By Patrick OConnor - 06/14/06 12:00 AM EDT
In anticipation of tomorrow’s debate over the war in Iraq, House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) distributed a series of talking points to House Republicans yesterday.
The talking points encourage members to trumpet recent accomplishments on the ground while also rehashing some of the reasons President Bush and congressional Republicans used to build political support for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The memo reminds members to mention the death last week of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq; the selection of defense, interior and security ministers in that country; and President Bush’s surprise visit to the country yesterday morning to meet with new Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Boehner also encouraged members to present a contrast between Republicans and congressional Democrats.
Boehner had repeatedly suggested his desire to keep the debate above the partisan fray, but during a press briefing yesterday he clearly conceded that the debate would force members to take a position on the war in anticipation of the November elections.
“I’m sorry that some people have to make an uncomfortable decision,” Boehner said. “All members are going to have to express themselves on this issue as the year goes on.”
Boehner also reiterated his strong support for the war and rejected any suggestion that the House would take up a measure setting a deadline to withdraw troops.