February 28th, 2008
11:56 AM ET
5 years ago

McCain continues Iraq back and forth with Obama

 McCain is campaigning in Texas Thursday.

McCain is campaigning in Texas Thursday.

(CNN) - John McCain Thursday continued his attacks on Barack Obama over the issue of Iraq, saying the Illinois senator isn't focused on how victory can be achieved there.

"Yesterday Senator Obama said, 'Well we shouldn't have gone in in the first place. If we hadn't gone in the first place we wouldn’t be facing this problem.' " McCain said at a town hall event in Houston, Texas. "Well that's history. That's the past. That's talking about what happened before. What we should be talking about is what we're going to do now."

McCain's comments follow a back-and-forth between the two candidates on Wednesday over Obama's remarks at a recent debate regarding what he would do if al Qaeda establishes a presence in Iraq after American troops left.

"I always reserve the right for the president ... to make sure that we are looking out for American interests," Obama said during Tuesday's debate. "And if al Qaeda is forming a base in Iraq, then we will have to act in a way that secures the American homeland and our interests abroad."

McCain criticized Obama for the remarks, saying "It's a remarkable statement to say that you would send troops back to a place where al Qaeda has established a base - where they have already established a base."

Obama quickly hit back, declaring, "There was no such thing as al Qaeda in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq."

- CNN's Carol Cratty and Alexander Mooney contributed to this report


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. mk

    okay, so John, what you YOU going to do about the economy?
    Ask George?

    February 28, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  2. Bruce

    Senator McCain wants to "win" the war, which sounds commendable, but which war? The war on terror? The war against Iraq? Against Al Quaeda? If we stay the course until the terrorists surrender, are captured, or all dead, it might take a few decades. The "War on Terror" has been described as global and ongoing, requiring international intelligence cooperation and lots of patience. The sort of things that are done by police, the FBI and the CIA. The war in Iraq was never about terrorists, so why is McCcain still pretending it is? I'm sure that if we invade another country, Al Quaeda would show up there as well.Is it possible that being a POW does not automatically qualify a person to be commander in chief?

    February 28, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  3. slapstick, FLORIDA

    I am SICK SICK SICK of McCain bashing Obama. No one has named Obama as the Democratic nominee so McCain needs to slow his Trucker. It is amazing that he has not attacked HRC. What's up with that?

    February 28, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  4. TheLeftNut

    Our boys and girls are putting their lives on the line to protect ANOTHER country's constitution and babysitting
    ANOTHER country's dysfunctional government.

    February 28, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  5. Alberto

    You know. I have no idea why Barrack saying he has opposed the war since the very beginning, He was not sworn in until 2004 so he was not even there in the beginning to vote for or against the war so he was not even there to drive the "Bus into the ditch". He of course says he would have voted against the war from the very beginning but that does not change the fact he was not even there. He may have vocally opossed the war but he continues to vote for funding of the war. How can people keep buying this stuff?

    February 28, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  6. Vince

    DID HE JUST SAY "WELL, THAT'S HISTORY... THAT'S THE PAST...??"

    TELL THAT TO THE FAMILIES OF THOUSANDS OF SERVICEMEN AND WOMEN!!!!

    UN-FREAKING- BELIEVABLE !!!!!!!

    February 28, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  7. Vince

    (please let this post through, Moderator... )

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    DID HE JUST SAY "WELL, THAT'S HISTORY… THAT'S THE PAST…??"

    TELL THAT TO THE FAMILIES OF THOUSANDS OF SERVICEMEN AND WOMEN!!!!

    UN-FREAKING- BELIEVABLE !!!!!!!

    February 28, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  8. Keith Cornelius

    OBAMA, is nothing more than a blatant idiot who has so many young people snowed by his empty promises and his lack of knowledge !!

    February 28, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  9. Niky

    I think John McCain to sit and listen to Barack Obama's comments in the debate. He 'may' realize that Obama did say that once the bus is in the ditch there are only so many ways of getting it out of there. He UNDERSTANDS that what has been done has been done and he needs to look at what he CAN do in the future... given a chance.

    February 28, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  10. Grif

    Why not spell the word " Aqaida", sounds like the same to me... (Arabic). Arab's have always been in Iraq.

    February 28, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  11. Tim T.

    McCain said, ""Well that's history. " Those that don't learn from history are condemned to repeat it.

