March 31st, 2008
04:59 PM ET

Iraq on the campaign trail

Iraqi Madhi army militiamen dance as they stand near a burning Iraqi army vehicle after attacking it on March 30, 2008 in the city of Basra. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Iraq is back in the headlines and making its way back into the discussion on the campaign trail. A recent surge of violence in Baghdad and the southern city of Basra has revived the political debate over the war.

According to Iraqi officials, at least two hundred people were killed and another five hundred wounded just in Basra fighting since Tuesday. More than 100 were reported killed in Baghdad as of Sunday. This was the result of a U.S.-supported Iraqi effort to rid Shiite militias from the southern city of Basra.

The radical Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr called a truce yesterday between his Mahdi Army and Iraqi security forces. He wants concessions from the Iraqi government in return. And a curfew imposed by the government as a result of the fighting has been lifted for now. But the fighting could resume at any moment.

And the overriding question remains–is the surge in Iraq working? John McCain, who has staked his political fortunes on his support for the troop surge in Iraq, insists it is. He argues the recent uptick in violence is proof of the dangers of an early withdrawal of troops.

Senator Obama says the surge has decreased violence levels, but has not resolved the underlying tensions that exist in Iraq.

And Hillary Clinton says keeping U.S. troops in Iraq is a clear admission that the surge has failed.

Who is right?

Here’s my question to you: How will the recent violence in Iraq affect the campaigns of the presidential candidates?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Paulette from Dallas, PA writes:
The surge temporarily quiets the violence but then it starts all over again. The U.S. is some place it is not welcome during a time that the country wants to engage in a civil war. They don't want political negotiations they want to have at each other. They will do this if the U.S. pulls out right now or if they wait 100 years. Let them get it over with and bring our military back home to their families.

Art from Nokomis, Florida writes:
If the current increase in violence continues to escalate in Iraq, John McCain might as well go home to Arizona and take up golf. He might, however, still have a slight chance of beating either Mr. Can't-Do- Any-Wrong or Mrs. Evil. If he starts giving the public some real straight talk about Iraq instead of echoing the Bush administration's talking points. Iraq is not and never was the central front of Islamic terrorism. It is a civil war precipitated by the current administration's zeal to rush to war. Unfortunately, it's going to continue until one faction wins, regardless of what we do or how long we remain there.

Alan from Buxton, Maine writes:
It will probably have little or no effect. No one running seems to understand that the results will be the same if we are in Iraq for another year or another 50 years. There will be a bloodbath in either event. Bush set things in motion of which he and most of his advisers had no understanding. The ones who did were dismissed and ignored. The war was a mistake, is a mistake and will continue to be a mistake no matter what we do.

Kab writes:
Bad news from Iraq means bad news for McCain. No matter how much he tries to distance himself from Iraq war- Democrats are going to play his now unpopular "100 years war in Iraq" again and again.

Filed under: 2008 Election • Iraq
soundoff (116 Responses)
  1. Mary Heydenburg

    Jack, If we got the truth about Iraq on the nightly news I could answer that question. Since all we get is corporate propaganda why ask? Mary H.

    March 31, 2008 at 2:06 pm |
  2. Allan,Cameron Park, Ca.

    It is only one of the reasons to vote for Bill & Hillary. The whole economy mess is tied to Iraq, Gas prices. The housing mess they are all entwined.

    March 31, 2008 at 2:06 pm |
  3. Diane, Barneveld, NY

    It might swing McCain's attack on Iran by a week or two, otherwise, its just an "I told you so." for the other candidates.

    March 31, 2008 at 2:07 pm |
  4. Jim Galvin

    It's impossible to know what events will affect the campaign.
    There are many world changing events about to unfold in the forthcoming months and they will all affect the political campaigns as well as our daily lives.

    March 31, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  5. Brian


    We all know this is going to come down to the economy for voters, but because Obama is intensely anti-Iraq war and McCain is fine with 100 years of military occupation, the candidates are going to force the war into the theme of the election, even if the voters are more interested in hearing about the economy. This is going to come down to VP choices – they both need a strong economic VP to stay on-point with the economy while they tout their respective antiwar/war messages.

    Moscow, Idaho

    March 31, 2008 at 2:09 pm |
  6. Mike S., New Orleans

    At least half of the voters are the neo- conservatives that gave us George W. Bush Jr. So if there's new violence in Iraq, they say "See, the surge is working." If things quiet down in Iraq, they say "See, the surge is working." So for those people blinded by the right, nothing about the Iraq situation will ever dampen their arrogance. I call it the Bush syndrome.

    March 31, 2008 at 2:09 pm |
  7. Joe in DE

    It will temporarily cast doubt on the claim that progress in being made. In the long term, it will mean little. A lot depends on what happens between now & the election.

    If I were an Iraqi that wanted the US out, I would cause as much troblle as possible before the eelection. I I were a terrorist that wanted to hurt the US in the way that requires least effort, I keep the peac until after the election, we are paying thru the nose with lives & money. The armed forces are strched so that we cannot deal militarily with a new challenge and the cost is running us..

    March 31, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  8. April in texas

    Well Jack, It would depend on how they address it. I wouldnt have voted for the war so to speak but I would have supported going in and doing what needed to be done then getting out quickly. I sadly dont think the US can teach their country new tricks so to speak such as forming a government. Look at our own government at the moment and people expect us to teach them? Well we have the going into debt and a messed up economy. Would you want to learn how to do that?

    Austin Texas

    March 31, 2008 at 2:13 pm |
  9. Greg, Hamilton Ontario

    Simple , Billary will say "see more dead and wounded, that's why you need to vote for me so I can get them home." McCain will say "see? More dead and wounded that's why we need to stay there. We have to stay until they get tired of killing us and hopefully by then we will have found another country to attack." Obama will say whatever makes his halo shine the brightest. Me I would rather listen to you Jack, what's your take on the increase in violence?

    March 31, 2008 at 2:13 pm |
  10. tim

    the recent violence in iraq will help bolster obama and clinton who want to end this mess a.s.a.p.and show us a mental midget in mccain who wants to stay there for a hundred years.he is another george bush and we can not afford another one!

