Gibbs poses straightforward question on Iraq

GIBBS POSES STRAIGHTFORWARD QUESTION ON IRAQ…. The Republican line of the day seems to be that President Obama, when he was Senator Obama, opposed the surge strategy in Iraq — and as such, the end of combat operations doesn’t count as a success. Or something.

We talked last week about why this argument is misguided, even for the GOP, but the president’s team is going a step further, asking these same Republicans to answer a straightforward question.

The White House sought on Tuesday to put the pressure on top Republicans to say whether they support the withdrawal of 90,000 troops this month from Iraq.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs questioned GOP leaders — in particular, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) — to say where they stand on the change in mission in Iraq that resulted in the withdrawal of tens of thousands of U.S. troops from the country.

“I think what the American people would like to know with Congressman Boehner is: Do you support the withdrawing of 90,000 troops that the president is marking today?” Gibbs said Tuesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

On MSNBC, Gibbs added, “I think it’s going to be interesting to hear from Republican leaders on where they stand on the decision to bring 90,000 troops home from Iraq.”

It’s an interesting rhetorical ploy. As far as the GOP is concerned, there’s no such thing as good news — remember when they characterized the best monthly job totals in years as “disappointing“? — and giving credit to the president for anything positive is absurd on its face.

But is it that difficult for the president’s Republican detractors to at least be a little pleased when U.S. troops come home?

For his part, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is crediting Bush/Cheney, insisting that Obama’s success was made possible by “adopting the Bush administration’s plan.”

For anyone who takes reality seriously, it’s worth noting the facts. It was Barack Obama’s vision of a phased withdrawal that shaped the Status of Forces Agreement signed in 2008, and it was Barack Obama’s timetable that has brought the troop levels below 50,000 for the first time since the war began.

The GOP may not like it, but that’s what happened.