From NBC's Mike Viqueira
The political dissonance surrounding the Petraeus-Crocker testimony was on display this afternoon during simultaneous press conferences by Democratic and Republican leaders.
Hours after landing in Baghdad, House Republican leader John Boehner and fellow travelers convened an intercontinental conference call with homebound American reporters. At literally the same moment, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid and colleagues came before cameras in the U.S. Capitol. Their interpretations of the situation in Iraq were wildly divergent, and though unaware of what the other was saying, they took turns contradicting each other in real time.
- Reid: "Every objective assessment says that the surge has failed to get political reconciliation....it is neither a drawdown nor a change in mission."
- Rep. Peter King: "The consensus" from the American military and diplomatic sources they have met with in the last hours is that "Petraeus is on target."
- Sen. Jack Reed: "The surge has not succeeded."
- Boehner: "What we have seen in Anbar is beginning to spread to other provinces close to Baghdad."
- Reid: "Of course it can be changed there (Anbar). But it's like a big balloon. Squeeze it one place and it comes out someplace else...the situation on the ground has not changed in Iraq."
- Peter King: "Political progress is being made from the ground up."
- Reid: Saying that the mission is "almost there...is just a little bit short of ridiculous."
- Boehner: What Petraeus has told us is "reasonable, responsible, and achievable"...Democrats have "invested all their political capital in failure in Iraq...I think they have no place to go."
- Sen. Carl Levin: The stated purpose of the surge was to give the Iraqi political process "breathing room." But, interpreting the testimony, "Petraeus says that it has not been accomplished."