Iraq Study Group Takes Some Time Off

By Nitya

Nov 29, 2006 12:59pm

ABC News’ Z. Byron Wolf Reports: After three-and-a-half days of work at the Reagan Building in Washington, the Iraq Study Group, in the words of member Leon Panetta, is going to "take a couple of days off."

Panetta left the building with former Senator Alan Simpson (R-WY).

Today the group met in person with former Clinton NSC official Tony Lake and over the phone with former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski.

After his meeting, Lake told reporters it was a good meeting and the bipartisan group asked him good questions, which he tried to answer, but "there are no good answers."

The Republican co-chairman of the group, former Secretary of State James Baker, would not comment on the scope of today’s meeting or the fact that reaching consensus seems to be taking longer than initially expected. 

Baker would not say whether the group will have a report by the time former group member Robert Gates begins his confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill to replace Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense.

"Do you know how long we’ve been here?" Baker asked. "Since Sunday. And that’s only on this last trip."

"But this is the final trip, right," said one reporter.

"That’s what you said, not what I said," countered Baker.

On Monday, the group met with Sen. John Kerry about his plan to withdraw US troops next year. They also heard from Sen. John McCain about his plan to ramp up the number of US troops in Iraq.

On Tuesday, the group heard from former Secretaries of State George Schultz and Henry Kissinger via teleconference.

Simpson, who was wearing a hat and jacket as he left with Panetta said he wore a sweater today because the room in which the group was meeting was "as cold as Christian charity."

Simpson seemed to be talking about the temperature of the room and not the tenor.

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