December 27th, 2007
12:23 PM ET
4 years ago

McCain on Pakistan: 'I'm the one with the experience'

Clinton is buying Iowa airtime on the eve of the state's caucuses
McCain said Bhutto's death may remind voters of his foreign policy credentials.

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - Republican John McCain told reporters that new unrest in Pakistan might serve to help his presidential campaign, given the national security credentials that have been a central theme of his White House run.

In response to a question from CNN's Dana Bash on whether the current situation helps his campaign, McCain responded: “I’m the one with the experience, the knowledge and the judgment, so perhaps it may serve to enhance those credentials, or make people understand that I’ve been to Waziristan, I know Musharraf, I can pick up the phone and call him. I knew Benazir Bhutto, I know the area. But I hate for anything like this to be the cause of any political gain for anyone.”

In response to another question, the Arizona senator also suggested that Rudy Giuliani’s post-9/11 experience would not necessarily help him deal with the Pakistan crisis, if he were president. “I don’t know. I know he doesn’t have any experience there. I don’t know how he would handle it to tell you the truth,” said McCain. “He did a great job post-9/11 in handling a post-crisis situation, but I don’t know how that provides one the credentials to address national security issues. I think, as I say, he did a fine job. …

“But as far as I know Mayor Giuliani has never been to Iraq. I mean I don’t … I’m not saying he is without credentials. I’m just saying I’m the one with the most credentials, and experience, and the most judgment.”

–CNN's Dana Bash contributed to this report


Filed under: Iowa • John McCain
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. James, Houston,TX.

    John McCain is certainly the One with the Most Experience; and its Mostly Bad.

    December 27, 2007 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  2. Blue Dog Coalition NYC

    Please don't give up Senator McCain until the last votes are counted in the primaries – if it looks like Obama will get the nomination my friends and I will vote for you. You are a fine and decent man, who doesn't go around offering false hope and empty promises. You are a man of integrity. The SC primary was stolen from you in 2000.

    You DESERVE to be President of the United States of America - NOT the "Great Pretender" :(

    December 27, 2007 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  3. Dallen, Richmond, VA

    I love you John, but it is REALLY difficult for me to trust your foreign policy attitude after the whole bomb, bomb Iran joke. This was really hurtful for the Republican party. We should be making peace in the world and not picking more fights. Best of luck to you in the primaries regardless. You are a great American patriot – we should all be thankful for your years of tireless service and dedication.

    December 27, 2007 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  4. Arrthur Elmer

    I had enought of McCain being Bush light. He is nothing more than a Bush shadow.
    In 2000 he was doing great until Bush called him everything but a whiteman in South Carolina and McCain has been a mealy mouth Bush supporter every since.
    I would not vote for McCain if he was the only one running, I would right in some school kids name, that had some thoughts of their own.

    December 27, 2007 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  5. David B, Sterling VA

    I have great respect for John McCain and his military service but, like Rudy, McCain has become a broken record. He never says anything substantitive, just: "I'm the one with experience."

    I won't be voting for McCain because of the way he plays both sides of the Iraq issue without ever actually committing to either, but I think he could attract more votes if he'd dump his recent stump speech and actually address topics again, as he did four years ago.

    December 27, 2007 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  6. Independent in IA

    "...I hate for anything like this to be the cause of any political gain for anyone.”

    But he's certainly jumping in to take advantage that nation's tragedy, as are the rest of the candidates.

    December 27, 2007 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  7. randy

    Since the death of benezir butto, all the politicial are coming out trying to bring back the issue of expereince if may as experince on what.the problem with us is that we don't know how to solve international problems. It is all about wisdom if you don't have it your experience is nothing. And I think obama have it the reason why america is confuse about him is that the have never seen a politician like him in history of american politics.well let me not forget obama 08!

    December 27, 2007 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  8. Kristy Sanborn, Buckhorn, Mo.

