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Political Notebook

McCain urges more troops for Afghanistan

ON THE COVER - Michelle Obama is fashion’s star, but that’s not why she’s one of Glamour’s December cover models. Her work in mentoring earned her the spot. She’ll receive a special recognition in the annual Women of the Year issue that goes on newsstands Nov. 10. ON THE COVER - Michelle Obama is fashion’s star, but that’s not why she’s one of Glamour’s December cover models. Her work in mentoring earned her the spot. She’ll receive a special recognition in the annual Women of the Year issue that goes on newsstands Nov. 10.
October 29, 2009

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Senator John McCain, President Obama’s Republican foe last year, has largely supported his rival since the election on foreign policy and national security.

But now McCain is one of the loudest voices pressuring Obama to send more troops to Afghanistan - and do it soon.

The president has held six war councils so far to draft the right strategy, and some expect him to wait until after the Nov. 7 Afghan presidential run-off election to decide on his top commander’s request for as many as 40,000 additional troops.

But McCain said on “The Early Show’’ on CBS yesterday that the war policy in Afghanistan “has been reviewed time and again’’ and it’s time to act because the delay is frustrating military commanders and unnerving allies.

And in an opinion article posted online on CNN yesterday, McCain calls on Obama to move as quickly as possible to grant General Stanley McChrystal’s troop request.

McCain notes that he supported the Afghanistan strategy that Obama laid out in March, when the president announced his decision to dispatch 21,000 more US troops, and that he backed Obama’s appointment of McChrystal.

“I agree with our commander’s assessment of the security situation as ‘deteriorating’ and that our civilian and military leaders urgently need more resources, including more combat troops, to turn the tide toward success,’’ McCain wrote. “I sympathize with our president, because sending men and women into harm’s way is the most difficult decision that a commander in chief must make. However, Americans are already serving in harm’s way in Afghanistan, and the sooner we can provide the reinforcements and resources they need, the safer and more successful they will be.’’

McCain is advocating a troop surge and counterinsurgency strategy similar to the one he successfully prodded then-President George W. Bush to employ in 2007 - and that McCain and others argue turned around the war.

“We know what it takes to succeed in Afghanistan: a resolute commitment to the principles of counterinsurgency, which turned Iraq around during the surge,’’ McCain argued.

“This won’t be perfect or easy, but it will allow America’s fighting men and women to leave Afghanistan with honor, and it will enable Afghans to build a better, more peaceful future.’’ -- GLOBE STAFF

President signs bill on defense, civil rights issues
WASHINGTON - Trumpeting a victory against careless spending, President Obama yesterday signed a defense bill that kills some costly weapons projects and expands war efforts. In a major civil rights change, the law also makes it a federal hate crime to assault people based on sexual orientation.

The $680 billion bill, which sets guidance that is typically followed by congressional committees that decide appropriations, was hailed by Obama as a step toward ending needless military spending that he called “an affront to the American people and to our troops.’’

The measure also expands current hate crimes law to include violence based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. -- ASSOCIATED PRESS

Huckabee grabs early lead in Republican poll for 2012
In a very early read on the potential GOP presidential field for 2012, new poll results out yesterday put former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee at the head of the pack with 32 percent support among Republicans.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey found former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in second at 25 percent, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in third at 21 percent, and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty a distant fourth at 5 percent.

While Huckabee, Romney, and Pawlenty all have higher favorable numbers than unfavorable, Palin is at 42 percent favorable and 51 percent unfavorable. -- GLOBE STAFF