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Gergen: Obama erred in airing Maliki talks

Presidential candidate Barack Obama (L) visited with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki in Baghdad on July 21, 2007. Obama is on a Middle East tour that includes Afghanistan,, Iraq, Jordan, Palestine and Israel. (UPI Photo) ..
Presidential candidate Barack Obama (L) visited with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki in Baghdad on July 21, 2007. Obama is on a Middle East tour that includes Afghanistan,, Iraq, Jordan, Palestine and Israel. (UPI Photo) .. | License Photo

WASHINGTON, July 22 (UPI) -- Political pundit David Gergen said U.S. Sen. Barack Obama should have kept the contents of his discussions with Iraq's prime minister confidential.

Gergen told CNN it was a mistake for Obama to release a statement detailing "exactly" what Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told him.

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"We have a long tradition in this country that we only have one president at a time," the former White House speech writer said Monday. "He's the commander in chief and the negotiator in chief. I cannot remember a campaign which a rival seeking the presidency has been in a position negotiating a war that's under way with another party outside the country. I think he leaves himself open to the charge … that he's meddling, that this is not his role, that he can be the critic, but he's not the negotiator."

Before leaving Iraq for Jordan, Obama issued a statement saying Maliki told him he hoped U.S. troops could be out of Iraq in 2010 and the Iraqis are looking for a time line with a clear date for U.S. troops to exit.

"They do not want an open-ended presence of U.S. combat forces," Obama said.

Obama was in Jordan Tuesday to discuss the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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