Washington (CNN)-Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain said he's no "starry-eyed idealist" when asked about his opinion on the conflict in Egypt and the role of the United States in the region by CNN's Chief National Correspondent John King.
On CNN's "John King USA," airing Thursday at 7 p.m. EST, he said "I'm not a starry-eyed idealist. I know the nature of war. I think I understand these issues and I understand the criticality, but for us to be on the side of governments that are oppressive and repressive in the long run can never benefit us and help us achieve our goals."
And according to the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, history proves that he was right about the troop surge in Iraq, despite what former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld may have written in his new book "Known and Unknown."
"I was over in Iraq to know that we were losing and American lives were being lost. There's nothing more important than that and I came back and we had literally pitch battles on the issue of a surge and he steadfastly opposed it.
"He didn't believe we needed additional troops. That was a huge bone of contention between myself and Secretary Rumsfeld and fortunately after the election of 2006 the president decided to replace him. We had the surge and we've achieved a significant degree of success in Iraq which we wouldn't have under Secretary Rumsfeld."
Of his campaign rival, President Obama, McCain revealed that they now have a "common interest" and "common values" that will help them work together. Specifically, McCain believes the two could cooperate on "enhanced rescission" and "once we get the border secure…immigration reform," along with "several other issues."
Every day we ask influential politicos to send us their top three bullet points that are driving the day's conversation inside and outside Washington.
Good day. Our attention remains largely focused on the crackdown in Egypt. A day after official security services and the military turned a blind eye to beatings of pro-democracy demonstrators, journalists are being targeted today. There are a lot of nuanced and difficult foreign policy questions at play here, and we should be mindful of that. But repression and brutality is ugly and sad. There is a lot of grumbling from other less-than-democratic governments in the region that the United States has been too tough on President Mubarak. Again, we could – and should – discuss and debate US policy, now and over the course of the past 50 years in the region. Oil and security often have trumped concerns for democratic and human rights. But at the moment, it is noteworthy that most of the veteran foreign policy voices in both political parties have come to the conclusion that the Mubarak regime needs to end soon – and sooner than the regime is signaling it is willing to consider.
On to today’s contributors: Erick and Mario, as always, make sharp points and in the process use their sharp wit. They disagree a lot, but without being disagreeable. We take it for granted that they can do so – every day. It’s a precious gift to be able to speak and debate freely. The Arab world, beginning in Egypt, could use more of it. Take care. – John King
Talk Show Host and Online Editor of MyLatinoNews.com Mario Solis-Marich:
– Up is Down: As people in Cairo fight to raise their level of freedom American conservatives accuse Obama of "bringing down Egypt".
– Weak is Strong: Finished with their amazing and courageous vote to repeal heath care reform the GOP House will now focus on softening the definition of rape.
– Left is Right: Former DNC Chair Howard Dean speaks out for immigration reform and the DREAM Act, why the silence from the current DNC Chair Tim Kaine?
RedState.Com Editor Erick-Woods Erickson:
– Snow stays around. The global warming crowd is going to have more PR problems.
– On election night 2010, I said foreign affairs would be a bigger issue in 2012 than more people thought. I stand by that.
– Biggest political book of the year: get ready for Donald Rumsfeld.