    March 31, 2008 at 2:14 pm |
  11. Tracie Andrews

    The recent violence in Iraq only helps to boost Mccain's apeal to the voters . Mr.Mccain has the only credible military experience. Oboma and Hillary are talking about bringing our troops home . This recent development may cause them to rethink their plans.Tracie Macon GA.

    March 31, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  12. Joan

    I hope this reinforces the need for us to get out, although we have an obligation to do what we can for those poor Iraqi people who are living this nightmare, so we must get out carefully, protect our troops and let these people live the way they chose. Importantly, we should take the road that Obama has suggested and talk to the neighboring countries, let's face it they never will like us now, after George Bush's debacle, but perhaps we could co-exist, and maybe save the world from 100 years of war.
    Joan North Carolina

    March 31, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  13. Jayne In NH

    John McCain's nose might start growing like Pinnochio's when he utters the phrases "the surge is working," " we're winning" and "our brave soldiers haven't died in vain."

    March 31, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  14. Bonnie

    It certainly makes it clear that the Democrats have it right and the Republicans have it wrong. There is going to be a civil war there no matter what we do and leaving our men and women there to die for the
    Iraqi's who need to get it together and solve their own problems is detrimental to both sides. We got rid of Saddam for them now they are on their own. And we need to solve our own oil problems from within this country and by using other methods.

    March 31, 2008 at 2:21 pm |
  15. George Wilson

    Most of us didn't have to hear that things were going bad in Iraq.. Only those who believe what George Bush tells us would believe otherwise, but most of us know he is only telling us what he wants which most times is subject to scrutiny. The news will certainly hurt McCain, and it will energize the Democrat Party, and whoever their nominee shall be.

    March 31, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  16. Rosalynd

    McBush (oops that was a slip..McCain) fortold his own electability demise on this one. He is anchored to the results in Iraq and will go down with that ship.

    Clinton, big trouble as her vote for the war will haunt her worse than the ghost of Christmas past haunted Scrooge, for there is no redemption with this one.

    Obama, judged correctly on this one. His star is hining brighter than ever and he will get the opportunity to get our troops out of harms way.

    March 31, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  17. Boureguard McKinney, Texas

    That depends on which side of the fence you are on. This whole thing was nothing but a fact finding mission for Muqtada Al-Sadr. He wanted to test the current strength and response from the New Iraq Army. He found out exactly what he wanted to. Some of the weaknesses and chinks in Iraq's military armor and that Iraq can not defend it's own country still without help from the United States military. The fighting will go on now even more intense then before with knowledge of how Iraq and its Army will respond. There is sure to be more casualties next time. Knowledge is power no mater how it is used. If Iraq fails after 5+ years then they failed on their own. If McCain wants to get elected he better be talking withdrawing some troops instead of sending more in or the next president will be a democrat. The democrats will capitalize on these recent U.S. soldiers deaths and make them a poster child for their campaign.

    March 31, 2008 at 2:23 pm |
  18. Rosalynd

    McBush (oops that was a slip..McCain) fortold his own electability demise on this one. He is anchored to the results in Iraq and will go down with that ship.

    Clinton, big trouble as her vote for the war will haunt her worse than the ghost of Christmas past haunted Scrooge, for there is no redemption with this one.

    Obama, judged correctly on this one. His star is shining brighter than ever and he will get the opportunity to get our troops out of harms way.

    March 31, 2008 at 2:23 pm |
  19. Jan Davis, Knoxville, TN

    Jack, it is just one more reminder to the American people that the Iraq War has been a devastating mistake. I hope people will compare what Senator McCain has been saying about the "progress" in Iraq with the actual violence we see on CNN every day. As Senator Chuck Hagel said about Bush, McCain is in the same fairy land.

    That's why I'm voting for Senator Barack Obama who promises to start pulling out our troops from Iraq. It's time the blood letting stops and America moves on to improve our image in the world.

    March 31, 2008 at 2:23 pm |
  20. Paulette Dallas,PA

    The surge temporarily quiets the violence but then it starts all over again. The U.S. is someplace it is not welcome during a time that country wants to engage in a civil war. They don't want political negotiations they want to have at eachother. They will do this if the U.S. pulls out right now or if they wait 100 years. Let them get it over with and bring our military back home to their families.

    March 31, 2008 at 2:29 pm |
  21. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    McCain will probably see it as an opportunity to reinstate the draft and he will continue to say the surge is working. Some people say they are motivated by money which is just a short term high, just like the surge.
    Hillary will probably say once upon a time in Iraq I dodged bullets from the gun of Sadam but I didn't vote to go to war in the beginning or did I, maybe I misspoke but I'm not sure.
    Obama will continue to say that we never should have gotten into this war to begin with just like Ike said, "Never send our troops to the mideast".
    They have been at war in the mideast forever and always will be, it's their way of life.

    March 31, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  22. Rex in Portland, Ore.

    Have you read the latest by McCain? "What To Do When The 20th Century Comes". Probably published by Fox News.

    Like Goldwater, this latest conservative-wannabe warmonger will suffer the largest landslide loss in history. Oh, yeah, I forgot: next week he will be against the war, alway will have been against it, and saying it was not only mishandled but that the war was illegitimate – and 50% of the people in this gullible country will believe him.

    March 31, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  23. Mark - Asheville, NC

    Who is right? Look at who is ahead in the polls: McCain has about a ten-point lead over either Dem, and he wants to keep our troops in Iraq for 100 years! Yet it's undeniably clear that most Americans want us out now or very soon.

    What does this descrepancy mean? It means that electing a president is still more a popularity contest than a means for deciding tough issues. People vote for whom they like and against whom they dislike, and the issues are peripheral, certainly to the swing voters who decide the Electoral College (when the Supreme Court doesn't). The republicans understand this, and win; when will the Dems get it?

    March 31, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  24. Bill, Quarryville, PA

    think it will hurt the Mccain campaign because he has been saying that the increase in troops is working and violence is down because of it. When the real reason is Al-Sadr can call off a ceasefire and start the violence backup to where was whenever he wants to.

