The New York Times rejected an opinion piece on Iraq submitted by John McCain shortly after the paper printed an op-ed piece on Iraq by his presidential rival Barack Obama.
The Times’ Op-Ed page editor David Shipley explained that he spurned the McCain piece largely because he wanted to hear more detail on the Republican candidate’s plan for Iraq, including information about “timetables.”
McCain has rejected any timetable for the removal of American troops from Iraq.
Obama’s article, “My Plan for Iraq,” ran on July 14.
“It would be terrific to have an article from Senator McCain that mirrors Senator Obama’s piece,” Shipley wrote on Friday in an e-mail to a McCain aide that was obtained by Jonathan Martin of Politico.
“To that end, the article would have to articulate, in concrete terms, how Senator McCain defines victory in Iraq. It would also have to lay out a clear plan for achieving victory — with troop levels, timetables and measures for compelling the Iraqis to cooperate.”
Shipley also told the McCain campaign: “I’m not going to be able to accept this piece as currently written.”
McCain’s article read in part: “In a New York Times op-ed and a speech this week, [Obama] offered his ‘plan for Iraq’ in advance of his first ‘fact finding’ trip to that country in more than three years. It consisted of the same old proposal to pull all of our troops out within 16 months.
“In 2007 he wanted to withdraw because he thought the war was lost. If we had taken his advice, it would have been.”
After the article was rejected by The Times, the McCain campaign said in a statement: “John McCain believes that victory in Iraq must be based on conditions on the ground, not arbitrary timetables. Unlike Barack Obama, that position will not change based on politics or the demands of the New York Times.”
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