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RUSH: I don’t think Obama has gotten his turn yet with General Petraeus at the Senate committee today. But this morning on the Today Show, cohost Meredith Vieira talked to Obama, and she asked, ‘What’s the key question, Senator Obama, you want answered today? Number one question you’re going to ask General Petraeus.’

OBAMA: Well, I think the most important issue is still the one that was asked in September, which is: How has this war made us safer, and at what point do we know that there’s success so we can start bringing our troops home?

RUSH: Well, that’s a brilliant question. Carl Levin has already laid down the gauntlet, thrown down the gauntlet. Carl Levin said in the hearings today that the Maliki government, the Iraqi government better start meeting these benchmarks, and they better start being able to pay their own way over there, because they gotta do that quick. Of course he will not say that to his own constituents. He will not say that to Democrat voters who are wallowing away in the misery of entitlement. He will not demand they start meeting personal benchmarks. He will not demand that they start paying their own way, but here he will do so of the government. This pretty lame question: ‘How has this war made us safer?’ I don’t know that that even comes under General Petraeus’ purview. Senator Obama, let me take a stab at it. Have we been attacked since 9/11 on this country, Sir? Had we not responded, Sir, can you guarantee us that the same zero attacks would have occurred since 9/11 of 2001? Meredith Vieira then said, ‘So how can you guarantee that you can pull out those troops in just 16 months?’

OBAMA: We are going to set a timetable, and we will have a prudent pace of withdrawal, one to two brigades per month. At that pace we can have combat troops out within approximately 16 months. That will be about two years from now, Meredith, which means that this war will have lasted seven years.

RUSH: Irresponsible answer. It’s a totally irresponsible answer, because he doesn’t know what he’s going to face in January of next year. He has no idea what the situation on the ground is going to be and he has no idea what his commanders are going to tell him. One more here before we go to the break. Meredith Vieira said to him, ‘Frank Rich wrote, ‘Really, Barack Obama and Hillary should be ashamed of themselves for libeling McCain. In fact, Senator McCain never said he wanted 100 more years of war. He just felt American troops should be a long-term presence the way they are in Japan and South Korea.’ So Senator Obama, are you willing to admit that you have distorted his statements?’

OBAMA: That’s just not accurate, Meredith. We can pull up the quotes on YouTube. What John McCain was saying was that he is happy to have a potential long-term occupation in Iraq. ‘Happy’ may be overstating it. He is willing to have a long-term operation in Iraq, as long as a hundred years. In fact, he said 10,000 years. However long it took. That was his argument.

RUSH: This is a sitting duck for McCain. You know, we hear talk about how smart Obama is and so forth. He’s very, very dumb the way he’s dealing with this, ’cause there’s nobody — nobody — who thinks McCain said that he wants to stay in declared hostilities, with war going on, for a hundred years. He did not say that.

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