An Unconventional Conversation With Crooks And Liars John Amato (VIDEO)

05/25/2011 12:40 pm ET

Far from the convention, news continues to shape the ongoing debate. And the word that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki was, once again, calling for a firm timetable for Iraq withdrawal was one non-convention topic on everyone's mind today.

Al Maliki, who made the statements to tribal leaders in the Green Zone, reportedly stated, "There is actually an agreement concluded between the two parties over the definite date, which is 2011, to end any foreign presence on Iraqi soil."

This was disputed by Bush administration mouthpiece Tony Fratto. "We're optimistic that Iraq and the US can reach a mutual agreement on flexible goals for US troops to continue to return on success -- based on conditions on the ground -- and allow Iraqi forces to provide security for a sovereign Iraq," he said.

I had the opportunity to dig into the matter of Al Maliki's with John Amato from Crooks and Liars, who brought the hard talk.