Saturday, August 25, 2007

Tom Davis: WH Obeying Congress on September Report

Virginia Senator John Warner, 80, is widely expected not to seek re-election in 2008. Moderate Congressman Tom Davis is widely expected to seek the seat, and given Virginia's shift toward the political center, he would be a strong candidate in the general election.

He's attracting a lot of attention for comments he made the other day at a townhall meeting expressing frustration with the lack of progress in Iraq. Kate O'Beirne notes it here at the Corner, and the Politico addresses it here. The response to this appearance is reminder to Davis that whether Virginia Republicans ultimately select Warner's successor with a convention or a primary, he needs to be careful how his comments are perceived by conservatives. Right now the conventional wisdom is that Davis will have to face off against a conservative to win the nomination -- either former Governor Jim Gilmore, Congressman Eric Cantor, or someone else.

Beyond that though, people are likely to overreact to the title of the Politico piece: "Republican suggests White House will 'tweak' Petraeus report." As I have noted before, Congress required the White House to integrate the views of Crocker and Petraeus with those of several others in preparing the September report. If Davis is right, and the White House 'tweaks' the contribution of Petraeus and Crocker, it would be consistent with the requirement of Congress -- not in violation. It would be no surprise however, if others try to present it that way.

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