[Sam Youngman, White House correspondent of The Hill. 2010. “McCain criticizes Afghanistan withdrawal date as 'political decision' by Obama,” The Hill. June 27th 2010, http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/105749-mccain-blasts-afghanistan-withdrawal-date-as-political-decision]
Sen. John McCain blasted President Barack Obama's stated goal of beginning troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in July 2011, saying Obama made a "political decision" not based on military strategy. McCain (R-Ariz.), Obama's opponent in the 2008 presidential election, continued to criticize Obama's decision to include a timetable in his Afghanistan strategy, and he criticized military leaders who signed on to Obama's timetable strategy. "It was purely a political decision," McCain said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "Not one based on facts on the ground, not one based on military strategy." McCain, ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, went further, saying that no military advisers proposed to Obama any strategy that included a timetable. But when host David Gregory noted that Obama's military leaders have endorsed the strategy, McCain faulted them for not opposing the commander in chief. "They didn't do it, and they should have because they know better," McCain said. McCain said the president needs "to just come out and say this is conditions-based and conditions-based only." The White House has said repeatedly that July 2011 represents a start date for withdrawal, and that is not a total withdrawal date. But McCain, echoing arguments against a timeline in Iraq, said that when "you tell the enemy you're leaving, they will wait." "I'm against a timetable," McCain said. "In wars you declare when you're leaving after you've succeeded." Still, McCain said Obama made the right decision in ousting Gen. Stanley McChrystal after McChrystal and his aides made inflammatory and insulting comments about administration officials in a Rolling Stone magazine article. "He took the appropriate steps in my view," McCain said. Though McCain said he understood the mentality of aides speaking out of turn while on a night off, he said "there's no excuse for it." McCain joined other Republicans in praising Obama's replacement for McChrystal, Gen. David Petraeus. McCain called Petraeus "one of the greatest, outstanding leaders in American history."
1NC – McCain K2 Agenda
[ ] McCain controls huge clout with moderates on key issues – He will determine Obama’s agenda
[Rebecca, 11/8/08 (“CQ Weekly Vantage Point: Farewell or a Future? McCain Still Has Role as Bipartisan Dealmaker,” LN)]
A likelier scenario, observers say, is that McCain will revert to his role as a bipartisan broker of compromise — and, depending on Barack Obama ’s enthusiasm for courting the aid of his presidential rival, McCain could serve as a critical liaison to Senate moderates as the new administration works with a Senate majority just shy of the 60-vote, filibuster-resistant supermajority. That role would permit McCain to bolster the bipartisan credentials he so frequently advertised in his campaign and to refine his legacy in case he decides to retire from public life in 2010, when his fourth term ends and he turns 74. “He can only be a leader for the moderates,” says GOP strategist John Feehery, who worked for 18 years on Capitol Hill. “But at the end of the day, moderates will hold all the power.” Obama could have reason to solicit his support on any number of policy fronts, including the economy, national security (where McCain wields considerable clout as the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee) and the curtailment of global warming — all likely high-priority items on the next president’s agenda. And McCain would probably be keen to add to his already extensive resume of bipartisan collaboration on questions such as nominations to the federal bench, immigration and campaign finance. He probably would not be able to bring major factions of the Senate GOP to the bargaining table, but he could broker agreements on some key issues with influential moderates such as Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Mel Martinez of Florida. A home-state GOP colleague in the House, John Shadegg , notes that McCain is in closer accord with Democrats than fellow Republicans in some instances, including on legislative proposals curbing global warming. “That’s an area in which there is the potential that Sen. McCain could agree with the president-elect, but I don’t know that McCain can bring along the minority,” Shadegg says. “Given the state of the economy, there will be lots of concerns.” Shadegg predicts that McCain will face minimal opposition if he runs for re-election in two years. But several McCain associates think he may be edging toward retirement. In either case, former McCain aides say he does not intend to fade into the senatorial background as Democrat John Kerry of Massachusetts did after losing the presidency in 2004. “It will be very important that someone in a leadership position in the Republican Party send the signal that they are willing to work with President Obama. McCain is the logical choice,” says Mark McKinnon, a former media adviser for President Bush and for McCain through much of the primary season. “I think Sen. McCain’s interest after this election will be not any political ambition but a genuine desire to make his last chapter in Washington all about bipartisan healing.” The former GOP nominee will be focused on “settling differences rather than settling scores,” McKinnon says. Dan Schnur, a spokesman for McCain in the 2000 election and director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California, says there is no reason why McCain wouldn’t pick up where he left off in the Senate. “He could be a very valuable ally to President Obama in building bipartisan support for at least some of the administration’s priorities, starting with national security and political reform,” Schnur says. “He spent a lot of years building a reputation as someone who works across the party aisle. He has a strong incentive to spend his last years in the Senate reinforcing that image.”