November 8th, 2007
05:05 PM ET
15 years ago

GOP Senate leader says Iraq war 'winding down'

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell insisted Thursday that the Iraq war is "winding down," one of the most positive statements yet by a congressional leader.

It comes as Democrats are launching another attempt at pulling combat troops out of Iraq. In response, McConnell told CNN Radio that Democrats are making a mistake.

"The war is winding down. Next year's election is going to be about this Congress and what it failed to do," McConnell said in his Capitol office.

The Kentucky senator pointed to recent newspaper reports of lower death tolls and insisted there will be "fewer and fewer troops in Iraq, fewer and fewer casualties, more and more ... return to normalcy."

He spoke to a handful of reporters on the same day House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a proposal to temporarily fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and set the goal of pulling U.S. combat troops out of Iraq in a year.

A similar bill passed Congress in May but was vetoed and killed. The latest effort could meet a similar fate as Democrats show no sign that they have gained the votes to override the president's block.

Republicans are salivating over the chance to make Democrats appear obsessed with a single topic.

"I think it's bad politics," McConnell said. " His thoughts echo points raised by other Republicans in and out of Congress as they launch a counteroffensive. But McConnell's assessment that the war is "winding down" was among the most positive.

At the same time, Democrats insist the war is a continued disaster.

"This is not working, it's a war without end," said Pelosi. "There is no light at the end of the tunnel. We must reverse it."

- CNN Radio's Lisa Desjardins

Filed under: Iraq • Mitch McConnell
soundoff (39 Responses)

    this is another example of what's wrong with congress. parttsan lines. 72% of the republicans approve of bush simply because he's republican and no other reason. 70 % of all american people (democrats, republicans and independents) disapprove. my money is on the american people and not the fat stuff shirt republican politicians. another reason to vote them out next year.

    November 9, 2007 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  2. JB Boston MA

    Not one comment!

    This is good news people, regardless of what side of the aisle you are on.

    Let's hope he is right!

    November 9, 2007 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  3. AJ; Montpelier, VT

    Who would believe anything that comes out of McConnell's mouth? He's a kook that needs to be locked away before he harms himself.

    November 9, 2007 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  4. Glenn,Birmingham,Al

    This seems to be true, It hurts the ones who wanted to rush out. It doesn't mean the middle east problem is solved, but it does help not having so much negative media attention on the U.S.! Until all of us in America stop using so much energy & change our life styles. Dependence on the oil will force out leaders to engage in wars & strong arm tactics over there.

    November 9, 2007 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  5. Sue in Michigan

    Is this guy living on Mars? The war is "winding down" but we would be making a mistake to pull troops. And if the election is about Congress, bye bye more Republicans, who until this week could not even find enough humanity to override one Bush veto. I'm hoping that Congress is growing some b...s, and that the last year of Bush's Presidency is filled with more overrides. It is the only way to return to the Constitution-he will not pass any legislation, obviously, that HE determines is not what he wants, and continues to thumb his nose at Americans and the world.

    November 9, 2007 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  6. roger, conway sc

    McConnell has spoken...I am sure that he is speaking with knowledge from his military badkground...what a wack job

    November 9, 2007 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  7. Jake, IA

    Democrats refuse to acknowledge any success in Iraq. It is clear they want us to lose. Unbelievable.

    November 9, 2007 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  8. Bubba, Swainsboro GA

    Nice to see Republicans admitting the Democrats have been right all along. He's lying about the war winding down, of course, but at least he knows what America wants to hear.

    November 9, 2007 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  9. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    This administration is way off track. Now they are waging the success of this war based on fewer U.S. soldier deaths? What about the argument of success being determined by democracy in Iraq. Bring our soldiers home.

    November 9, 2007 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  10. Sarah, Kansas City, MO

    Once the'surge' ends next spring the war will erupt anew. The insurgents/terrorists are laying low.

    You really have to wonder about the level of intelligence of the people of Kentucky to keep sending this prissy, idiot back to the senate every time he comes up for re-election.

    November 9, 2007 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  11. Rick, Chicago Illinois

    Jake, IA,

    "Democrats want us to fail so badly in Iraq. Unbelievable! Keep speaking Pelosi, each comment sounds more anti-american than the previous."

    Hey Jake ... the repubs have had EVERYTHING THEY'VE ASKED FOR to win this war thrown at their feet, and we're STILL over there in Iraq and Afghanistan ... fighting two wars vs third-world countries with 1/1000th the military might we have ... OVER 5 YEARS LATER!

    Rather than waste time complaining that the FACTS as Dubya and Co. have made them are "anti-american", just admit that all the big, TOUGH, patriotic chest-thumping you 26-percenters have done for the past 5 years has accomplished NOTHING.

    FACT: We're STILL there – cuz we HAVEN'T won!

    November 9, 2007 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  12. DJ , SC

    I CONTINUE TO SUPPORT OUR PRESIDENT 200%. It's REALLY sad to see so....many American people with a bad memory. I mean let's look back to 2001 and almost everyone was IN FAVOR of taking the battle to the middle east and keeping it off our land (USA). Sure bring everyone home like most want and WE WILL BE LOOKING AT WORLD WAR III and you can take that to the bank. If we stick our head in the sand and don't do anything or pay attention to what's going on in the terrorist countries they ALL WILL ACHIEVE NUKE ABILITY and have the means to launch nuke rockets at us WITHOUT EVER setting foot on our land. ***I GUESS THIS IS WHAT EVERYONE WANTS*** The terrorist are waiting to see if the American people are stupid enough to pull out of the middle east and let them have there way with us.

    November 9, 2007 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  13. GeorgeK, LA CA

    It may be winding down Mitch but unfortunately the darn thing still looks like an energizer bunny to me!

    November 9, 2007 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |

    democrats don't want us to lose in iraq, there's nothing to win. there has never been anything to win. this nut job says the war is winding down. then why does the bobble head in the whithouse need 200 billion dollars and no timetable for withdrawl? what an ignorant comment McConnell made. maybe he needs to go there and see for himself. there won't be any glorius victory in iraq and democracy won't last long. when it finally ends, bush will look stupid when one of the radical clerics moves in.

    November 10, 2007 04:53 am at 4:53 am |
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