On Sunday I blogged about NBC’s Andrea Mitchell’s claim, on “The Chris Matthews Show,” that Iraq commander Gen. David Petraeus met with the Senate Republican caucus “very recently” to promise they’d soon see real progress in the war. I remarked that the story, if true, would be disturbing — the busy war commander caucusing with one party? — but I also noted that Time’s Joe Klein seemed to try to deny Mitchell’s claim, until Matthews told him and Mitchell to “agree to disagree.”
Monday on “Hardball,” in a segment that was actually about the fundraising totals of the 2008 presidential contenders and the troubles of Sen. John McCain, Matthews and Mitchell seemed to correct the record, sort of. Without mentioning what had been discussed on Sunday, Matthews asked Mitchell, rather out of the blue, to talk about what Petraeus was telling senators. “It’s a good thing you bring that up,” Mitchell replied, and she went on to say that Petraeus recently held a “closed circuit briefing” for senators of both parties, “Democrats as well as Republicans.” But Mitchell also repeated her claim from Sunday that “moderate Republican senators” were privately saying they opposed Bush’s so-called troop surge, but would publicly support it out of respect for Petraeus, and give the general and the president until the summer to make progress in the war.
Got it? It seems Petraeus didn’t meet alone with Republicans, and I apologize for my role in passing that along (but it would be nice to also hear an apology from Mitchell and Matthews). But Mitchell is standing by her story that moderate Republicans are lying to voters, rolling over for a surge they believe can’t work while giving the president until Labor Day, and the start of the new political season, to prove otherwise. Someday it would be nice to hear an apology from them, too.