    March 31, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  25. Jamaal Kansas City, Ks

    I Don't think it will affect it that much because the American people Know the war in Iraq is a war we can not win and we are losing good Americans as the War continues, as well as money we could be investing into alternative fulel sources!

    March 31, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  26. Terry from North Carolina

    This will energize Obamas campaign as his position is to get out of Iraq as soon as possible. The American people have had enough of seeing their sons and daughters in harms way. For what ?

    March 31, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  27. Don

    Jack, Unfortunatlyy I don't think the war will be as prominate as it should. There is too much finger pointing to Iran and Syria as the root of the problem. We invaded a soverign country under dubious reasoning. The current government of Iraq is full of exiles who spent 10-20 years in Iran, Syria, and Jorden. When we are willing to see the truth, that we started it , helped put the current Shia crew in place, and it is our fault, only then can we understand the anger and resentment twords us. Oh yeah, Sadamm was the only bad guy there, now there are thousands.
    Moline, Illinois

    March 31, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  28. Chuck B Coastal NC

    easy...... get Bush and Cheney out of Washington.

    March 31, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  29. Erin in Battle Creek

    Each will spin it to his/her advantage. They play to different groups Jack and each group only hears the tune in their own key. So, McCain will appeal to the sword-bearing right and present this as evidence of our military necessity there; Clinton appeals to the plowshare-bearing left and says it is evidence of our need to pull-out right away and Obama–the audacity of Obama–who refuses to answer to either side but calls it like it is–a quagmire requiring thoughful consideration and careful maneuvering to secure BOTH the highest degree safety for our troops and at least a modicom of stability for the Iragi people. And they say he has no substance. The substance is in his intelligence and character–something the oval office hasn't seen in a very long time!

    March 31, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  30. Tina (Texas)

    All I know it is time to get our behinds out of there. Look at Vietnam. We separated the North from the South and now they are getting along and we are doing trade with them. If we would get out of South Korea the same thing would happen there. Iraqi people might fight each other for awhile but once they find who they want to be their new leader in chief then it will come to a halt. All we have done is create a big mess.

    March 31, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  31. Jerry, Fayetteville Tennessee

    Since Hillary and Obama are already close on their positions concerning the war, the recent violence won't have any affect on their quest for the nomination. John McCain will no doubt have to answer more questions directed toward his support of the way, but he's not going to change his position any time soon.

    March 31, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  32. Dave Brooklyn, NY

    There may not be an answer, but the first thing that has to be done is to get rid of Bush, get rid of every remaining member of this administration and every vestige of every Bush policy. This includes not dealing with China until they stop poisoning us with their dangerous, crappy products and adopt fair trading practices with all our “partners.” Then we have to get our jobs back from Mexico, India, Pakistan, China etc. ad infinitum. Then we have to readjust our tax system to one that is fair and reasonable to all. Then perhaps in a few decades, if our grandchildren are really lucky, they may not have to learn Chinese.

    March 31, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  33. Alfie --- Palmdale, Cal.

    It will only affect Obama and Hillary. They think they have some 'magical' solution to the problem in Iraq, yet no one has heard anything except their favorite cut and run fantasy. Those who have their head on straight know that we are commited to finishing what we started, and will vote for the only candidate who will honor that obligation. There will be surges of violence over there as long as there are radical remnants from Iraqs former regime. It will only highlight McCain as the reasonable choice to keep the fight clear of U.S. soil.

    March 31, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  34. Dave Brooklyn, NY

    Unfortunately, all the mindless bushies will vote for McSame, completely oblivious of the fact that it is that kind of thinking that got us into the war and all its consequences. They forget that Bush provoked the enormous growth of terrorists with this idiot’s war.

    March 31, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  35. Len in Washington

    to Allan in Cameron Park, Ca. "elect Bill and Hillary?" See....that's the whole problem!

    Len in Washington

    March 31, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  36. Freddy

    In the whole scheme of things we all sides lose...
    McCain wants to stay a 100 yrs
    Hillary wants to be president more than anything
    And Barack is trying to keep hope alive.

    Does anyone really have a dynamic military solution probably not; when they say history repeats itself....this is one of those moments. Wish I had a chance to see how the writers 100 yrs from now will view this point of our history.


    March 31, 2008 at 2:47 pm |

    john mccain is just as stupid as george w bush about iraq. in the U S we have a separation of church and state within our democracy. in all the middle east, they don't. every decision the people in that region make is based on a religious belief. we cannot bomb our way into their lives, occupy their county and force democracy down their throat. that's why we are hated and that's why they will never change. guess what? if the shoe was on the other foot, neither would we. iraq and the economy are #1 and 2 in this election.

    March 31, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  38. Dan, Washington DC

    I'd say it has no effect on who wins in November. On the other hand, the violence in August, September, October, and November will probably have some effect. On the other front, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if we were to suddenly "find" Bin Laden a couple of weeks before the election.

    March 31, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  39. Lance

    Jack, C'mon....you mean to tell me that there is a possibility that the candidates who are running really care about violence in another country and the country they live in is in pure chaos. If the last three candiates cared, Hillary would be out, Obama would be the DNC nominee and McCain would now be discussing the true issues at hand.

    How will the recent violence in Iraq affect the campaigns of the presidential candidates?

    March 31, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  40. Michael in Lorton

    The recent violence will bear more pressure on the candidates to address the conclusion of this global conflict as their campagins proceed forward and will cause public doubt more as to whether or not we are really winning this conflict. Our leaders have defined this conflict as "a war on terrorism." Americans are of the belief that it is the "rich" waging war, while he poor are dying for it.

    March 31, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  41. Charles in Florida

    Jack the war plays right into Obama's hands and makes Big John McCain have to dig a little deeper for support. It has nothing to do with the surge. Its simply a Iraq can't take care of itself militarily yet situation. We have to stand by like a parent guiding a child riding a bike for the first time without training wheels.

    March 31, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  42. Troy Smith

    Jack it won't have any effect. If you're for the war then you'll see this as proof that there will be a bloodbath if we leave so we have to stay.