    HOW MANY DEMOCRATS have said the war needs to be over and bring our troops home? THANK YOU, Mr. John McCain for NOT saying that and for standing up to fight terrorists who do these things like this assassination!!!
    Mr. McCain IS the man for the job, and if this assassination doesn't make Americans see this now, nothing will. The Terrorists have to be stopped.
    Just this morning, CNN quoted Hillary as saying "…Her death is a tragedy for her country and a terrible reminder of the work that remains to bring peace, stability, and hope to regions of the globe too often paralyzed by fear, hatred and violence."
    This is contrary to how many times Hillary and numberous other democrats has said that the republicans in America are using 'fear' of terrorists to justify the war in Iraq.
    "regions of the globe", aren't we in America a region of the same globe Hillary now speaks of being TOO often paralzyed (by fear) by terrorists?
    Its not the Republicans trying to instill fear in America, its the terrorists and the crimes they commit.
    And what about what Hllary said about "work that REMAINS to bring peace, stability, and hope" to these regions?
    Work?
    Its war.
    And how many times has Americans read where Hillary did NOT support this war?
    Too many for me to feel comfortable with her being our President.
    Now that Bhutto has been assassinated, it makes me wonder if reality has set in on some Americans yet?
    Like this stuff REALLY does happen, and there is really a need to end it, and even if it means war, it has to be done.

    December 27, 2007 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  9. Grace D, Washington, Iowa

    Everyone is claiming to be the one with the most experience. No one is claiming to be the one with the least wisdom to know that those who attacked us on 9/11 were NOT in Iraq, and that invading Iraq was a bad idea.

    Let all these hot-heads clear-off and make way for a calm head like Obama.

    December 27, 2007 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  10. Kristy Sanborn, Buckhorn, Mo.

    And let America not forget some republicans who also have said this war needs to be over and bring our troops home. This assassination is tragic beyond words, but don't let the lady die in vain, she so wanted to stop the terrorists.
    I hope America can see this.
    I think it will be interesting now to see how many of our candidates now change their view on this war. Mr. McCain doesn't have to change his mind, he was against terrrorism from the beginning.
    MAYBE Americans will now see that our President George W. Bush was right on this war against terrorism......

    December 27, 2007 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  11. Ivelisse

    I'm very disappointed!!!! John should have AT THE VERY LEAST waited a few days to say something like this....opportunistic cheap-shot like this are left for the desperate and the Rudi's of the world......

    December 27, 2007 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  12. Richard, Ewing, NJ

    Dallen,

    The bomb Iran joke was exaggerated. Let us not forget that Obama actually advocated invading Pakistan, which was not a joke and got protests from Pakistan poliicans and demonstrations on the streets. That is the first time in US history that someone advocated an invasion of US ally, let's alone a nuclear armed US ally. Senator McCain is correct that he has extensive military, arms and international affair experience, only senator Biden can match his experience among the 2008 presidental candidates. I also believe Guiliani over plays his experience in against international terrorists. He was a good mayor reducing crime and he handled post-9/11 aftermath nicely, but those are not anti-terrorism experience. Guiliani has never visited Iraq, not once. He was invited to be a member of the Iraq Study group and he did not show, not one meeting.

    December 27, 2007 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  13. Jose Card - Independent

    Senator McCain is all for peace and humanity.

    Only those that have suffered from the hands of other human beings can appreciate humanity at his level.

    December 27, 2007 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  14. Rhino

    John McCain has the experience, morals, and disposition to lead this country.
    You have to look at the previously noted gaff on Iran from his attempt at levity.
    Every president since celluloid has been caught on tape saying/doing something that gets them unjustly branded. Can anyone claim to never have misstepped a topic or caught on some minute detail that has overshadowed the greater issue? If you can, then perhaps you should be running for president or pope, I'm not sure which.....
    McCain's real failure has been in not standing up for himself more – there have been many instances when Republicans and Democrats alike have tagged John and he should have swung back. But you see that's not his disposition. He turns the cheek, and begs to reason with his opponents until they prove unreasonable (as they did on the immigration bill, which if the public would take the time and effort to read would clearly see there is no provision for "amnesty"; it laid out the same plan that Huck is now proposing only was lax in addressing the border security up front).
    Americans need to stop taking the media's word for it and do their own homework on the things we claim are important, and I can't think of anything more critical than where our country is headed during the next decade.
    Where were you in the late 60s/early 70s?? I know I was growing up in a safe, secure neighborhood enjoying the comforts this country afforded my family.
    I also know where John McCain was – being beaten and humiliated in a POW confinement. Now think about where all the other candidates were during that same time.
    Who has given so much as McCain?

