(Updating with other candidates' reaction to Bush plan and new AP-IPSOS poll)
Count Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards among those who see little merit in President Bush's plan to escalate troop deployment in Iraq - also known by Tony Snow and the mainstream media parrots as a troop "surge."
Edwards has sent out an mass e-mail to supporters asking them to sign a petition to get Congress to refuse to provide funding for the troop increase.
"The situation in Iraq demands a political solution -- not an escalation of the war that our generals agree won't help," Edwards said the letter to supporters. "Escalating the war in Iraq sends the wrong message to the Iraqi people, to the region, and the world."
Taegen Goddard's Political Wire has a nice quick summary of the various 2008 presidential hopefuls and where they stand on Bush's escalation of the war.
All the Democrats are opposed and Tom Vilsack has called on Congress to block the extra funding needed to support the troop increase.
All the Republican hopefuls support Bush plan except for Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas.
Hotline On Call had a more comprehensive, some would say exhuastive, recap of the various candidates' comments:
Sen. Barack Obama: "I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse: I think it takes pressure off the Iraqis to arrive at the sort of political accommodation that every observer believes is the ultimate solution to the problems we face there" (MSNBC, 1/10.
Tom Vilsack: "It's obvious that the president has only been listening to advisers that agree with him. And I strongly disagree with folks who say this is a change of strategy, this is a new strategy. This is simply the same old strategy with just 20,000 more lives at risk" (Hannity & Colmes, FOX 1/10)
John Edwards: "What's happened is that the trust in the president has eroded. And America has to feel in their gut that whether he's right or wrong the president's telling the truth. And instead of all of the statistics and information that he had in his speech, he should have said, 'The situation is very bad in Iraq right now. We're doing the best we can with a difficult situation." (CNN, 1/10)
Sen. John McCain: "I've been calling for the increases, but I believe that this can succeed. I really do. I believe that it's not just an increase in troops: it's a change in strategy" (FOX, 1/10)
Rudy Giuliani: "You always have to make readjustments when you're at war, and we are at war. ... I think the president did the right thing tonight. And I think the important thing here -- the increase in troops, critical and important, but the most important thing is the change in strategy. (Hannity & Colmes, FOX 1/10)
Mike Huckabee : "I think we have to give the commander-in-chief an opportunity to make this succeed. You said people have said he's stubborn. That's a good quality in an executive. You don't want someone who changes the course of a military every time there's a new opinion poll" (Hannity & Colmes, FOX 1/10)
Newt Gingrich: "There was a humility in tonight's speech. A recognition that some of the things he most wanted had not happened. And that the plans were not working the way he'd hoped for. I thought this was a more contrite and more dedicated George W. Bush saying to the country this is hard problem but we have to get in it together. And I thought in that sense it was a strong speech." (Hannity & Colmes, FOX 1/10)
RASMUSSEN POLL SHOWS LITTLE SUPPORT FOR WAR ESCALATION
A poll released yesterday by Rasmussen Reports shows only 31% of Americans support escalating the war in Iraq by sending more troops, while 56% of those polled think we should be reducing troop levels.
The poll also shows that 78% of Americans think U.S. troops will still be in Iraq at the end of this year.
AP-IPSOS POLL OFFERS SIMILAR RESULTS
AP-Ipsos released results of a similar poll, with 70% of Americans saying they oppose sending more troops to Iraq and the same number saying they don't think the additonal troops will help.
The poll also indicates that just 35% of Americans now think going to war in Iraq was the right thing to do in the first place (a lowest-ever number on that question) and 60% think it is unlikely a stable, democratic government will be forged in Iraq.
Bush's overall approval rating in this poll was 32% - a new low in AP-Ipsos polling on Bush.