Earnest to RCP's Simendinger: "Ample Evidence To Suggest We Are Making Progress To Degrade ISIL"

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Following the fall of Ramadi in Iraq and Palmyra in Syria to Islamic State militants, WH press secretary Josh Earnest remains optimistic that recent setbacks are what you see "in any sort of military conflict."

ALEXIS SIMENDINGER, REALCLEARPOLITICS: You've described a phased strategy from degrade to defeat,a long term goal. Does the president believe that the part of the strategy that we're in right now to degrade ISIL is achieving its aims?

Does the president believe that ISIL is being degraded currently despite these setbacks, is that what you're arguing?

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE: Yes. We are in the 'degrade' portion of this operation. There is ample evidence to indicate that we are making progress in degrading ISIL capabilities...

In any sort of military conflict there are going to be days of progress and periods of setback.

I think that is evident from what we've seen over the last week or so. To go back to your question, yes, overall we are in the 'degrade' phase of this effort and we are making progress at degrading the capability of ISIL.

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