Republican presidential candidate John McCain says President Bush’s surprise visit to Iraq over the Labor Day holiday shows the so-called surge is working. "Six months ago it would not have been possible for him go that part of Iraq. It was a free fire zone," McCain said Monday in western Iowa. "And now Anbar province is one of the more stable parts of Iraq thanks to the success of this new strategy."
According to McCain, it will be "multiple months" before there’s any sort of troop reduction in Iraq. "I will fight against a date for surrender. I will fight against what the Democrats are trying to do," McCain said. "…If we set a date for withdrawal we will see chaos, we will see genocide and they will follow us home."
Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards is among those repeatedly calling on congress to force the president with start withdrawing troops from Iraq. "Instead of making a trip to Iraq, what President Bush needs to do is change his policy," Edwards told reporters in Des Moines on Monday afternoon. "He needs to start bringing troops home to shift the responsibility to the Suuni and Shi’ia leadership because so far they’ve made no serious effort to reach a political compromise."
Joe Biden, another Democratic candidate who was campaigning in Iowa on Labor Day, said in a written statement that it’s "good news" that Bush has gone to Iraq to "survey the situation on the ground first hand." Biden said the troop surge "has had limited and temporary military success" but cannot overcome the shortcomings of the central Iraqi government.
Ric Hanson of KJAN in Atlantic contributed to this report.