ABC reported McCain supports "surge," despite his call for "sustained" increase


During a report on the January 14 edition of ABC World News Sunday about the potential 2008 presidential candidates' positions on Iraq, ABC News correspondent Laura Marquez joined other media in characterizing President Bush's call for more troops a "surge" when she reported that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is "an outspoken supporter of the troop surge" in Iraq. As Media Matters for America has noted, the administration has given no indication that the troop increase will be temporary, as is suggested by the term "surge" -- and indeed, earlier that morning, Fox News Sunday aired an interview with Vice President Dick Cheney, who said that the troop increase would be "for the foreseeable future." Moreover, as Media Matters for America has noted, McCain himself has suggested that the troop increase in Iraq should be "sustained" and not temporary.

In a January 13 article on McCain's Iraq war position(s), The Washington Post noted that during a discussion at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, McCain referred to the troop increase in Iraq as a "surge" and said that for it "[t]o be of value, the surge must be substantial and it must be sustained."

As Media Matters for America repeatedly documented, on the January 5 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider noted that the words "surge" and "escalation" imply different time frames: " '[S]urge' sounds temporary. ... 'Escalation' sounds long-term." Therefore, by accepting "surge" as an appropriate label for the troop increase, media outlets have suggested that Bush's proposal will be short-term, despite no indication that this is the case. In addition, Media Matters noted that ABC Good Morning America co-hosts Diane Sawyer and Chris Cuomo have called the plan a "surge."

From the January 14 edition of ABC World News Sunday:

MARQUEZ: The top Republican contenders are also staking out their positions on the war. But no potential candidate has tied his political fortunes more closely to the war in Iraq than Senator John McCain, an outspoken supporter of the troop surge.

McCAIN: I have presidential ambitions and they pale in comparison to what I think to what is most important to our nation's security.

MARQUEZ: If the surge fails, many political analysts say so, too, will McCain's presidential bid.

STU ROTHENBERG (editor and publisher, The Rothenberg Political Report): Republicans and Democrats are both referring to "McCain's war," and if the war goes south -- further south from now on, I think he'll take more criticism.

MARQUEZ: The surge has divided the other GOP candidates. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani support it. Senators Chuck Hagel and Sam Brownback do not. The discourse will only grow louder as the war escalates and the race heats up. Laura Marquez, ABC News, Washington.

From the January 14 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday:

WALLACE: Let's start with the president's speech this week in which he said that U.S. forces in Iraq -- and let's put it up on the screen -- "are engaged in a struggle that will determine" -- his word -- "determine the direction of the global war on terror and our safety here at home." If you and the president really believe that, why not send even more troops into Iraq? And why depend on the Iraqi army and government, which have failed us again and again? Why not say, "This is a U.S. war, and we will do whatever it takes to win"?

CHENEY: Well, in effect, we have said that. And we are putting in the force we think is what's required to do the job. It's based on the best military advice we can get. It can't be just a U.S. show, in the sense that ultimately the Iraqis are going to have to be responsible for defending Iraq, for governing themselves. That's always been our ultimate objective, and that hasn't changed.

But it's clear, based on recent developments, that they need help, that we can provide that help by putting additional forces in for the foreseeable future, and work in conjunction with the Iraqis.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, War in Iraq
Laura Marquez
ABC World News Tonight
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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