The 2008 Iraq-eteers

John McCain may not have offered any direct criticism of the Iraq positions of his Republican rivals, but his key Iraq advisor shows no such reserve when it comes to Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani.

McCain “does not believe in timetables or deadlines, secret or otherwise,” said McCain advisor Randy Scheunemann in a story in this week’s Observer. “He has made it clear that setting a timetable or deadline is nothing more than setting a date certain for surrender.”

The Democratic point-people on Iraq have a somewhat collegial working relationship, meeting on a monthly basis at luncheons hosted by Richard Holbrooke. The guest list usually includes Hillary Clinton’s aide Andrew Shapiro, Barack Obama’s staff advisor Mark Lippert and John Edwards’ advisor Derek Chollet, among others.

But they’ve got their differences as well.

“It’s a very collegial group,” said Antony Blinken, a fellow attendee who is a senior advisor to Joseph Biden on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “Obviously there are some distinctions on Iraq. We also work for people so we have to make sure that we advocate what they believe in.”

–Jason Horowitz