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Caught On Tape: Tim Pawlenty Confuses Iraq And Iran

Presidential candidates, as a rule, hate being corrected by lowly reporters. Just ask Tim Pawlenty. Meeting with reporters on the trail, Pawlenty was asked about U.S. policy towards Iran, but seemed to be referring to Iraq in his response, “I think the situation now in Iran is such that Secretary Gates is negotiating with whether the United States Military will be there beyond the end of this year. And they’re looking to the Iranians to see if they invite the Americans to stay, invite us to stay.” The extended answer was interrupted by a reporter who said “you mean Iraq, not Iran.”

And naturally, it was caught on tape and distributed, Politico’s Ben Smith says, by “the new Democratic group American Bridge.” The full exchange:

REPORTER: US foreign policy towards Iran how would you address contradictions in the US? On the one hand we are opposing Iranian policy, but on the other hand by usreconfiguratingthat part of the world we made Iran dominating Iraq and now we are pinning it on dominating of Pakistan. How would you address this contradiction in our foreign policy?

PAWLENTY: You’re talking about Iran?

REPORTER: Exactly.

PAWLENTY: Yea, well I think the situation now in Iran is such that Secretary Gates is negotiating with whether the United States Military will be there beyond the end of this year. And they’re looking to the Iranians to see if they invite the Americans to stay, invite us to stay. And if they do invite us to stay at some very reduced level I think the United States will be wise, until we make sure that they get to the next level of stability, to accept that invitation. So if Iran makes that invitation by the end of the year, leaving a residual force, a greatly reduced force, but a residual force that would be there for a temporary amount of time. Until they could establish much better air security, until they can develop their intelligence-

REPORTER: You mean Iraq not Iran, because Iran-

PAWLENTY: I’m sorry, Iraq, yes, yes. You said-, did you say Iran or Iraq?

Watch it here, from YouTube:

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