Sheldon Whitehouse Changes his Mind on Iraq Deadline for Fear of Potential “Reporter Questions”
Apparently, Sheldon Whitehouse doesn’t want to be bothered by the press questioning him too closely on such substantive issues as the War in Iraq. So much so, that he’s decided to drop his call for a deadline to withdraw the troops “because a reporter would question him about it if such a date passed without a troop withdrawal.” What?
To summarize the story in today’s ProJo, Sheldon Whitehouse opposes the Iraq War and opposed “firm deadlines for troop withdrawal” last November but then changed his mind (when it looked like then-Dem primary opponent Matt Brown was gaining traction) and declared “that all the U.S. troops should withdraw by the end of this year” in the Spring of 2006. This put him on the radical left-wing side of the argument, setting him “apart from Chafee and the majority of Senate Democrats — including [Senator Jack] Reed.” In mid-June, Whitehouse said he would have supported Sen. John Kerry’s proposal to withdraw troops from Iraq by mid-2007, but he still preferred the December 2006 deadline. He also said he would have supported Senator Reed’s “nonbinding resolution” calling for a timetable to withdraw some troops by years end, though he preferred Kerry’s (by then) defeated proposal. And now:
Whitehouse has since moved back toward the political center on the war issue, dropping his call for a specific deadline for pulling out the troops. In television and newspaper interviews over the last two weeks, Whitehouse has said military leaders should set the pace for a pullout, with “troop safety” as the key factor in their decision.
Whitehouse said in an interview last week that he held the same position before and after Brown’s departure from the race: a call for a “rapid and responsible” withdrawal that would open the door to diplomatic solutions to the conflict.
It was “the march of time” that changed his December pullout deadline, according to Whitehouse. Whitehouse said he does not now seek a new, later deadline, because a reporter would question him about it if such a date passed without a troop withdrawal.
That’s a good reason to change your mind….so a reporter won’t ask you about it. That’s leadership.