President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair held a press conference in Washington today after discussing the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group. CNBC's John Harwood was there. Here are a few major points from the presser:
Bush’s feelings on the Baker-Hamilton report: “The Congress isn’t going to accept every recommendation in the report, and neither is the administration. But there are a lot of very important things in the report we should seriously consider.”
Blair on getting Syria and Iran involved to find a peaceful solution: “The issue to me is not a question of being willing to sit down with people or not. The basis upon which we discuss Iraq has got to be clear…In other words, you support the democratic, elected government. You do not support sectarians. You do not support, arm or finance terrorists. Now, the very reason we have problems in some parts of Iraq…is that Iran, for example, has been doing that.”
Bush on troop withdrawal by 2008: “One of the things the [Baker-Hamilton] report mentioned…’if conditions so allow.’ We want our combat troops out as quick as possible. We want the Iraqis taking the fight. But it’s very important…to be flexible and realistic.”
CNBC Washington correspondent John Harwood spoke with Michelle Caruso-Cabrera on “Morning Call” after the press conference. He said both heads of state were incredibly positive toward the Baker-Hamilton report, so a course correction for Iraq strategy is likely. The question is how much and how fast.