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“We’ve Got to Get Out of Iraq,” Says Mark Warner

Former Virginia governor weighs in on the war effort, immigration and hints at political aspirations.

Photograph by Ellen Schreiber.
There was no mistaking former Virginia governor Mark Warner’s view of the Iraq War during his interview with Carol Joynt at the Q&A Cafe at Nathans restaurant yesterday. Noting that the country is in “a moment of historical transition,” Warner suggested that President Bush is not reflecting the views of the American people. But he prudently cautioned those calling for an immediate withdrawal of troops: “Getting out without a plan is as bad as going in without a plan.” Asked to discuss whether he anticipated pressure for a definite date of withdrawal to be put to a Democratic candidate, Warner said that wouldn’t be the responsible thing to do.

He was equally judicious on the issue of illegal immigration in Prince William County, where just yesterday the county government decided to push forward with a resolution cracking down on illegal immigrants by increasing police enforcement and restricting some public services.

Calling the controversy a preview of what lies ahead for the 2008 election, Warner expressed sympathies for both sides and criticized the Bush administration for its failure to take action. With no federal laws enacted or enforced, he said, “all the local laws in the world are not going to solve this.”

Steering away from partisan lines, Warner—currently the front-runner in Virginia’s US Senate race—briefly outlined some strategic measures he’d like to see implemented: a clear energy policy to cut the country’s dependence on foreign resources; efforts to forge a national competitiveness plan focused on fostering “intellectual capital” and reforming health insurance and education; and a call for resolve aimed at strengthening the American character.

“Forging a bipartisan coalition is absolutely critical,” Warner said. “There are no one-party solutions.”

Mostly forthcoming in his responses, Warner seemed to shy away from a definitive answer only when questioned by Joynt about the possibility of his running on the Democratic ticket as vice president. Though he was quick to answer that his focus and time were currently invested in the Senate race, his grin suggested that, at the very least, he was tickled by the idea.

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