Gutknecht "goes wobbly," cuts and runs on Iraq

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Earlier this summer, when Congress was debating resolutions about the future course of U.S. actions in Iraq, Minnesota's First District Rep. Gil Gutknecht said to his colleagues, "Members, this is not the time to go wobbly. Let's give victory a chance." Just weeks later, the front page of today's Washington Post (reg. req.) quotes Gutknecht, just back from Iraq, as saying that the situation is much graver than he'd been led to believe, and urging an immediate withdrawal of troops.

Gutknecht's comments are not printed anywhere on his campaign website. Indeed, the war in Iraq is not included among the website's top five issues, despite the fact that Minnesota has the nation's fourth-largest complement of troops in Iraq, with Gutknecht's district in southern Minnesota a particular hotbed of recruitment.

The congressman's change in position on Iraq was flagged in a press release by his electoral opponent, Tim Walz, a National Guard veteran and schoolteacher. The release, repeated on Walz's campaign website, says "A partial withdrawal [such as favored by Gutknecht] leaves those left behind exposed to even more deadly insurgent violence. Gutknecht's suggestion is his own re-election plan, not an exit plan will keep our troops safe."

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