November 29th, 2009
02:28 PM ET
13 years ago

State of the Union: John King's Crib Sheet for November 29

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="In his Crib Sheet, CNN's John King looks back at Sunday's talk shows and ahead to the topics that will be making news this week."]
A feisty Sunday back and forth over what should come next in Afghanistan offered the White House a clear preview of the battle lines as President Obama prepared to ask Congress – and the American people – to support a significant escalation of the U.S. military presence there.

Democrats said one critical test was showing how more troops now would ultimately mean a credible plan to bring most troops home. Or, as Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island put it: “He has to make a speech that shows all of our efforts are pointed to a reduced presence in Afghanistan.”

But Republicans ready to support sending upwards of 30,000 more troops warned Mr. Obama would look weak if he emphasized an exit strategy over defeating the Al Qaeda and Taliban enemy. Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona sounded that note: “All this talk about an exit strategy is really dangerous. It tells the Taliban to lay low until we leave.”

Sound familiar?

It was at times eerie as some of the debate tracked previous political arguments about the Iraq surge, or whether a firm timetable was necessary to make clear when the war would end.

Paying for the escalation was another flashpoint, with one Republican going as far as saying the White House should set the health care debate aside until next year, and focus in the meantime on paying for overseas military deployments and creating jobs here at home.

No thanks, was the Democratic response.

A scene setter there, now let’s get to the Sound of Sunday.

Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“He has to make a speech that shows all of our efforts are pointed to our reduced presence in Afghanistan. But I think he has to also indicate again and again how critical this is to our national security.”

Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“The key element here is not just more troops, the key element is shifting the operations to the Afghanis, and if that can be done then I would support the president.”

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“For the moment, we don't have a reliable partner, and that is a question clearly of the building process, if the training occurs, will the government really take hold? We don't know frankly.”

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“The president needs to start by outlining the war we're in, by that I mean the war not against the Taliban, Al Qaeda but what is, at least, the objective of continuing in Afghanistan or in any place.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on ABC’s “This Week”
“We'll be evaluated by some pretty tough characters in the world as to how we handle Afghanistan. This is not just any place on the planet. This is the place where the Taliban took control after the Russians left, aligned themselves with Al Qaeda and attacked this nation and killed three thousand Americans. And I hope the president will tell the world, our troops and anybody listening Tuesday that will never happen again with this new surge of forces.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on ABC’s “This Week”
“From my point of view the president is correct in assessing that Afghanistan is a war that must be won because the national security implications of what happens in Afghanistan will follow this country for decades so I intend to support the president.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on ABC’s “This Week”

“I've got real problems expanding this war, where the rest of the world is sitting around and saying isn't it a nice thing that the taxpayers of the united states and the U.S. military are doing the work that the rest of the world should be doing. So what I want to see is some real international cooperation, not just from Europe but from Russia and China.”

Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) on “Fox News Sunday”
“I think the president and the secretary of defense have to show deference to the generals' recommendations, but these are recommendations, they're not the 10 commandments after all, Chris. You'll remember General Westmoreland in Vietnam wanted more troops at the end. I think, wasn't it General McArthur in Korea wanted to drop nuclear weapons on China. You don't always go with the recommendations of the battlefield commander. You take them into account and then make the appropriate decision.”

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) on FOX’s “Fox News Sunday”
“You cannot signal that they are going to be doing their part but then as soon as it's inconvenient for us to stay, we begin to leave because that's exactly what we've done in the past, it's exactly what they fear. I talked to a bunch of tribal leaders in Kandahar. That's what they feared. They want to make sure the job is done before we leave. That's why all this talk about an exit strategy is really dangerous. It tells the Taliban to lay low until we leave. It does not encourage the Europeans for example or our other NATO allies that this is a cause worth sending troops to support.”

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“The president is in a moment in which he really has to regain the approval of the American people, as well as the approval o f the world, that we are on the right course. This is why this speech and the plan is so important.”

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“The war is terribly important, jobs in our economy are terribly important, so this may be an audacious suggestion, but I would suggest we put aside the health care debate until next year, the same way we put cap and trade and climate change, and talk now about the essentials. The war and money.”

Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) on CNN’s “State of the Union
“Absolutely not. I think we're in the midst of probably the most significant debate and conclusion with legislation that we've ever had, and the health care debate is essential to our economic future.”

Rep. David Obey (D-WI) on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“In this war we have not had any sense of shared sacrifice. The only people being asked to sacrifice are military families. They've had to go to the well again and again and again. Yet everybody else in society, you know, they're essentially told to go shopping by the previous president. I just think that if this war is important enough to engage in long term it's important enough to pay for.”

Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) on CBS’ “Face the Nation”
“In the middle of a recession, we're probably not going to be able to increase taxes to pay for it. There should have been, as far as I'm concerned, tax increases long ago on upper bracket folks who did so well during the Bush years, that's where the tax increases should have taken place. But that should have happened some time ago. But in the middle of this recession I don't think you're going to be able, successfully or fairly, to add a tax burden to middle income people.”

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“The American people will not sustain a war in Afghanistan for five years or ten years in my judgment.”

Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren on NBC’s “Meet the Press”
“My fear is that America will go to one of two extremes: one is to move toward the extreme of fearing anybody who's called a Muslim. And the other extreme is the fear of going to political correctness that won't admit that there are some religious motivated killings out there. Al Qaeda no more represents Islam than the Ku Klux Klan represents Christianity.”

Special Middle East Envoy Tony Blair on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“There is real potential and hope but the next month, I think, will be completely critical, fundamental to this because if we can't get negotiations going that are credible, then the vacuum that is created will suit no one by the extremists.”

Special Middle East Envoy Tony Blair on CNN’s “State of the Union” on his Iraq war decision
“One of the things you learn as a leader in a country is that you have the responsibility to take decisions. Some of those decisions are difficult decisions and some of them are very controversial. And what happens as your time in leadership goes on, and I spent 10 years as UK Prime Minister, is that these controversies sometimes they can be very bitter, very difficult. That's a part of being a leader. And I think it was one of your presidents that once said if you can't stand the heat don't come into the kitchen, and that's my view of politics. So, I take decisions, I stand by them.”

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and the week ahead,
John King

Filed under: Afghanistan • Popular Posts • State of the Union
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. B

    We now face TWO unpaid for wars that Bush thought were for free and add what they are trying to continue.

    It is a recipe for disaster for the President.

    November 29, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  2. W l Jones

    It is best to stay in front of a snake rather than try to out flank it there by put yourself in more danger. Enough said.

    November 29, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  3. HUGO

    Hmmmm, What happens if while we send 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, Israel decides to quit wasting time with the UN and takes care of Iran setting of a war with every Muslim country that surrounds them? I feel so safe and warm at night knowing that the UN will be right there to protect our servicemen.....

    November 29, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    Pkm i was talking to a womem who told me remember 9ii we have to win the war in afghanistan i told her if george bush sent troops to afghanistan and hunt down and capture the killers in stead of getting 4000 of are military personal get killed in irac we might have been out of afianistan vietnam veteran

    November 29, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |