Obama's War on Two Fronts: Health Care and Afghanistan

McCain thinks otherwise. After returning from visiting Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan this month, he called for the doubling of Marines in the south region of Helmand, the world's largest opium-poppy growing region.

Obama has made clear his plans to begin a drawdown of forces in Iraq and to shift resources to Afghanistan by sending 17,000 troops by the end of the year.

McCain Defends Former Running Mate on 'Death Panels'

During the interview, McCain also sided with his former running mate, defending ex-vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's claim that the health care reform bill would create "death panels" to encourage euthanasia.

McCain repeatedly argued that the bill would create boards to decide the most effective measures to provide health care for people.

"Doesn't that lead to a possibility, at least opens the door to a possibility of rationing and decisions ... such are made in other countries?" McCain asked host George Stephanopoulos.

Though every single independent group that has looked at the issues has said such an interpretation wasn't true, McCain responded, "Well, then, why did the Democrats turn down our amendments?"

So is Sarah Palin right?

"Look, I don't think they were called death panels, don't get me wrong," McCain said. "But on the best treatment procedures part of the bill, it does open it up to decisions being made as far -- that should be left -- those choices left to the patient and the individual."

Health Care's Legacy: Sen. Ted Kennedy

On a more personal level, McCain said publicly what many have been saying privately -- that there's a noticeable difference in the health care debate on Capitol Hill with the absence of Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass.

"No person in that institution is indispensable, but Ted Kennedy comes as close to being indispensable as any individual I've ever known in the Senate because he had a unique way of sitting down with the parties at a table and making the right concessions, which really are the essence of successful negotiations. So it's huge that he's absent, not only because of my personal affection for him, but because I think the health care reform might be in a very different place today."

McCain urged the president to begin his own bipartisan negotiations under one condition -- that he drop his push for a so-called "public option."

"I think he'd have to abandon the public option," McCain said, "and that I think is what a lot of Americans now are concerned about."

Roundtable: 'Are We Out of the Woods?'

It was a spirited debate this week on the roundtable during discussions on the politics of the week.

Returning to the roundtable was ABC News contributor George Will, along with former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum. Joining them was Nobel Prize-winning economist and ABC contributor Paul Krugman and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich. They discussed health care reform, the economy and the war in Afghanistan.

The roundtable first kicked off with a question on where the health care debate stands right now. Should Obama start fresh, invite Republicans and Democrats into the Oval Office, and write up a new bill?

Will's take on Obama's handling of the debate on health care reform was that his messaging has been "ubiquitous and often shrill."

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