What’s more, the pace of the rest of the drawdown has yet to be determined for the remaining 68,000 American troops slated to remain in Afghanistan after the summer. Afghan war commander Gen. John Allen will assess the military campaign and make his own recommendations to the White House about the best way to draw down after the surge troops leave at the end of the summer. “I intend to take a very hard look at the state of the insurgency," Allen said in May. While the devil is in the details, the withdrawal plan has already been endorsed by the international coalition: NATO leaders in May embraced the plan to hand combat command in Afghanistan to local forces by the middle of next year and withdraw combat troops by 2014.
John McCain on Iran:
McCain, who had urged Washington to unequivocally support the 2009 Green Movement protests in Iran and seize a chance to topple the regime there, repeated that call at the convention. “When Iranians rose up by the millions against their oppressive rulers ... [Obama] missed a historic opportunity to throw America's full moral support behind an Iranian revolution that shared one of our highest interests: ridding Iran of a brutal dictatorship that terrorizes the Middle East and threatens the world,” McCain said.
While both Republicans and many Democrats have criticized the Obama administration for what they call its muted response to the Iranian protests, many experts believe it’s unlikely that even if Obama had been more vocal in expressing solidarity with Iranian protesters, the uprising would have led to the overthrow of Iran’s rulers. In June 2010, Fareed Zakaria, in a Washington Post article titled “The Fantasy of an Iranian Revolution,” pushed back against the largely neoconservative idea that the U.S. missed a chance to transform the country back in 2009. Despite accusations that the 2009 election was rigged, Zakaria notes that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did have millions of supporters—especially among the poorer, rural, and more-devout communities.
Rand Paul on the national debt:
Toward the end of a scathing criticism of big government generally—and what he cast as the Obama administration’s pursuit of it, specifically—Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky cited two statistics about the federal debt.
“Unfortunately, we are one of a select group of countries whose debt equals their gross domestic product.” This is true, when referring to the country’s total gross debt, currently about 100 percent of the country’s GDP. Publicly held debt, however, is typically the figure that debt-ratings agencies watch. Once publicly held debt reaches 90 percent of a nation’s economy, it is considered large enough to inflict serious economic damage. Publicly held debt is currently about 75 percent of GDP in the United States, according to estimates from the Congressional Budget Office released earlier this month.
Paul also told a raucous crowd that “President Obama’s administration will add nearly $6 trillion dollars to our national debt in just one term” This is true—if anything, Paul lowballed it. As of Tuesday, the gross federal debt was $15.98 trillion, according to Treasury, up $5.35 trillion from Jan. 20, 2009, when Obama took office. But when the fiscal year ends on Sept. 30, CBO predicts the annual deficit will clock in at $1.039 trillion, which would push the debt growth under Obama well past $6 trillion (though it’s worth noting that the deficit cannot simply be added to the debt for a total because of the complex accounting involved).
Mitch McConnell on economic recovery:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., attacked the Obama administration on the country’s slow economic recovery.
“To call this a recovery is an insult to recoveries,” McConnell said. While the pace of growth has been slow by historical standards, the U.S. economy has officially been out of a recession and in a recovery since June 2009, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, a nonpartisan arbiter of the nation’s business cycles.