Asked by a questioner specifically about the disagreement on this topic that McCain and Obama had at Tuesday night's debate, Petraeus demurred a bit, but said:
"I do think you have to talk to enemies."
"I'm not trying to get into the middle of domestic politics," Petraeus also said, "but I mean what we did do in Iraq ultimately was sit down with some of those that were shooting at us. What we tried to do was identify those who might be reconcilable."
Petraeus' comments were reported on by Spencer Ackerman and were noted elsewhere, but really deserve way more attention. TPM went to the video on Heritage's site to get a longer transcript, and sure enough, they showed that the context shows that Petraeus was more or less backing up Obama's point of view.
As TPM points out:
What Petraeus said isn't a perfect endorsement of Obama's views -- he didn't specifically discuss Iran, and the question of "no preconditions" didn't come up -- but it's pretty darn close. That's because it's as clear as day that the context specifically was the debate between Obama and McCain on this topic on Tuesday night. During that exchange, the candidates clashed on whether to meet with the leaders of Iran, and the questioner at Heritage posed the subject about talking to enemies specifically in that light.
In an interview that aired on CBS, John McCain, when asked which three living people he'd like to have dinner with most, promptly chose General Petraeus. McCain frequently hails Petraeus as an "American hero." Do you think John McCain might change his view?