[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/08/art.levin.gi.jpg caption="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