Former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., now a declared candidate for president in 2008, said in an exclusive interview with George Stephanopoulos set to air Sunday on ABC News' "This Week," that he expects Iraq will be one of the critical issues in upcoming campaign.
Edwards told Stephanopoulos that he opposes the idea of surging troops in Iraq in 2007 and called plans to escalate the war the "McCain doctrine" -- naming it after the undeclared, possible Republican presidential front runner, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
George Stephanopoulos: How central do you think Iraq is going to be by the time the voting takes place next year and, more importantly, in 2008?
John Edwards: I don't think it's knowable for certain, but I expect it's still going to be a critical issue.
Stephanopoulos: The key issue?
Edwards: Could be, could be. It depends, obviously, on what happens in the next two years, but it could be.
Stephanopoulos: It doesn't appear that President Bush is going to take your advice.
Stephanopoulos: Just based on the last four years…
Edwards: No, he never has and he's continuing on the wrong course.
Stephanopoulos: And that likely means that the next president, like you say, we can't know for sure, but the next president is still going to be dealing with a substantial number of American troops in Iraq, perhaps for many years.
Edwards: Yes, and, hopefully, the next president will understand that what we've been doing is not working. And I actually, myself, believe that this idea of surging troops, escalating the war, what Sen. McCain has been talking about, what I would call now the McCain doctrine, it's--
Stephanopoulos: McCain doctrine.
Edwards: McCain doctrine. He's been the most prominent spokesperson for this for some time.
Stephanopoulos: The general election is starting early.
Edwards: I'm just telling you it's his thing, and I know John McCain very well; he and I are friends, but I think he's dead wrong about this.