    February 28, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  12. mary murphy

    I AM NOT QUITE SURE WHY THERE IS A BIG FUSS BEING
    MADE OVER
    USING BARACK OBAMAS MIDDLE NAME,ITS NOT LIKE THAT SOME
    ONE MADE IT UP,ITS THE REAL THING.IF HE IS ASHAMED OF IT HE
    SHOULD NEVER HAVE TOLD ANYONE.SHAME,SHAME ON THIS BEING AN ISSUE WHEN THERE ARE SO MANY MORE IMPORTANT
    THINGS TO DISCUSS,LIKE HOW ARE THE ORDINARY MINIMUM WAGE WORKIN PEOPLE GONNA BE ABLE TO SURVIVE IN THIS
    ECONOMY SUCH AS OURS.$4.00 FOR GASOLINE, $5.00 FOR A GALLON OF MILK.COME ON PEOPLE DEAL WITH THE MAIN ISSUES.
    A NAME IS A NAME AND ITS ONLY STANDS OUT,IN THE WAY YOU LIVE UP TO IT. THANK YOU
    SINCERLY MARY MURPHY

    February 28, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  13. Victoria Poupko

    In connwction with MacCain declaration about "Victory" in Iraq. His "victory" is nothing, but to kill as many Iraqis, as possible. And he even doesn't think about Americ an casualities. No more Reps to the power! Enough blood, wars, poverty. Victoria Poupko

    February 28, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  14. Jose'

    So, apparently Barack is saying if Al-Qaida is in Iraq, we should fight them?

    If you are trying to run for president, don't be ignorant enough to try to deny that is precisely what American Troops have been doing in Iraq for the past 5 years!!!

    February 28, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  15. INDY PENDENT

    I am Curious why CNN has closed the Comments so quickly for :
    Obama still battles Muslim myths and
    RNC denounces use of 'Hussein' in Obama's name

    Wasn't this the same CNN that enjoyed the Romney/Mormon Comments...

    I find this very telling of CNN and it's infatuation with Obama and its reluctance to allow debate or comment on Muslims.

    I will be very surprised if CNN Posts this. Rarely will CNN Post if comment calls them out.

    February 28, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  16. UCLAdy04

    "Well that's history. That's the past. That's talking about what happened before. What we should be talking about is what we're going to do now."

    What a ridiculous statement! HOW we got into the Iraq War matters a great deal. To suggest that it doesn't matter is remarkably absurd. Notice how he wasn't able to refute the charge that the US is the one who brought Al Qaeda into Iraq and he also did not refute the charge that Al Qaeda in Afghanistan is stronger than in 2001!

    Based on the past, there is no reason any logical person would entrust this guy with the position of commander in chief with his "100 years in Iraq" outlook.

    February 28, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    This shows Obama's lack of experience

    February 28, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  18. Mary

    Senator Obama was certainly correct on the Iraq war situation. I feel Senator McCain has his head in the sand if he thinks we are really winning in and stablizing in that country.

    February 28, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  19. Ann Aloha FariMedia, PA

    I wonder what happed to all the educated Obamanites that tried(unsucessfully) to discredit Senator Clinton and John Edwwards? WOW something must be brewing...OH THAT'S RIGHT!!!!
    T Y P H O O N N A D E R

    February 28, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  20. Sumter, VT

    Of course he's going to talk about Iraq because he's a one note president. That's all he can talk about. Have you ever seen his face when the subject turns to the war, he smiles. As if there is something to smile about. Lives and money have been lost, and he's smiling. Vote no for the man who wants us to stay in Iraq for 100 years.

    O/08

    February 28, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  21. Paul from Kissimmee

    Is this proof enough that Obama really is in over his head?

    February 28, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  22. Debbie

    Don't you hate when people don't want to own up to their mistakes and say "well thats history" and say we have to move forward. I agree,
    move forward, but not with the same mentality that made you make the
    wrong decision in the past. The Bush administation, including McCain thought they were right in the past, won't admit that they were wrong in sending the troops and now McCain wants a chance of being commander in cheif with the same attitude. The American people are not stupid. A little slow but not stupid.

    February 28, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  23. Sue, Michigan

    This is stupid, but it sure allows Hillary to spend her time making her case with people. And what is McCain's plan, exactly? Oh, yeah, stay the course for 100 years. I'm sure that's just what Iraqis want to hear. By the way, the US soldiers are going to be here for generations making rules and shooting people for you. Any more millions want out? And where is the story on CNN about McCain's birthplace-can he even RUN for President? Hang in there, Mike!

    February 28, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  24. applecrispbetty

    McCain shouldn't act like some sort of know-it-all regarding Iraq. He doesn't know any more than anybody else. He used to think WMD's were there.

    February 28, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  25. What Senator McCain Said is True ...

    The Problem, Mr McCain, is that with that P-A-S-T decision ... "You Now Have The Blood of Almost 4-0-0-0 Lives on Your Hands". More Americans have died in the Iraq conflict than died on 9/11.

    If the people who attacked on 9/11 are TERRORIST (and they a-r-e/w-e-r-e) Then What Are We ... In Iraq?

    February 28, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
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