    If you oppose the war then this is just proof that the surge failed and that nothing we do militarily in Iraq will make a difference so we should come home.

    If you don't care about Iraq one way or the other then you are probably not following the election and won't be voting at all.

    BTW I got a question for you Jack. Who is reaching out to the voters like myself who feel that they can't support any of the 3 remaining candidates?

    March 31, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  43. Richard Sternagel

    Jack, the recent violence in Iraq will help Obama more than Clinton and McCain! As both of them voted For the war and Obama consistently opposed the war! McCain's comments on deploying our troops for 100 years won't help him either!This Bush war must stop Sooner not Later1

    March 31, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  44. dorothy delong

    Jack the one thing I have never heard McCain tell us how in the world is he going to pay for the war I know our great-great-grandchildren will be paying for this one. And one other thing is where was Obama when this was voted on? He keeps saying he didnt vote for it but he wasnt even around. Maybe I would have voted for it [as much as I am againgt it] If I heard all the reasons we needed to keep them from coming over here to destroy our country. Its easy to say but in some cases hard to decide. Dorothy Ohio

    March 31, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  45. Bob from Rome NY

    It will be a definate plus for the Democrats if things continue to escalate in Iraq or if it happens again just before the general election in the fall. If the body count or violence rises significantly John McCain won't have a platform to stand on.


    March 31, 2008 at 3:11 pm |
  46. Jim A in Vancouver

    In recent months, Iraq has been on the back burner. This new violence brings it back to headline status and that will keep it on our minds when it comes time to vote. Both JM and BO are right. It shows there is still a reason for the troops and nothing has really been resolved. As long as Al Sadar is still breathing, there will be no lasting peace. When he calls for a cease fire, the violence goes away and when he feels he needs to prove who really congrols Iraq, the violence continues.

    March 31, 2008 at 3:12 pm |
  47. O. A. Eze a.k.a OGB in Austell, GA


    McCain in the White House – Will mean that the war that President Bush started will continue with a worthy heir to keep the drums of war beating.

    Hillary in the White House – Via my personal analysis, I'd call her a flip flopper who voted for the war and now wants to end it after many American lives have been lost. She lacks the capacity to make the right judgments under pressure.

    Obama in the White House – What America needs in the interim and in the long run to bring about long lasting change. He did not vote for the war and has the capacity to make the right judgment when the need arises.

    The new surge in violence in Iraq should make all Americans think deeply on who the want their next President to be. If they want the war to continue, vote for McCain. If they want someone who was part of making the war happen in the first place, then vote for Hillary. If America wants change to the status quo, then they should vote for Obama. That is my take.

    March 31, 2008 at 3:14 pm |
  48. Ralph at NYC

    Increased violence will show that in fact our "surge" hasn't worked, and that leaders of the governmernt in Iraq who we now support will not be able to control events in their own country These developments will go against Bush and McCain both of whom support our presence there and will benefit Obama and Clinton who promise to bring our troops home.

    March 31, 2008 at 3:18 pm |
  49. Robert W. Brooks

    Jack, The recent violence in Iraq will not change anything. The surge worked for one reason, we put more U.S. troops on the ground. The larger our presence, the more stable the country has been and will be. The big question that will face the next President will be what size the permanent force will be and for how long will we need to keep that force in Iraq to insure the government remains stable. Just as the National Guard is called out in times of riots, unrest, protest and disaster, our military has become a peacekeeping force that will be there for a long time whether we like it or not.

    Forest, VA

    March 31, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  50. John from Carlsbad


    It doesn't. The candidates will just spin whatever happens in their own favor that will bolster their beliefs for a solution in Iraq. One candidate will continue to strive for victory without a definition of victory and the two others will continue to see which person can get troops out faster. I personally think that there needs to be leadership in the situation because Bush has been the anti leader from day 1.

    March 31, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  51. Michael, New Jersey

    It is not violence, it is a military engagement. Without informing the U.S., one Shiite militia, headed by Iraqi Prime Minister Malaki, attacked another Shiite militia, headed by Al Sadr. This is a civil war and American troops should not be in harms way. Obama and Clinton are right and we need to get our troops out of there as soon as possible.

    March 31, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  52. Ted, Aloha, OR

    Maybe we could get out when the name Sadr City is changed to Malaki city. Maybe McCain wasn't far off when he dropped the figure 100 years. Maybe he really does believe that since their tribal wars have been going on for 800+ years, another hundred years one way or the other wouldn't make any difference. What the hell, they're not paying for it....we don't even get offered any of the 2 and a half million barrels of oil a day they export somewhere else in return......Now all together, bend over...more....more....

    March 31, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  53. Gerald from Toronto

    McCain seems to be the only realist. Of course he has never said the war would last a hundred years. He merely indicated that you simply can not set an arbitrary date when it's over. Roosevelt certainly did not predict WW II was going to be over in 1945. A war is over when it's over. And you can't simply pull out and leave these poor people in the chaos we have created, even if that gets you votes from some teenies in the primaries.

    March 31, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  54. Mike from Syracuse

    Sounds like Iraqi troops moved in to an area controlled by radicals, and now the radicals want a cease fire. Isn't that what we have all been waiting for? The Iraqi's are taking over the war themselves. It sounds like no US troops were part of the operation. What more do we need to see to prove the surge is working? No one said the violence would stop, just that we would buy time for the Iraqi's to get their act together. If there weren't an election going on, this operation wouldn't have even been a story.

    By the way, both Obama and Clinton have said they would consult with the commanders on the ground before commiting to action. Right now commanders on the ground are saying hold current troop levels. So either 'general' obama/Clinton will ignore their military leaders, or they'll go back on their promise to withdraw the troops. Neither action is not worthy of the Commander-in-Chief.

    March 31, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  55. Jessica

    It will make it much easier for each side to polarize the war.

    March 31, 2008 at 3:29 pm |
  56. Lori


    It just goes to show you that Obama was right. We should have never gone to war in Iraq.

