February 4th, 2008
06:27 PM ET
10 years ago

McCain says popularity is due to Iraq surge

(CNN) – Republican presidential candidate John McCain said Monday, he owes his support in the presidential race to a successful troop surge in Iraq.

“If the surge had not succeeded I don’t think that I would have political viability,” the Arizona senator told CNN’s Dana Bash adding, most experts would agree with him.

The latest CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll shows 45 percent of registered Republican voters support McCain for their party’s nomination. Mitt Romney trails behind with 24 percent of support.

When questioned about recent criticism that he doesn’t have the temperament to be president, Sen. McCain used the opportunity to tout his conservative record and Republican support.

“We wouldn’t be winning these elections if I had any significant opposition anywhere in the party."

Related video: Watch a clip of Dana Bash's interview with Sen. McCain

- CNN’s Emily Sherman

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (100 Responses)
  1. Stephen,Wilmington,NC

    WRONG !!!! The old Republicans are voting for McCain because of his little Barbie Doll looking wife. McCain knows this that's why he has her hanging on his side all the time. Have you noticed? when ever you see him you see her.

    February 4, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  2. Jack

    I'm a white man. My dilemma is that I like Obama and Hillary, but I'm thinking I should vote for McCain because he is a white man. I read about women thinking they should vote their gender, and blacks thinking they should vote their race, and I am torn because I'm thinking that I should do the same. If they are right...then perhaps I should vote for McCain. I dislike double standards but people would call me a racis or sexist if I voted based on this criteria. What should I do? What is right for the country? Perhaps we need to look beyond race and gender?

    February 4, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  3. Adam

    McCain's work on with those on both sides of the aisle is by far his strongest suit, not his weakest. Only McCain has the courage to stand against what the politicol pollsters say will work and fight for what is right. McCain is one of the most accomplished persons in the country when it comes too leading. Anyone can expect the calculating, politicol support of their party. Only a true leader can bring lawmakers from accross the aisle to support what is right but difficult.

    And with McCain, the PROBLEMS in Iraq will be over sooner than with any other candidate. McCain knew from the start of the war that we had an unsuccessful strategy and pushed for the winning one right away. The troop surge IS WORKING. If we just pull out our troops, our military in Iraq might end, but our problems in Iraw will get worse and worse and stay for a long long time, and it WILL cost us lives down the road. With McCain's successful strategy, our problems in Iraq can be over completely in a few more years, with fewer and fewer casualties along the way. We will have built a strong ally in the middle east if we win with McCain in Iraq. If we leave with the DFL, we'll have allowed an enemy to grow under our nose, and we'll feel our mistake for many many years.

    If you want a true leader who can bring the country together, win and finish the war in Iraq, and restore discipline in spending in Washington, McCain is your candidate. If you want a political bargainer, who will quit on the Iraqi people, wont bring us together, and won't have the courage to stand up for the right but difficult position, vote for the DFL.

    February 4, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  4. Scott

    Why is it that the mainstream media refuses to report on the specifics of John McCain's anger? See Ronald Kessler's 1/11/07 NewsMax article entitled "Vanity Fair Tiptoes Around McCain's Explosive Temper." Those who know him best have provided chilling reports of his uncontrollable fits of rage bordering on mental instability. Why are these reports suppressed? Shouldn't we know something of the temperament of the man whose finger will be on the "Launch" button?

    February 4, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  5. Mohammad Ahmed

    JOHN MCCAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 4, 2008 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  6. Bev

    McCain's promise that he will get Osama Bin Ladden is reminisent of Bush. McCain stated that it may take a hundred years before the U.S. can leave Iraq. A vote for McCain is a vote to continue the wars in both Afganistan and Iraq as that is what he is mainly running on, the surge and his military career. His loyalty is to the military. So I question what kind of President he would make.

    February 4, 2008 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  7. K Wilkinson

    McCain takes credit for the surge-that is sooo funny. He is NOT the only candidate that supported the surge, although he would have you believe that he has single handedly rerouted the Iraq war. Don't buy into this fallacy America.

    February 4, 2008 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  8. erika morgan

    McCain is an honorable guy, but he is mistaken, the path to renewing America's standing as a great nation has nothing to do with conventual warfare. Culture in this World has matured past a place where the bully is revered, the time has come when strength is recognized in ability to negotiate a compromise that is fair to all parties. He thinks the debacle of a lost war that VietNam was, can be erased with a military victory.

