MS. GLICK: Some Republicans already labeling the trip a political trip. Is it in fact? With us now is Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee.
Good afternoon, Congressman. Thanks so much for joining us.
REP. BLACKBURN: Hi, Alexis.
MS. GLICK: So you think this is just a tactic to basically assure the American public that he can handle national-policy issues?
REP. BLACKBURN: Well, one has to wonder what the true reason for his trip is because he pretty much said his mind was made up before he left. Now, my hope is that he has listened and he has learned while he is there and he's going to come back and say, you know, I'm open- minded. But I think that there are many of us that are going to have to wait and see about that. Why in the world would it have taken him 900 days to get over there? And why would he have announced his policy before he went to find out what that policy should be if it were not a political trip?
MS. GLICK: But as I'm sure you would agree, regardless, better late than never. Obviously, he was fighting a tight campaign here with Senator Hillary Clinton, and he has vocally gone out there and talked about an increase and a surge in activity in Afghanistan as opposed to Iraq. So is he doing the necessary homework to, in essence, meet the statements that he's made in the press?
REP. BLACKBURN: Well, obviously, he was not doing the homework that he needed to do because the subcommittee that he chairs has not held any oversight hearings on Afghanistan and the activity in Afghanistan. So in my opinion, if he were choosing to administer that oversight that is delegated to the responsibility of this committee, he would have been doing that.
Now, better late than never, certainly. It is good that he has gone over there, but I think we have to realize that in his going, he has been provided protection by the surge that he has campaigned against, that he wanted to de-fund or not to fund. And he has seen the progress that has been made there because he's been able to go. I hope that he will give the credit to those men and women in uniform.
And when we talk about withdrawals and timetables, one of the things we have to realize that the entire time our leadership team on the ground -- General Petraeus, the joint chiefs of staff -- everyone has said, let's condition our withdrawal on the facts and when the timing is right and not try to set hard-and-fast dates and say, we have to do this by a certain day. But let's make certain that we are completing the job and the mission that we were sent there to do.
MS. GLICK: And doing the homework.
REP. BLACKBURN: Yes.
MS. GLICK: All right, Congresswoman Blackburn, thank you so much for joining us.
REP. BLACKBURN: Thank you so much for having me.