NBC's David Gregory: Maliki 'Refutes' Notion of Obama 'Naivete'

July 22nd, 2008 4:45 PM
NBC's David Gregory, substitute-hosting on Tuesday's "Today" show, argued with Rudy Giuliani that any notion of Barack Obama's foreign policy naivete has been refuted by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki. Gregory contended that Maliki's suggestion of a U.S. troop withdrawal by 2010 "validated" Obama's position. Giuliani scoffed that Democratic presidential nominee wouldn't have even been able to visit with the Prime Minister in Iraq, if it weren't for the surge that the Obama opposed.

The following exchanged occurred on the July 22, Today show:

DAVID GREGORY: Let me turn to Iraq this morning. A lot of news. Senator Obama's trip. And he said late last night that if he had it to do over again he would not support the troop surge in Iraq. McCain has already been critical about that. What do you think that should say to voters about his view of the war and his judgment?

GIULIANI: I don't, I don't understand, I don't understand what Senator Obama was saying. I mean he, he, he goes to Iraq to go on a fact-finding mission and the facts that he finds are that violence is down 70/80 percent. That everyone believes, particularly the military commanders he's talking to, that it was a great success. The only reason that Al-Maliki is talking about a possible withdrawal in 2010 is because the surge has worked. Couldn't possibly be talking about something like that. And we don't know if it'll happen or not depending on the facts on the ground. So I think it either indicates that Senator Obama is not on a fact finding mission because the facts don't seem to affect him or Senator Obama has a stubbornness of wanting to stick to his political position, which now turns out to be incorrect. The position he took a year ago, to oppose the surge, would have left us with a great loss and a Middle East in chaos right now. The position that was the correct one, that turned out historically to be correct is the position that we should have done the surge.

GREGORY: Alright but, but let's take on this argument a little bit because, Mr. Mayor, as you know Senator McCain has effectively chalked up Obama's position on Iraq to naiveté, that he's effectively called for surrender. And yet by sticking to the idea of a 16-month phased withdrawal from Iraq, that has ultimately been validated by the Iraqi prime minister, hasn't that effectively refuted that argument?

GIULIANI: Of course not. You wouldn't be there if the surge didn't work. The, you, unless you wanted to pull out the troops in the midst of chaos. Unless he wanted to create civil war in Iraq. These are the facts-


GIULIANI: -that Senator Obama ignored a year ago. It now turns out that had you had not the surge either we would be in a much worse situation in Iraq or as the Democrats and Harry Reid and Obama wanted to do, we would've declared that we had lost and pulled out.