TRANSCRIPT: McCain: Obama's Plan Could 'Reverse' Iraq Progress

MCCAIN: Well, actually, Prime Minister Maliki and the others have always said it's condition-based. Senator Obama has said no conditions, just set a timetable for coming home. And the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest-ranking military officer, and General Petraeus have all said it has to be condition-based.

We'll reach an agreement with the Iraqis. They're interested in their national security. But it will be based on conditions on the ground.

MCCAIN: But the point is that we are responsible for our records. I was right; Senator Obama was wrong. So, therefore, I think that I have more credibility on what the future should be, as opposed to Senator Obama, who, if he would've had his way, we would be very likely be involved in a wider war today if we'd have done what he wanted to do.

WRIGHT: You yourself have said that we should leave when the Iraqis ask us to.


WRIGHT: Are we not nearing that point?

MCCAIN: No. No, we're not. They said we are going to negotiate. We are having good-faith negotiations with them. They have said it is also based on conditions on the ground.

Look, we have succeeded, but it's very fragile. Everybody understands that. Everybody understands that. And if we continue with withdrawals, which we will, because we have succeeded, but not according to a set time that Senator Obama wants, then we'll never have to go back.

If we do what Senator Obama wants to do, we will risk having to come back and risk a wider war and defeat in the first major war since 9/11. And that -- that could be -- have -- is fraught with consequences for the future of the United States of America's security.

WRIGHT: Before we leave the subject, because we have other things that we need to talk about...


WRIGHT: ... I want to give you an opportunity to correct something that you said yesterday.


WRIGHT: You suggested, in terms of the timeline of what happened in Iraq, the Anbar Awakening, when the Sunni tribal leaders turned on Al Qaeda...

MCCAIN: Sure. Sure.

WRIGHT: ... that that happened as a result of the surge, when really it happened about a year before.

MCCAIN: Actually, the surge is a strategy. And Colonel McFarland, who I briefed with in December of 2006, had already started employing that strategy, going into Ramadi, clearing, and holding. And some of the sheiks were asking for our protection. General Petraeus has said, without the additional brigades, then the Anbar Awakening wouldn't have succeeded.

It's very clear. It's more than having [ph] number of troops. It's a strategy. Colonel McFarland was employing that strategy. And that strategy was having some limited success, but it needed additional troops, which were then made available as a result of the increase in troops, which was part of the surge. Anybody that knows anything about Iraq and the situation knows that.

WRIGHT: Charlie Gibson sat down today with Senator Obama in Jerusalem and, as you can imagine, they talked a lot about the Middle East peace process. How would that initiative look different in a McCain administration than it would in an Obama administration?

MCCAIN: Well, I don't know -- again, as with many other cases, Senator Obama one day said he would have an undivided Jerusalem, and then said something else. So it's not clear to me what his policy is.

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