    Lori from Battle Creek, MI

    March 31, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  57. james hoffman, Prescott, MI

    It will destroy McCain. It is obvious that by putting Saddam out of commision we have opened the doors for Iran to take over Iraq. This war has been a disaster to our prestige in the world and has killed countless Iraqi families and 4,000 of our young men and women. This war was, and continues to be a disgrace for America. We are only sacrificing money and lives for the pleasure of Iran.

    March 31, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  58. Chuck in Eugene Oregon

    It all depends on how long it lasts,and if they can keep control of that mess over there. This action by the Iraqi military is more than likely a direct result of their fear that if they dont get their act together, they will be left on their own. What a motivating factor.

    March 31, 2008 at 3:33 pm |
  59. Glenn

    Easy question for once, Jack (lol).

    McCain loves the war/hawk mentality and will just continue the Bush/Republican war that will continue to cost American lives and wounded. The costs of the war are just out of sight.

    Hillary voted for the Bush/Republican war. She switched sides only because she read the polls showing the majority of Americans are opposed to the Bush war. For Hillary it was a political decision and not a matter of conscience. At heart, she is really a war/hawk like Bush and McCain. The American public are beginning to see her for what she is and are learning that she "misspeaks" volumes.

    Obama oppposed the war publicly several years before the polls showed American opposition to the Bush/McCain/Clinton war. He opposed when it was unpopular to do so. Obama will end the war when he is elected President.

    March 31, 2008 at 3:35 pm |
  60. IFEANYI AZUBIKE Houston, Texas

    If the campaigns will be based on the war, McCain does not have a fleeting chance of winning simply because he, like Bush fail to understand the dynamics of Iraqi politics. My fear however is that neither Hillary nor Barack understand it too. The simple truth is that surge or no surge, keeping the troops for a thousand years or one day will not resolve the problem in Iraq. Iraq for as long as the begining of history has been a hot bed of violence and the only thing that ever worked was Saddams suppression of dissent which inidentally is what the US backed government has baptized "the SURGE". And whenever you remove that fear factor things disintegrate which is what led to the uprising we are witnessing.My opinion is that Barack and Hillary should rely on history to show that what is needed is to get those innocent troops out on day one because unless the surge is a perpectual one, it will achieve nothing but an illusion of well being, that will crumble as soon as it is relented. I still however believe that the Democrats have a slight edge on McCain in terms of their pledge to withdraw the troops because, only the Iraqis can make the determination of moving frward or remaining a relic of the past. McCain like Bush does not get it at all.

    March 31, 2008 at 3:38 pm |
  61. Aaron B.; Champaign, IL

    All three statements have some accuracy to them: McCain is right in that the surge has positioned the U.S. for future benefits in Iraq (assuming they exist); Obama is correct in acknowledging that there's more to the Iraqi conflict than just troop numbers, it's also cultural; and Clinton is apt to note that the mere presence of the U.S. in the Middle East is causing problems.

    March 31, 2008 at 3:38 pm |
  62. Jake

    Unless the violence trends to all out civil war, it'll help McCain make the case that there has been some progress in the ability of the Iraqi army to make a stand. But nothing is helping McCain more than the Press who are not covering what an unholy, unlivable mess Baghdad still is.

    March 31, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  63. AFM Archer, Fl.

    "Radical Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr called a truce between his Mahdi Army and Iraqi security forces. "
    This clown has proven that he can start a civil war or end one whenever he wants and there is nothing our troops can do to stop him. Both Senator's Obama and Clinton are correct. The underlying problem is still there and the longer our troops have to stay in Iraq, the more it proves the surge did not work. We need to get our troops out of al-Sadr's way and let him do what the arabs have been doing for 1000's of years and kill each other if that is what they want to do.

    March 31, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  64. Don Blue Springs, Missouri

    It probably will have an affect on the presidental election in the US. It shouldn't, they are stuggling over power in their country. Government the way we see it is not the same as they have defined it. We can't expect for these people to do it the way we do. Remember revolution is the purist form of democracy.

    March 31, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  65. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    I believe this increase in violence is a way of Sadr showing he is still a force to reckon with.

    I also believe that he, and Al Qaeda are trying to get American opinion swaying that the surge has failed. I believe they hope the next President will be Obama–who promises a rapid pull out of Iraq and who will create great dissent within the U.S. Dept. of Defense and the U.S. Military Services. That kind of instability in U.S. defense strategy would provide them with greater opportunities to achieve their own goals in Iraq–and against the U.S. and it's allies.

    March 31, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  66. Ron Kepics

    Hi Jack:

    If the Iraqi people can't learn to work and play well together, we need to establish a moderate plan to pull out our troops. This military action is going nowhere. We nedd to either make it a US Domicile or get out of the region. It is costing far too much in terms of human life and money.

    Ron K. San Diego

    March 31, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  67. Ava - Los Angeles, CA

    JACK- Who cares? I know where all three campaigns stand on the war. Been waiting for the bad news in Iraq to break in the U.S. Media. I have several friends overseas, friends who serve this country...what they tell me about what they see going on... is far from the U.S. Media reports. Like I can believe anything the media reports in it's papers or broadcast. The bottom line is IT DOESN'T MATTER! The surge doesn't matter, It doesn't matter if we leave tomorrow, next week, 5 years from now or 100 years... They will still be fighting. The Dems of course will use the neg. news to their advantage concerning the debate of leaving or staying. McCain will continue to fight his postion. Nothing changes but our amount of debt we owe China.

    March 31, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  68. Nicki

    Whoever wins the presidential election, we will have to remain in Iraq or near Iraq, in Kuwait or someplace. Obama has said that he intends to withdraw "combat troops" from Iraq - that means Blackwater and some troops would remain there. Clinton said that she would ask the joint chiefs for a withdrawal plan and begin a withdrawal within 60 days - will that be a complete withdrawal? McCain is not my candidate, but I think he's telling the truth. Common sense should tell us that if we left and that whole region erupted in violence, then price of oil would shoot upwards and life would change drastically.

    March 31, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  69. James in Cape Coral, FL

    Hopefully it will remind republicans and wayward democrats that Bush and McCain's war is not worth the price we are paying via our economy or the young men and women dying before they've even tasted life. Oil is not worth the lives of so many young Americans.

