Bipartisan Baker-Hamilton goes partisan

April 22, 2008 at 2:37 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 22 (UPI) -- The Iraq Study Group touted its bipartisan stance in 2006 but a report says its members are back to taking opposite sides in the 2008 U.S. presidential race.

Congress appointed a 10-person bipartisan panel in March 2006 to make policy recommendations on the Iraq war.

Almost two years after their report was released, however, seven of its members are backing presidential candidates, each with a different view on the best way forward in Iraq, the Politico, a Washington newspaper, said Wednesday.

Democratic members Vernon Jordan, Leon Panetta and William Perry back U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y. Lee Hamilton, who also sat on the 9/11 Commission, backs Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Republicans James Baker, Lawrence Eagleburger and Ed Meese all put their names behind Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

Panetta says the Democratic stance on the Iraq war is in line with the study group's recommendations but Meese disagrees, saying McCain "is the only one" who backs "the principal … part of the report" that says "we should not cut and run" from Iraq.

The Politico said it appears the panel members are "cherry-picking" its own Iraq policy against its own recommendations. Baker told PBS a week before the panel released its report that "If our report is going to mean anything, ... we really have to take it out of politics."

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