    December 27, 2007 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  15. Will

    I think John is going to turn it out after all. Heres to the"McComeback Kid"!

    December 27, 2007 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  16. Ross Rossi

    McCain is like all the others – he will DO and SAY "anything" to anyone – as long as it gets him elected. He is a JOKE!

    December 27, 2007 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  17. pbj, San Diego, CA

    Repeating the phrase "I'm the one with the most experience, maturity and judgment" does not make it so. But expect to hear that ten or twenty more times before 1/8/08. All of this experience was as a legislator–not an executive. They're fundamentally different. As a legislator you get to task people to go out and research issues for you and hold hearings, then you have them write the law for you. As president, you've got to make decisions on the fly, sometimes without perfect information. John was a cog in a big machine as a member of Congress, and still was a "maverick" (a euphemism for "could not play nicely with others"). There's nothing that leads me to believe the experience he touts would make him an effective leader of the executive branch. We should leave John where he is and pick someone with executive experience. On top of everything senators have a notoriously poor record as candidates for president.

    December 27, 2007 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  18. Nick

    So the fact that he has been to Pakistan makes him an expert? That does not make any sense, he goes over there as a Senator in a very protected environment. Trust in those who do business over there to fix this not some old blowhart politician. I am not sure why every American politician thinks they should get involved, I say let those who trade with the country help bring them around to change. Free markets are our best weapon to protect freedom and we seldom use it properly.

    December 27, 2007 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  19. John Halverson

    his experience is like Hillary's more of the same CRAP! this guy has his head so far up his a@# and it is really starting to show, he isn't looking very good. He is the prime example of a politician staying too long in Washington. He is way to out of touch to even continue as a politician in any capacity. another MORON!

    December 27, 2007 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  20. Ron M

    Rossi, what rock have you been living under?

    December 27, 2007 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  21. Terry Gloege (Kansas)

    What does it say about a person who would use another persons death for self-promotion?? By the way Senator, I'm still waiting to be hired for that $50.00 per hour onion picking job you claim we won't do.

    December 27, 2007 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  22. AJ, IL

    With a McCain presidency we will have more of the same, and maybe a little more. McCain militarily served his country but that doesn't make him right in the arena of foreign relations. McCain is the same guy who sung "BOMB BOMB BOMB, BOMB BOMB BOMB IRAN!" He is same guy who called for more US military presence in Asia to counter the build up of military by China. McCain is 71 years too old. If McCain is elected president, America will be involved militarily in Iraq, Iran, China, and Russia for at least 25 years. NO THANKS MCCAIN! BUSH HAS COST AMERICA PLENTY IN TERMS OF BLOOD AND TREASURY!

    December 27, 2007 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  23. Julie T

    Saddly, Ross on one level you may be right, most will make many promise (some empty) in order to get elected. But, when I compare them all, the one with the most integrity is John McCain;I have heard him during debates admitting to mistakes. It's the ones that don't admit their mistakes are the ones to be scared of. Look at Mitt Romney, this is man who has been caught in so many lies, from the Big Dig in Massachusettes (yes that is where I am from), to the hunting, to the seeing his father marching with Martin Luther King. If you want more lies,which Mitt was caught in just read the archives in the Boston Herald/Globe. If you do look in the archives you will notice a pattern with Mitt Romney, on most occasions when caught it is his spokesman that tries to explain it Mitts comments. When Mitt does try to speak, he blames others for misunderstanding him; cleary he has no concept of integrity. As for being the Commander in Chief of the United States; there is only one qualifed candidate, that is John McCain.

    December 27, 2007 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  24. Ross

    McCain would be a disaster as president. A clone of bush – and we all know how bush did!

    December 27, 2007 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  25. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    To Ron and Will, I'm a democrat and I took am hoping McCain is the "McComeback Kid" because he has the right credentials and we all need to listen. Additionally, I hope those people who have been living under "a rock" stay under that rock.

    December 27, 2007 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
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