Posted: Friday, July 25, 2008 6:06 PM by Mark Murray

From NBC's Mark Murray

In an interview on CNN today -- which the DNC is passing around -- McCain said that withdrawal from Iraq in 16 months is "a pretty good timetable."

That answer came when McCain was asked about Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki's earlier claim to Der Spiegel that Obama's 16-month plan "would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes."

Of course, McCain did stress that such a withdrawal would "have to be based on conditions on the ground." But calling 16 months a "good timetable" is something McCain hasn't said before -- and probably never would have said a week ago.

The transcript:
BLITZER: What if Maliki persists? You're president and he says he wants US troops out and he wants them out, let's say in a year or two years or 16 months or whatever. What do you do? Do you listen to the prime minister?

MCCAIN: He won't. He won't. He won't. Because it has to be condition-based.

BLITZER: How do you know?

MCCAIN: Because I know him. And I know him very well. And I know the other leaders. And I know -- I've been there eight times, as you know. I know them very, very well.

BLITZER: So why do you think he said that 16 months is basically a pretty good timetable?

MCCAIN: He said it's a pretty good timetable based on conditions on the ground. I think it's a pretty good timetable, as we should -- or horizons for withdrawal. But they have to be based on conditions on the ground.