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Reid Slams Bush Timetable in Iraq

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Friday criticized Bush administration resistance to an Iraqi proposal to have the bulk of U.S. troops out of the country by 2010 — the same year as has been proposed by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.).

The Associated Press reported Friday that U.S. and Iraqi negotiators are close to a deal to pull U.S. combat troops out of major Iraqi cities by June of next year, with a broader countrywide withdrawal to follow. According to the AP report, while the Iraqis would prefer the withdrawal to occur in 2010, the White House has insisted on extending the deadline until 2011.

Democrats criticized the insistence on extending the deadline, noting that the Iraqi proposal roughly corresponds to Obama’s plan.

In a statement released Friday, Reid said that it is “disturbing to read press reports that suggest that the Iraqis would prefer Senator Obama’s 2010 timeline, but the Bush Administration is insisting on a longer, 2011 timeline. Above all, the U.S. Congress must see the text of this agreement, which still has many unresolved issues, before we can make any final judgments on this agreement.”

As has become increasingly common this election year, Reid also sought to use the news of a potential breakthrough in talks against Senate Republicans and GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), accusing them of being out of touch. “That John McCain and Congressional Republicans continue to oppose this course shows just how out of touch they are with today’s challenges. Such a change in strategy, as Senator Obama and other Congressional Democrats have long advocated, is absolutely critical to restoring America’s strength, improving the situation in Afghanistan and returning to the hunt for Bin Laden,” Reid said.

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