    The great lesson of the World Wars is that they really were the war to end all wars. The incredible Marshall Plan rebuilt the devastated infrastructures and allowed an end national insecurities and false fears. The Marshall Plan, without the war, is far cheeper, and way less destructive to the planet and to humanity; also this sort of cooperation and respect can overcome most any disagreement.

    McCain desperately wants to gain the White House to purge the stain of his personal time at the Hanoi Hilton, but he is again mistaken, it would not work for him or for America. He is the only Republican who can pull Independent swing votes so he is the only one who will cause the Democrats any serious contention. The moral ground the Republicans are taking a stand on is so very flawed there is a real danger of them disappearing from our political scene.

    February 4, 2008 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  9. Reality Now, USA

    Former Rightie – that is the craziest plan I've heard yet. Congrats!

    February 4, 2008 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  10. Jen

    ONce again, claiming solitary responsibility for supporting the surge along with every other republican. McCain is soooo one-dimensional, has been in Washington all these years being part of the problem, cheats on his wife, otehr scandals, horrible temperament, almost changed parties to position himself to be president (*MOST EXTREME FLIP AWARD*)– he is UNFIT to be president.

    VOTE ROMNEY. Give America the strongest leader with proven success!

    February 4, 2008 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  11. Jordan

    I just love all the political progress that is happening in Iraq because of the surge, oh wait there is none. Which means a President McCain would keep troops in Iraq forever. Yeah! four more wars. Thats really what this country needs, more foreign policy blunders.

    February 4, 2008 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  12. Get Real McCain

    Anyone who not only voted for but in light of all the facts still believes invading Iraq was the right decision should be barred from office. He will not end a sentence without refering to Iraq. He has yet to be seriously challenged on Iraq but when democrats push him on it this angry old man will explode.

    February 4, 2008 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  13. Dominic

    McCain is head and shoulders better than Romney who's picture could be next to the definition of 'Flip-Flop'. Finish the job in Iraq and Afghanistan, get the economy back on track, and get back some respect in world opinion. Romney can't give this to us... nor Obama... maybe Clinton. This moderate Republican will be voting McCain in '08!

    February 5, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  14. Need a Change

    Let me see...graduated 894th out of 899th at the Naval Academy, subpar aviator, multiple flying incidents, rebellious attitude and sharp temper from the start? One has to wonder how much of McCain's Navy career was as a result of dad and/or grand-dad pulling the strings making things happen so that McCain didn't pull torpedo his own career.

    McCain joins a long list of hero’s who all went through hell as POW’s. That experience and time as a POW does not qualify him to lead our country.

    Yeah, let's put someone in the Oval Office who is the epitome of war-mongering, self-absorbed mediocrity. "Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran"? Over twenty years in office and what has he really done during that time? That’s a long, long time to make a positive difference and I don’t think it’s happened. Twenty plus years and the biggest kudos he gets is being called a ‘Maverick’. I don’t know if that’s just a moniker or another call-sign to relive his glory days. He’s part of Washington. He’s part of the problem.

    Let's not forget the serial-adultery. That screams integrity. If a person doesn't think twice about cheating on their spouse and can be trusted by their own family, would they really stop to think before screwing over the citizens of this country? That’s all we need; another skirt-chaser in the Oval Office.

    Here's an idea: How about putting somebody in office that will bring integrity back to the office of the presidency? Someone who has a lifetime of achievements and success? Someone who is honorable, has integrity and has a clue about solving problems? Hmmm....there’s a thought.

    America, we shouldn’t have to settle for average.

    February 5, 2008 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  15. William A

    All I had to hear was McCain say that he would like the stay in Iraq to be a hundred years! Then he coupled that with, he'd hunt down Osama for a hundred years if that's what it takes! We already had that line after the 9/11 when Bush stated, he would hunt them down and root them out! They're still rootin! 🙂 And It doesn't sound anymore logical when McCain says it.

    And whatever gives him the impression he'll be around for a hundred years??? Has he got an inside track on a new Time Capsule! Presto! Here's Little Johnny! He's to be praised for his military service but he falls a bit short on Math and Common Sense. Kids say the darndest things!

