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On the January 10 edition of MSNBC's Imus in the Morning, Republican political strategist Mary Matalin claimed that President Bush's plan to send more than 20,000 additional U.S. troops to Iraq was a departure from the administration's previous plan, which she characterized as "clear and fold; not clear and hold and build." Matalin said that "[t]here has been success at this clearing, holding, and building. It's been done successfully in Tal Afar by [Col. H.R.] McMaster," adding that "[w]e haven't done it broadly, and we haven't done it in a sustained way, which is what the president is going to propose tonight."
However, on the December 8, 2005, edition of CNN's The Situation Room, in an interview with host Wolf Blitzer, Matalin did not characterize events in Iraq as "clear and fold." She said: "They've cleared and held large expanses of ground in Iraq, including Najaf and Mosul ... including huge swaths in Baghdad." That appearance came just over a week after Bush unveiled the administration's then-newest plan for Iraq, the "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq," which explicitly outlined a "Security Track" of "Clear, Hold, Build" for the United States "to secure a democratic state in Iraq."
From the January 10 edition of MSNBC's Imus in the Morning:
MATALIN: So, I guess without even hearing it, you've preordained that it's going to be nonsense -- all your friends in the Democratic Party.
IMUS: Well --
MATALIN: Why don't we wait and hear it, and why don't we think about the fact that [Lt.] General [David] Petraeus, who is widely regarded on both sides of the aisle and across the military, has actually had success at what the president is going to propose tonight. There has been success at this clearing, holding, and building. It's been done successfully in Tal Afar by General McMaster. We haven't done it broadly, and we haven't done it in a sustained way, which is what the president is going to propose tonight. As opposed to what's been mischaracterized as a surge -- simply an addition of troops -- it's how the troops -- where they're going to be put, how they're going to be used. They're going to go into these mixed neighborhoods and stay there 24/7 as opposed to --
IMUS: Unlike before.
MATALIN: A previous policy was to clear and fold; not clear and hold and build, and the previous economic policy had been geared toward infrastructure; large projects, the electric grid, the oil production and distribution -- these will be microeconomic programs in the neighborhood so the people can get accustomed to shifting their allegiance.
From the December 8, 2005, edition of CNN's The Situation Room:
BLITZER: This is an argument that Joe Lieberman wrote in The Wall Street Journal -- the argument you just made. There are 10,000 terrorists in Iraq, if you will, insurgents, 27 million Iraqis who are with the U.S. Why can't the 27 million Iraqis beat 10,000 insurgents or terrorists?
MATALIN: The -- well, this is not some conventional warfare where the terrorists are just standing up there fighting. They're disguising themselves; they're blowing themselves up; they're killing children; they're killing women. You know, it's very difficult to get at combatants who are willing to just blow up innocent civilians. But they're making progress every day. They've cleared and held large expanses of ground in Iraq, including Najaf and Mosul, as the president said yesterday, and including huge swaths in Baghdad. Eighty percent of the country is peaceful and getting more prosperous, and their income is doubling.