Some progressive House Democrats were quoted criticizing President Obama's approach to Afghanistan and Iraq on Thursday, and perhaps not surprisingly, Republicans in Congress jumped all over it.
"Folks -- just wanted to make sure you didn't miss this story in this morning's Wall Street Journal," wrote a GOP leadership aide in a morning email blast to reporters. The aide highlighted what is by far the most damning quote: Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) calling Obama's war plan "embarrassingly naïve."
It would make for a sharp political attack if it weren't for the fact that GOP leadership in the House actually supports Obama's plans. Take for example, this quote from Minority Leader John Boehner just two weeks ago:
"The challenge of bringing stability to Afghanistan is enormously complex, but our efforts to defeat Al Qaeda and the Taliban are vital to the security of the American people. I support the strategy the President unveiled today because it reflects the advice of our commanders on the ground. I hope he will continue to honor their counsel because we should not allow political considerations here at home to trump the importance of achieving success in the region. Moving forward, we must ensure this strategy is implemented in a manner that is both flexible and reflective of the situation on the ground, and we must aggressively monitor its progress."
Or how about this one from Minority Whip Eric Cantor, who wrote in the Washington Times yesterday: "The GOP has the obligation to be the honest opposition. When we believe the president is correct -- for example, in his handling of Iraq policy -- we will stand with him."
Then there is the 2008 Republican presidential candidate, John McCain, who has endorsed the approach the administration has taken to both Iraq and Afghanistan.
So, if the two highest-ranking Republicans in the House, as well as the Republican presidential candidate from the last cycle, all support components of the president's foreign policy, why would aides to these very leaders be highlighting quotes calling that policy naive? Would that not also be an indictment of their judgment on Iraq and Afghanistan?
"The point of emailing this around is to highlight the divisions President Obama will face within his own party, which -- in my opinion -- is a woefully under-covered story thus far," explained the aide behind the email.
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