a real chicken huh. That's you going to be President of the United States? and that's why he support his former Rev. Wright preach about 9/11 huh.

    (DO NOT) try to be a chicken to ask a question if you want to be a President of the United States BHO.

    April 8, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  20. Penn State

    This may not get posted because CNN does not want you to know about this, but there is a march on media bias against Hillary Clinton and the suppression of voters on April 11th in New York. Its suppose to be huge!!!

    April 8, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  21. mike

    The biggest threat, according to the Iraqi envoy to the US, is that Iran will move in and take over Iraq. I'm reminded of a Rodney Dangerfield joke "Take my wife – Please". I say let Iran have Iraq.

    April 8, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  22. Pat

    For all of you uninformed folks out there, Obama was at the afternoon portion of the hearings on Iraq as a part of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Senators Clinton and McClain were in the morning portion. If you have time to blog, spend some time actually listing to the hearings and getting your facts straight.

    April 8, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  23. Ralph

    I hear Hillary was amzing with the detailed and pointed questions she asked, and yet, no one says what they learned by all her deep probing. Could that be, because she is good at sounding like she knows what she is talking, about, but your just focusing on the smoke and mirrors, instead of the deception (I think we can say lies now), complete lack of experience, and judgement that would would surely doom this nation? Hillary should pair up with someone like-minded, like McCain, who she seems to think would make a great president, and run against Obama. Then we can take down Hilaary and John in one clean sweep. Either way, Obama will be our next president and our nation will open its eyes to the truth about what he has to offer our nation.

    April 8, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  24. Willy

    levin. Have you seen what you liberals have done to the great state of Michigan and you sit there bashing republicans. Pricless!!!

    April 8, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  25. Wendy

    Obama sounded like a complete idiot when he was on the spot to answer questions. But what else is new. At least Hillary was able to ask intelligent questions and sound presidential while doing it.

    April 8, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
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