The Blog

On CBS' Face the Nation today, Governor and Presidential Aspirant Mark Warner Told Democrats to "Get Over" How We Got Into the Iraq War But Refused to Answer How He Would Have Voted on the Iraq War Resolution, How Convenient

3:48 PM, Nov 13, 2005 • By DANIEL MCKIVERGAN
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

Last week, I noted that Virginia Governor Mark Warner is now considered a serious candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. He is traveling to New Hampshire this week on a wave of punditry that declared him one of the "biggest winners" of Tuesday's election. The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne and many others point to his credentials as a popular, centrist Southern governor from a so-called Red state. I also wondered if the governor would let us in on how he would have voted on the war resolution had he been in Congress or would he would he wait several months to see how things are going in Iraq before taking a firm position?

Well, Governor Warner gave his answer today.

Ms. BUMILLER: Let's say you had been in the Senate. How would you have voted for the Iraq War resolution had you voted for it...

Gov. WARNER: Well, first of all...

Ms. BUMILLER: ...had been there?

Gov. WARNER: ...I think what we continue to see is the fact that not all the senators had all the information. I heard Senator McCain earlier, and I, you know, have tremendous respect for Senator McCain. But I think the Democratic Party ought to get over refighting how we got into the war and, again, continue to press the president on what he hopes to do in terms of how we will finish the job. I think there are three or four things we need to focus on. One, how do we keep the Sunnis involved in the government? How do we make sure that they don't feel excluded? Two, how do we make sure that as we go through the reconstruction of Iraq, that we don't continue to spend 30 cents on every dollar for security for folks like Halliburton and how do we get more Iraqis involved in the reconstruction? Three, how do we end up making sure that we truly keep that coalition involved? Because this is an international issue, not just an American issue. And four, I think we--one of the issues that will come out of Iraq--and I don't believe we have to set a arbitrary time line because--not only in terms of Iraq but Afghanistan and Iran, but we've got to make sure we look at this whole question of forced structure. Our military is so good at kicking out the command and control of the bad guys, but as we see in Iraq or in Afghanistan, Somalia, Bosnia, what do we do afterwards in terms of restoring civil authority?

Ms. BUMILLER: But would you have voted for the war?

Gov. WARNER: Listen, I'm not go--I don't have all the information of what would have happened at that point. I think we ought to focus again how we finish the job, not go back and refight how we got there in the first place.

Gov. Warner should be applauded for telling Dean, Kennedy & Company to "get over…how we got into the war" but shouldn't a "Southern centrist" who aspires to be commander-in-chief tell us how he would have voted on the Iraq war authorization if he had been in Congress at the time? Does Gov. Warner believe the president made the right decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power in March 2003? Does he support Sen. Kerry's call for a staged troop withdrawal from Iraq or does he side with Sen. McCain who wants more troops to wage the counterinsurgency? He offered no straight answers to these questions that are at the heart of the current debate in Washington and across the nation.

Where do you stand, Governor?