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Michele Bachmann on Afghanistan

The Minnesota congresswoman says to stay the course.

9:42 AM, Jun 22, 2011 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
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In a speech tonight, President Obama is expected to announce the staggered withdrawal, over the course of the next year, of the surge troops in Afghanistan. Don't expect Minnesota congresswoman and 2012 presidential candidate Michele Bachmann to praise his decision. Here's what Bachmann had to say on Afghanistan during a recent interview with me:

On Afghanistan, I firmly believe that we are at a point where we've got to stay the course, and we've got to finish the job. Reports coming out of Helmand right now are positive. ... David Petraeus, who wrote the book on counterinsurgency and on the surge strategy, is successfully prosecuting the surge.

Now, President Obama has not told the story the way President Bush did. President Bush did let the country know where we were at, and I give him a lot of credit because when he was getting all sorts of invective pointed against him, he stood against the world for what he knew to be right in dealing with terrorism. And perhaps no other would have stood the way that he did. I give him great credit for that.

Now in Afghanistan, we are making great progress. We have to win southern Afghanistan, then we have to go on and win eastern Afghanistan. I believe that we will be victorious, and we'll end it. I understand why people are frustrated. I completely understand. But I do trust General Petraeus in that effort and in what he is doing over there. And I think that they are doing what we need to do.

I asked Bachmann why she didn't give that answer when Afghanistan came up during the CNN debate last week in New Hampshire. She was disappointed she hadn't been asked about the war. "I'm like this on almost every question," she said, gesturing to get the moderator's attention. "Can I please answer the question? Please let me answer Medicare! Please, please! Immigration: please, please! But I couldn't get in."

I'll have more on Bachmann—a lot more—in the next issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

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