    March 31, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  70. Ram

    Favourable to Democrats. US needs to get out of Iraq asap. Regional powers like Iran, Syria etc can resolve the Iraq problem much better than US. US presence there is more a problem than a solution.

    March 31, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  71. Harry

    Iraqis will probably have more say in our democratic process than we think.

    Al Sadr is waiting until this fall to call off his cease fire, making the surge look like a failure and therefore a democratic candidate is elected our president.

    Maliki is trying to force Al Sadr to break the truce now, so that summer is a bloody mess and everyone is worn down by fall, to once again make it seem that the surge is working. That gives the edge to McCain.

    What I'm not sure of is whether the Iraqis are playing politics with all of us or are maybe it is that "some" of us using the iraqis to play politics with all of us.


    March 31, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  72. Stacy from Northern Virginia

    Iraq and the economy will both be major issues in this election.
    As for the level of violence in Iraq, I suspect that the cease fire called by Al-Sadr six months ago had as much to do with the relative calm as the Surge did – that is up until last week. It seems that Al-Sadr has more control over the level of violence in Iraq than the Iraqi government security forces.
    The next president must take concrete steps to begin pulling the troops out – not all at once – but the process has to start.
    My daughter recently joined the Army and the thought of her having to serve in Iraq worries me every day.

    March 31, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  73. Andre / Florida

    Jack – what a conundrum! This is not a question of right and wrong but a question of bad and worse. Pull out now without proper a plan to stabilize Iraq -bad; American meddling between rival middle east factions – bad; Occupying Iraq for "100 years" in the hope of salvaging an ill conceived military operation and ruining the American economy to boot – worse.

    Best case, the violence outbreak will force us to bring our fine soilders home, reevaluate the entire region and develop, along with our allies, a strategy for acheiving regional stability.

    Bottom line I'm much more interested in the campaign of our men and women in uniform than the campaigns of our esteemed Senators.

    Miami, Florida

    March 31, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  74. Jay - Atlanta

    My fervent hope is that an eventual collective sense will emerge where candidates realize the United States must turn its attention inward, and stop telling the world how to live, stop trying to save every little country from itself, and focus attention on pressing issues of economy, energy, ecology, debt, industry, obligations, and re-establish a position of DEFENSE as we move away from doctrines of OFFENSE and PREEMPTION.

    March 31, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  75. Robu desu, Japan

    China is laughing at us right now for how are hands are tied and shackled in Iraq. Pray China doesn't decide to seize this opportunity to take Taiwan.

    March 31, 2008 at 4:21 pm |
  76. seah Ohio

    Obama will jump to what ever seems to win him a vote for the momment. he is like a yo-yo when it comes to war and iraq.

    Obama is a speech

    With out his team telling him things, he knows squat.

    March 31, 2008 at 4:21 pm |
  77. Bruce

    Too far from election to make much difference now. People aren't paying any attention to blunders McCain is making because of the Obama/Hilary race. The comments McCain is making on Iraq are outrageous but media knows this does not sell as well as Barack's minister or Hilary's Bosnia war campaign.

    Bruce (Las Vegas)

    March 31, 2008 at 4:22 pm |
  78. Eugene in Northern California

    Jack, McCain has the right idea unfortunately, it's not a popular idea yet. We're turning the corner, so there's no reason, to cut and run.The campaign rehtoric, from both parties will increase, for a few days and subside. Our military had al Satr and his entire Mahdi army cornered, in al Sadr City, in 2004 and Bush ordered our forces, to back off. He then took his militia to Iran, to rearm and retrain. Every death, resulting, from al Sadr and his Mahdi Militia is a direct result, of the President's mishandling, of the war. Bush is a fool and should be impeached, for negligent homicide. Take him out in cuffs and make him do the "Perp Walk".

    March 31, 2008 at 4:28 pm |
  79. Carrie

    Until substantial political progress and reconcilliation between Shia and Sunni are acheived the pot will boil over from time to time. A premature withdrawal absent political reconcilliation will guarantee widespead civil war and genocide possibly igniting a regional civil war–unless we are willing to stay in necessary numbers until that can be acheived or seed Iran to extremist or Iran

    March 31, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  80. Tin,easound,wa

    billary is war hero rescued bosnia, she can handle all mess,LOL

    March 31, 2008 at 4:30 pm |
  81. Margie

    Yes Jack ,Clinton was right in telling the democrats to chill out. If it wasn't for the Clinton's you would probably be out of a job. I am really ashamed of you and Wolfe for bashing Hillary so much. I knew when I read my paper this morning and saw what Bill said, that would be one of your question today.


    March 31, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  82. Tom in League City, TX


    Clearly, John McCain and Hillary Clinton are wrong, since they have been wrong from the very beginning of this war. Barack Obama is right. The so called success of the surge is a mirage. Security in Iraq can deteriorate to chaos anytime Muqtada al-Sadr decides. The country is not being run by the US supported Iraqi government, it is being run by local "war lords" such as Muqtada al-Sadar. The same is true in Afghanistan. Great job Bush, McCain, Hillary!!

    March 31, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  83. Brian - Trinidad

    The surge is not working.For it to work we have to be winning.We're not winning because we're still there after five years.We know who world wars 1 & 2 because the losing side gave up and the winning side went home.It that simple! Really!You win,you go home!

    March 31, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  84. Greg from Mechanicsburg, PA

    Americans have a short memory. The violence of today means little. What matters more is the level of violence the week or two before Election Day. Democrats need to require McCain to define victory in specific terms–not by the forever moving goalposts that we've seen these past five long years. McCain also needs to explain who we would surrender to should we withdraw our troops. More needs to be done to emphasize the lack of political reconciliation, the corrupt nature of the Iraq government and its close ties with Iran. For God's sake, we are doing Iran's bidding by propping up the Maliki regime. This war is a major reason we are heading for a major recession. And let us not forget who really benefits from this war... Halliburton and the other contractors who are bilking America out of hundreds of billions of tax dollars.

    March 31, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  85. michael

    If there is more success with the surge it could affect the candidates
    a lot . Especially Obama. However I am for bringing the troops back
    but I think Hillary & Mc Cain are more realistic about it. I mean a lot
    can change between now & then in IRAQ.