    February 5, 2008 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  16. tomdavie

    Its good to know that the EXACT SAME SPITE thrown at Hillary is the EXACT SAME SPITE thrown at Mc Cain by the Obama 'supporters' .

    All it means is that all these Obama supporters simply HATE anything and everything that stands in their way .

    Aint america grand?

    They are all 15 years old I swear to God.

    February 5, 2008 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  17. BA

    I'm sorry, but sending any of the three Senators (McCain, Clinton,or Obama) back to Washington is not the answer that America needs. America will get a lot of the same or worse than what it has right now. They have been in Washington and haven't gotten anything done. America will go no where on any stance, whether it be militarily or otherwise, if it doesn't have a strong economy. As much as a lot of people don't like Mitt Romney, he is the only one that can expose Washington for what it has done to this nation and turn it around so we, as a nation, can get back on track. Mitt Romney understands what kind of nation we will be living in if any of the Senators go back to Washington, that is exactly why he has put his money where his mouth is. He won't have anyone to payback but himself. None of the other canidates, Democrat or Republican, can say that.

    February 5, 2008 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  18. danielo

    Mccain, ever heard of the many deals made with the insurgents who are now literally being paid in US dollars using US tax payers to keep them away from fighting.
    How long are you going to tout these "surge sucesses" while paying the bad guys to down their guns? Its a good short term strategy to bring down violence.
    But be sure the bad guys are greedy and will most likely ask for more before long?

    February 5, 2008 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  19. Ethan

    I'm SICK of "NEWS" organizations not calling John McCain and his ilk out on outright lies like "the surge is working." The SURGE is NOT working. The SURGE was supposed to provide security for political progress by the Iraqi government. That has not happened. The SURGE is pure verifiable proof that our troops are being MISUSED and should come home immediately. And McCain's trumpeting the surge makes him the GOP liar of the week (beat out some tough competition).

    Of course more troops made Iraq more secure. DUHHH! Hulloooooo! Gen Shinseki called for more than 300k to make the whole country secure, remember that? That was BEFORE the war started in 2003. Helloooo!

    No political reconcilliation by Iraqis = THE SURGE HAS FAILED!

    C'mon CNN. This is pathetic. Can these people say anything they want and CNN will print it as fact? Where is the press on this? Unbelievable.

    February 5, 2008 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  20. Chris, Arizona

    I'm from Arizona. I know McCain. He's an arrogant old liar. I would never vote for him.

    Go Romney!

    February 5, 2008 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  21. Holland

    McCain may have served in the Military honorably, but please, hasn't he been compensated enough. America does not owe him the White House for that. I know lots of good men who fought in Vietnam some who died,many of those great men have received nothing, not even respect for their efforts, one is my deceased brother. McCain has been in Washington for 30 years and what has he done but divide his own party. I say we've had enough of self-serving McCain.

    No vote here for McCain.

    February 5, 2008 03:16 am at 3:16 am |
  22. Jay

    Does Sen. McCain believe we need a military draft ?

    February 5, 2008 04:43 am at 4:43 am |
  23. Shawn

    A vote for McCain is a vote for World War 3. Old politics and old wars. Iraq was a big mistake, McCain is a big part of that big mistake. And the surge is his claim to fame. Bring back the draft – by bringing back McCain. Think about your sons and grandsons. Wake up.

    February 5, 2008 05:22 am at 5:22 am |
  24. 30%er

    as a republican who believes in science, (dont know what that has to do with the story) I could make the arguement that theres a lot of polititions on both sides of the isle that are worthy of extended stays at the funny farm. The story above is asking if McCains popularity is due to the surge in Iraq ? I don't think so. Its due to the hype in dem/lib fake support of McCain and Huck not dropping out of the race. Dem/libs know a rep candidate cant win without total support of the rep party as a whole, the 3 legged stool that rush was talking about ? By tuesday night we will see where republicans stand .

    February 5, 2008 05:23 am at 5:23 am |
  25. G Morgan

    McCain will have us in another war in a "heartbeat". This time it will be Iran.
    Anyone with any intelligence should know that the only candidate who is
    truly qualified to be President is Hillary Clinton.....
    She will indeed clean up the mess that all of these "men" have made!!!!

    February 5, 2008 06:09 am at 6:09 am |
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