July 9th, 2008
05:03 PM ET

Timetable to get out of Iraq?

Army soldier of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division patrols in the Sadr City neighborhood of Baghdad, Iraq. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The Iraqi government is finally making its voice heard, and it's not the message the White House was hoping for.

Baghdad is saying there will be no security deal with the U.S. unless it includes a timetable for withdrawing our troops from their country.

This puts the Bush administration in a delicate position. The U.N. mandate that allows American troops to be in Iraq expires at the end of the year. Pres. Bush has long opposed a firm timetable, but he also wants the Iraqi government to stand on its own. President Bush himself has said in the past that he would go along with the Iraqi government's wishes.

U.S. officials now say Iraq has the right to determine its future, but once again insists that a timeline would be a bad idea. Resistance from the Iraqi government will probably make it difficult to finish those negotiations by the end of this month, like the administration wanted.

It might mean that a long-term deal won't be worked out until the next president comes into office. Some believe that the two countries might end up working out a short-term deal.

But, it shouldn't come as a big surprise that Iraq is standing its ground here. A poll conducted this spring showed that 72% of Iraqis oppose the presence of U.S. forces, and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki can't ignore that fact.

Some experts say that al-Maliki may be trying to show his people that he's tough enough to stand up to the U.S. After all, he doesn't want to lose support from Iraqis to the cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, one of his chief rivals. The prime minister's words might also be meant for Iran, who doesn't want the U.S. to use Iraq as a launching pad from which to attack them.

Here’s my question to you: Should the U.S. agree to Iraqi demands for a timetable for U.S. troop withdrawal?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Iraq
July 9th, 2008
04:54 PM ET

Confident in McCain’s ability to fix economy?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/09/art.latino.mccain.gi.jpg caption=" McCain said he could balance the budget by 2013 by keeping taxes low and curbing spending."]

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The economy is issue number one for American voters, and that has sent both presidential candidates scrambling to describe what they'd do to fix this nation's economic problems.

John McCain is vowing to balance the budget by 2013. He says he'll do it by keeping taxes low and cutting back on spending. McCain's plan includes a one-year freeze in domestic spending, entitlement reforms and reducing the growth in Medicare spending. He also says he'll veto any bill with earmarks.

A lot of economists suggest there's no way that McCain can balance the budget in 4 years. Remember, McCain wants to extend President Bush's tax cuts and he's committed to staying in both Iraq and Afghanistan. One group estimates that even if U.S. troop levels in Iraq were cut by 80%, McCain would still face an annual deficit of almost $450 billion.

The Arizona Senator also says he plans to create jobs by doing things like building nuclear power plants, and he says he'd make a bipartisan push to fix Social Security. But by his own admission, when it comes to the economy, McCain is not at his best.

Take Social Security. This is how McCain answered a question earlier this week about how he'd fix it:

“Americans have got to understand that we are paying present-day retirees with the taxes paid by young workers in America today. And that's a disgrace. It's an absolute disgrace and it's got to be fixed.”

Note to Senator McCain: older workers benefits have always been paid by the taxes put into the system by younger workers. When you're young and working, you pay into the system so that older retired people can collect their benefits. Where has Senator McCain been?

Here’s my question to you: How confident are you in John McCain’s ability to solve our economic problems?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Economy • John McCain
July 9th, 2008
01:51 PM ET

How much should Obama help Clinton with debt?

 Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton may be campaigning and fund-raising together these days. But behind the scenes, there are some nasty wounds that are a long way from being healed.

The New York Times reports that many Obama donors are not too eager to help Clinton pay off her estimated $23 million in campaign debt. Some are saying things like "Not a penny for that woman. Or her husband. Or – god forbid – Mark Penn."

Obama has asked his top donors to help Clinton retire her debt, but Clinton officials say so far they've come up with less than $100,000, which one adviser describes as a "paltry sum."

Obama's donors say they think Clinton racked up most of this debt after it was mathematically impossible for her to win the nomination, and she simply spent additional money doing damage to Obama. His campaign also says it's unclear how much money from Obama supporters will satisfy the Clinton camp.

Meanwhile, Clinton's people think Obama has been half-hearted in his fund-raising efforts on her behalf and should do more to include Hillary's people in his campaign. Some are also complaining that Obama has not asked his 1.5 million small donors to contribute to Clinton.

It's a delicate dance for Barack Obama. If he's seen as unhelpful, then Hillary and Bill Clinton and their supporters might not be so eager to jump aboard his campaign.

Here’s my question to you: How much money should Barack Obama be expected to raise to retire Hillary Clinton's debt?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton