In her third, and final, question to a politician who has constantly assumed the worst about Iraq, Couric seemed apologetic for seeing “the glass as half empty” when that matches Levin's contention and the picture painted by the news media: "I don't mean to see the glass as half empty, but what if the Iraqis and the Iraqi government, what if they're not up to the job?"
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video for the taped interview which aired on the November 15 CBS Evening News:
Katie Couric: "Senator, were you as frustrated with General Abizaid's position today as John McCain and Hillary Clinton?"
Senator Carl Levin (D-Michigan), from Capitol Hill: "I was somewhat frustrated because I thought basically he was saying that we should stay the course, which is, I think, clearly a position that's been rejected by the American people overwhelmingly. Staying the course in Iraq is not a strategy for success. The horrible violence on the ground, it seems to me, is proving that every day."
Couric: "So as the future Chairman of the Senate Arms Services Committee, where does that leave you, Senator Levin? I mean, what are your options? You have long advocated a phased withdrawal, but how are you going to make that happen? It seems almost impossible right now."
Levin: "What I'm hoping to do is now that the election's over is to see if there aren't some Republicans, and I believe there are, who also believe we've got to change the course in Iraq, and that only the Iraqis can change that course because only they can work out the political settlement which is so essential to ending the violence."
Couric: "Senator Levin, I don't mean to see the glass as half empty, but what if the Iraqis and the Iraqi government, what if they're not up to the job?"
Levin: "We cannot save them from themselves, Katie. We've done everything that any country could to give them an opportunity. The only people who can reach a positive outcome here are the Iraqis and their political leadership. If they're going to have a civil war, that's got to be their choice."