From NBC's Mark Murray
Since the hearing on Gen. Petraeus' report began this afternoon, some of the Democratic presidential candidates have issued statements arguing that the so-called surge has failed. By comparison, the GOP candidates (with the exception of Giuliani) have released statements that criticize MoveOn's full-page ad in the New York Times -- but that don't explicitly touch on Petraeus' testimony.
See below for a sampling of the comments...
Obama: "Changing the definition of success to stay the course with the wrong policy is the wrong course for our troops and our national security. The time to end the surge and to start bringing our troops home is now - not six months from now. The Iraqi government is not achieving the political progress that was the stated purpose of the surge, and in key areas has gone backwards. Our military cannot sustain its current deployments without crippling our ability to respond to contingencies around the world. It's time for a change of direction that brings our troops home, applies real pressure on the Iraqis to act, surges our diplomacy, and addresses Iraq's urgent humanitarian crisis."
Richardson: "I am saddened, but not surprised, by the recommendations of General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker on Iraq. I do not question the integrity or competence of these gentlemen, but the strategy George Bush and Dick Cheney have asked them to execute has failed. The course General Petraeus has recommended we take-- more of the same-- is unacceptable, irresponsible, and dangerous.
A Dodd spokeswoman: "The fact that there are questions about General Petraeus' report is not surprising given that it was brought to you by this White House. In contrast, independent report after report indicates that the whack-a-mole strategy has made this the bloodiest summer of the war. And by the General's admission, the so-called surge has not achieved its goal of political progress. But even more fundamentally, debating the merits of a tactic when the strategy that underlies it is failed is nothing more than a distraction from the work that needs to be done to bring this war to a close."
McCain: "In today's New York Times, the anti-war group MoveOn.org launched a McCarthyite attack on an American patriot and our commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus. This is a man who has devoted his life in service to our nation and has defended America in many battles over many years. Now he is the target of a despicable attack in one our nation's most visible newspapers. No matter where you stand on the war, we should all agree on the character and decency of this exceptional American. I would hope that the Democratic Congressional leadership and Democratic presidential candidates would also join me in publicly condemning this kind of political attack ad and the organization responsible for it in the strongest terms possible."
Romney: "As many have noted this morning, MoveOn.org's latest outrageous act is an attempt to call into question the reputation and character of General Petraeus even before he testifies in front of Congress. As the Brookings Institution's Michael O'Hanlon writes today, "General Petraeus is a straight shooter." Like the men he commands, he is risking his life to protect our freedoms here at home. We should not prejudge him or his testimony, or give him anything less than the full respect he deserves."
Thompson: "MoveOn.org has today, in effect, said that the General leading our brave troops in Iraq is betraying his country. This is the group that funds the Democratic Party. I call upon the Democratic Party and all of the Democratic candidates for President to repudiate the libel of this patriotic American."
"Today, General Petraeus provided the first look at a strategy that is getting results and an Iraq that is making progress. This is only the beginning, which is why we need to continue to listen to the assessment of General Petraeus and others on the ground so we can decide the best course of action going forward."
Giuliani continued, "The Democrats and MoveOn.org are doing a disservice to Iraq's long-term future by jumping to political conclusions in advance of the General's report. These times call for statesmen, not political rhetoric."