    March 31, 2008 at 4:32 pm |
  86. Leevaughn Brown

    Jack, You will have:
    McCain 1 Democratics 20, 50, 100, 1,000 10,000 tilt, tilt, Big winner!

    Jack, McCain just doesn't get it yet.

    Cinti, Ohio

    March 31, 2008 at 4:33 pm |
  87. Joe TN

    None!!! They know it, They its time for them to take control of their countey!!!! No matter who is Presitdent of our country

    March 31, 2008 at 4:52 pm |
  88. PEL (North Carolina)

    Remember the lessons of US Civil War. France and England were willing to support a side with assitance but they did not join in the fight. To this day the remnants are still here. Vietnam and Korea were wars of divided unions that had manifested over long periods of time.
    Can you identify the beginnings of Shiites, Kurd and Suni divisions. The Democrats should always refer to Iraq as the Middle East Civil war and continue to state it as a war with no end. John McWar can continue to sell our need to win. Someone needs to remind him that it was never supposed to be our war to win. This will hurt his campaign.

    March 31, 2008 at 4:54 pm |
  89. sandy in Ohio

    Jack, Our troops should not be fodder for any campaign. I want them to come home, in fact like Obama, I never wanted them there in the first place. But now that we have destroyed the only government they had, we are obligated to try and mend it. The Iraqi's will probably end up with a form of government that the weatern world isn't too fond of but I think we have to let them have what they want. McCain has no idea what to do other than follow the failed Bush policy. As for Hillary, despite all her war experience. I have no cofidence that she has the right ideas. Obama seems to see this for the mess it is and he seems to have a real desire to help the Iraqis solve this U.S. made mess.

    March 31, 2008 at 4:55 pm |
  90. Will K. San Jose, CA

    The surge, although anything lasting for months is difficult to still call a surge, is a valid tactic and did what is was supposed to do. It lowered violence enough for the government to try and do something.

    However no amount of clever tactics can make up for a failed strategy. We still don't have a clearly detailed command intent for what winning looks like. Without a well defined strategic goal no amount of tactical changes will ever solve the problems in Iraq.

    March 31, 2008 at 4:57 pm |
  91. deb in az

    i still think we need to leave iraq regardless.....we need to get our military together......we have things going on right here in our own country.......how can we depend ourselves in our homeland with troops all over the world but here? all these candidates need to have a concrete plan to remove the troops....for the sake of this country for financial as well as security of the country..... by the way where is all the oil that president bush is taking or stealing from iraq??

    March 31, 2008 at 4:57 pm |
  92. Alan, Buxton Maine

    It will probably have little or no effect. No one running seems to understand that the results will be the same if we are in Iraq for another year or another 50 years. There will be a bloodbath in either event. Bush set things in motion of which he and most of his advisers had no understanding. The ones who did were dismissed and ignored. The war was a mistake, is a mistake and will continue to be a mistake no matter what we do. The only course of action is to get out and let the Iraqis

    March 31, 2008 at 5:05 pm |
  93. Brandon

    I am 13 and I think it is sad that the Demacrates have only one thing to talk about George Bush and his war. You need to tell them Jhon Macain is Running Not Mr. Bush. I am also Republican

    March 31, 2008 at 5:06 pm |
  94. Richard

    John McCain is wrong on Iraq. He has no idea whats going on.

    The "surge" has not worked because there is zero political progress. We need to let the Iraqis have their country back. I will not be voting for John McCain in the fall.

    March 31, 2008 at 5:06 pm |
  95. Alan, Buxton Maine

    settle things for themselves.

    March 31, 2008 at 5:06 pm |
  96. Kab

    Bad news from Iraq means bad news for McCain.

    No matter how much he tries to distance himself from Iraq war- Democrats are going to play his now unpopular "100 years war in Iraq" again and again – just like- Republicans are going to play Obama's pastor- "God damn America" again and again.

    It will be an election between McCain's remark to support war Vs Obama's pastor's remark to denounce war.

    March 31, 2008 at 5:06 pm |
  97. Marci

    Marci from PA

    considering that this is the first presdential race in a long time where PA will actually matter in the election process. I agree with Bill. As a Republican, I am thilled that Obama and Clinton are doing McCain's dirty work. I can't wait to hear all these sound bites in the general election. Ain't politics a wonderful thing??

    March 31, 2008 at 5:07 pm |
  98. Thomas

    Let's face it Jack. Iraq's future not lies with the United States, but with the Sunnis, Shiites, al-Maliki and Iran. I don't have a clue of what we're doing there other than attempting to save face. al-Maliki sitting down with Almadenijad on Iraqi's home turf drove that point home. Al-Maliki kind of shoved that fact into Bush's and McCain's face. ( referencing Bush/McCain policy of NOT speaking with the axis of evil contingent until positive concessions are made.)Meanwhile American Military blood is still being spilled protecting a government that the United States installed and at the same time who laughs in it's face. Bush, McCain, Obama and Clinton are all wrong, and none have the chutzpah to admit it.

    March 31, 2008 at 5:07 pm |
  99. G

    What's going to happen when there are no more middle class working people to foot the bill for all the Washington Programs. Where do they expect to get the monies to pay for everything. I can't see myself voting for anyone in Washington under any circumstances. They all need an overhaul.

    March 31, 2008 at 5:08 pm |
  100. rex

    The two democratic candidates have the same views on Iraq, McCain wants to "finish" the job, what ever that is.
    The fact is that this is going to be decided by Congress, and the Generals, so none of them will have anything to do with it.

    What seems to be happening is that Iraq's government is looking at this election, reading the tea leaves and stepping up to the plate. That's the BEST part of this primary season: it is scaring the heck out of the Iraqi leaders and getting them up off the sofa.

    I think, I hope, this will all be over in a year, because if Iraq can fight back, they they are ready for us to leave. So it's a win/win: we get out, they take over. It doesn't matter if the surge is working. What matters is if the Iraqi ARMY is.

