Had history turned out otherwise on November 4, 2008, the approach to the economic recovery might be radically different.
But, in an indication of how drastically the debate has shifted in the last few years, Iraq war policy would be roughly the same.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), President Obama's campaign opponent, went to the White House Thursday for a briefing on the president's plan for a timetable for a troop drawdown in Iraq. Before heading down Pennsylvania Avenue, he said he was already largely on board.
McCain said he would not be advising the White House as to what he thought was the best plan, but rather hearing them out.
"They're going to present us their recommendations. It's their plan," he said. "From what I know about it, I agree with it."
For McCain, the plan has virtue because it is backed by the generals and the ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker. "I like it best because it's what Ambassador Crocker and General [Raymond] Odierno and General [David] Petraeus also felt was a suitable strategy," said McCain.
That puts Obama and McCain in one camp and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who supports a smaller residual force, in another. Obama has suggested some 50,000 troops might remain in Iraq; Pelosi has said she hopes to see something in the range of 15,000.
The Huffington Post asked McCain, if he had been elected president, whether he would have implemented roughly the same plan that Obama intends to carry out in Iraq.
"Oh, I'm sure," he said, "because that's what our military and civilian leadership has recommended. I can't say exactly, but certainly it seems to me it's a viable strategy."
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