The Cable

White House denies CNN report of 3 year timeline for Afghanistan withdrawal

President Obama will not announce a three-year time frame for withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan, despite a CNN report to the contrary.

"That's wrong. The time frame of three years is nowhere in the speech," White House spokesman Tommy Vietor told The Cable. He added that spokesman Robert Gibbs's statement on this issue earlier Tuesday was accurate but did not elaborate.

Gibbs told CNN's John King this morning that "the president will discuss tonight the time frame in which he believes we can transition our forces out of Afghanistan."

CNN then reported that time frame will be three years, according to multiple administration officials.

This sparked a firestorm of reaction on Capitol Hill, with hawks and dovs alike reacting to the idea.

"I hope it's not true," said Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-CT, who added that he supported Obama expected announcement of 30,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan as "enough."

"I hope it's not an explicit deadline to get our troops out because that undermines the mission, but some mention of a time line or a goal is OK," Lieberman said.

Sen. Russ Feingold, D-WI, said that he was "very happy" about the idea of "having a timeline or some sense that this is not open-ended."

He is simultaneously opposed to the basic idea of increasing troops there in the first place.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., said he expected Obama to announce "milestones" but not a hard timeline. 

Senior administration officials are set to brief reporters on the Afghanistan strategy momentarily.

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