    March 31, 2008 at 5:09 pm |
  101. Tom Kelsey

    The same way the escalation of the Viet Nam War worked...miserably. Of course George Bush and his cronies would know that if they had bothered to show up for that one.

    March 31, 2008 at 5:09 pm |
  102. Karl in CA

    Iraq is going to continue to be the same mess it has been since we took Saddam out and occupied the place. The Iraq government hasn't done anything in the four years since it's creation and until we make it clear that we are leaving and it's sink or swim time, whether it's in six months or 100 years,they aren't going to do anything. A military surge of any kind without political progress to back it up is an utter failure. We can't win because we have already lost, long ago.

    March 31, 2008 at 5:10 pm |
  103. Tony

    Sure what happens over there will have an effect over here – remember the 2006 elections – the democrats took control of the house and senate. Americans are tired of this war that should have never happened in the first place. Continual problems there will the white house and greater majority in the congress to the democrats, unless the Clinton's pull superdelegate rabbit trick and the democratic party is split.

    March 31, 2008 at 5:10 pm |
  104. Carmelo, NJ

    Jack, McCain will spin this recent violence to his advantage by justifying keeping our troops another 100 years. My guess is the violence will increase because the Iraqis see Maliki as a puppet of Bush and that’s going to hurt McCain in the general election.. The latest fighting between Iraqis are obvious, Iraqi soldiers don’t want to fight their brothers. In the end both the Iraqi army,Al Sadr’s militia and Sunnis will join to fight the invaders out of their country.
    The illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq only benefited Israel and the Kurds who always wanted their own state.

    March 31, 2008 at 5:10 pm |
  105. Bruce of Nevada

    I haven't read these other comments so I may be redundant.

    The Iraq war is a corporate War of Oil so let's fight it as one. Lets offer all the soldiers the first opportunity to leave honorably if they chose or to stay on as independent contractors with the right to negotiate their own wages. They should be paid thousands, millions of dollars like the oil comany contractors and executives. Iraq and the oil cartels should pay them out of their oil profits, not the US taxpayers. Then you will see the War of Oil, seek an immediate solution once the expense is put on the true benefactors.

    March 31, 2008 at 5:10 pm |
  106. Paul, Michigan

    If the violence increases it definately hurts John McCain because he has everyone fooled that the surge is soley responsible for the decrease in violence. What we don't here from McCain or the media is that al-Sadr agreed to a cease fire around same time as the surge. This was a negotiated agreement totally seperate from the surge. But the military surge is what has attracted all of the credit. The military surge has not proved anything, it was the cease fire. If the cease fire is lifted John McCain is in trouble politically, but more important our troops and Iraqi civilians are in trouble also.

    March 31, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  107. Phil

    The recent happenings will give Senator Obama and Senator Clinton more meat to attack McCain on obviousely. And we can bet McCain will have to reinforce his idealogys of staying in Iraq until the job is done with more proof that the Surge is infact working. If the Iraq war comes back into the race it also presents the oppurtunity for Obama and Clinton to unite on a subject also.


    Denver, Colorado

    March 31, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  108. Kristen Ingram

    The effect of the Iraq situation on the election depends on the degree of truth told by each candidate. If what we get will be party line propaganda, the effect might be tilted in one direction or another. But if the candidate is willing to tell the whole, unredacted truth, the effect could be profound.

    March 31, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  109. Jonathan

    McCain was right about the surge, Hillary and Barack were wrong. It DID lead to political reconciliation, because it allowed Sunnis in Al-Anbar, the security so that they did not have to rely on al-qaeda for safety. Now, we have seen 80,000 Sunnis sign up to help the U.S. fight al-qaeda. Also, in the South, it allowed many Shiites the security from the Sunni insurgents so that they did not have to rely on the Mehdi army for security. In doing so, it also limited Iran's influence. Barack was wrong. This is proof that the surge allowed Iraqis to turn against radical groups, and in favor of the U.S. The violence is helping McCain prove that a premature withdrawal would be disasterous, and geneocide.

    March 31, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  110. Gus

    It is clear that our troops are doing a tremendous job, however it is also clear that violence in Iraq is controlled not only by our increase introop levels, but int he decision of radical leaders who control when and where they will inject violent. PS
    What aboput Hillary's tax returns and her list of ear marks. Don't let her off the hook for that Jack

    March 31, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  111. Burton Tabaac

    What is America doing?! We must get out of Iraq. Staying there is causing more problems that it is solving. With all we know about Iraq and its ineffectiveness, electing John McCain could be more damaging to our country than it was in electing Bush for 8 years..

    March 31, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  112. Jay


    There is no solution to our situation in Iraq that doesn't end with dire consequences. We can however work in the interest of the families and soldier that are suffering with our stupidity for getting into the war in the first place and then deal with the consequences that we will ultimately face.

    La Canada, California

    March 31, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  113. Diane

    It will be interesting to see how JOHN MC CAIN 'spins' the recent truce by the Mehdi Army – a truce negotiated in TEHRAN. Iran has many irons in this fire, but – at the end of the day – was behind the cease fire. So much for "Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran."

    March 31, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  114. nathan

    Whether you're for the surge or not logic follows that if the Iraqi army decides it's finally strong enough to confront militias–you will then have an upsurge in violence as they go on the offensive.
    There's a difference between militias and terrorists going on the offensive and the government of Iraq and the military going on the offensive. It means, and is an indicator, of two vastly different things.

    Violence does not simply equate to violence. There is nuance here.

    Monmouth, OR

    March 31, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  115. Jim Flannery

    Dear Jack,

    I think it's apparent McCain is doomed by this debacle. The surge is NOT working, and anyone who supports the Bush doctrine wouldn't be elected, even in the best of economic times. By the way, did I mention the economy is pretty bad, too? A democratic chicken would be elected in November if he ran. Now if Hillary would just get out of the way...

    March 31, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  116. Geoff

    The surge is really another word for segregation of the various factions in Irag in addition to paying off the sunni al queida group with American tax payer dollars; imagine that. This is why McCain says American troops needs to be there for a 100 years.
    Iraq is a quagmire of civil unreast held together by unwitting US troops.

    March 31, 2008 at 5:16 pm |