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Republicans, Democrats react to Iraq Study Group Report

WASHINGTON—Republicans and Democrats alike reacted strongly Wednesday to the Iraq Study Group's report. Select quotations follow:

_President Bush: "This report gives a very tough assessment of the situation in Iraq. It is a report that brings some really very interesting proposals, and we will take every proposal seriously and we will act in a timely fashion . . . and we probably won't agree with every proposal. It, nevertheless, is an opportunity to come together and to work together on this important issue.

"The country, in my judgment, is tired of pure political bickering that happens in Washington, and they understand that on this important issue of war and peace, it is best for our country to work together. And I understand how difficult that is, but this report will give us all an opportunity to find common ground, for the good of the country—not for the good of the Republican Party or the Democratic Party, but for the good of the country."

_Senate Majority Leader-elect Harry Reid, D-Nev.: "If this report is followed by the president, by the first quarter of 2008 most all American troops will be out of Iraq . . . The Iraq Study Group is a rejection of the policies of the Bush administration on war in Iraq. It calls for redeployment. It calls for a change of course. Now, the president has the ball in his court."

_House Minority Leader-elect John Boehner, R-Ohio: ". . . (A)ll of these assessments should be given the due respect and consideration they deserve. But we must not retreat from our obligations to help stabilize Iraq, nor should we give in to the notion that it is in our interests to strike deals with our enemies."

_Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.: "The $64,000 question now is on the table and it's looming: Is the president ready for a change in course? We've seen conflicting signals up until now."

_Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., chairwoman of the 73-member Out of Iraq congressional caucus: "I do not believe the ISG report goes far enough to advocate a strategy that prioritizes pulling our troops out of the full-scale civil war in Iraq and returning them home to their families."

_Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.: "I want to listen. But I believe winning Iraq is part of the war on terror. It's the central battlefront . . . When you have a high-crime area, you don't send in less police, you send in more."

_Incoming Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden, D-Del.: "It has moved the debate in a fundamental way, from not if, but when and how, we move our forces in Iraq."

_Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah: "You can't just say, `Well, we gotta pull out because the American people want us out.' We've got to continue to fight this war and win, and if we don't, we'll pay a tremendously difficult price. I don't think it ever hurts to have wise men thinking through ideas. That doesn't mean that they're all good ideas."

_House Majority Leader-elect Steny Hoyer, D-Md.: "It is clear now that there is no one in America, save perhaps the president, who believes that staying the course is a viable policy."

Senate Minority Leader-elect Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.: "Though we won't reach agreement overnight, this is an opportunity for us to work in a bipartisan way with Democrats and the White House and reach consensus on one of the most critical issues before the Congress."

_House Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.: "I don't think you'll see Democrats or Republicans signing on the dotted line for the Iraq working group's proposal . . . But I liked how they began. They began by saying we must transition our troops out of Iraq."


(Compiled by Margaret Talev.)


(c) 2006, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.