(CNN) – A day after the fifth anniversary of the start of the Iraq war and with Americans increasingly worried about their economic security, Sen. Barack Obama said Thursday that the Bush administration had misled the public about the economic costs of waging a military campaign in Iraq.
“What no one disputes is that the cost of this war is far higher than what we were told it would be,” said Obama. “We were told this war would cost $50 to 60 billion and that reconstruction would pay for itself out of Iraqi profits. We were told higher estimates were nothing but baloney. Like so much else about this war, we were not told the truth,” he added.
The conflict in Iraq has cost $608 billion according to a House Budget Committee report but some estimates put the long term costs of the war at $3 trillion.
Noting that the Bush administration has given wartime tax cuts to wealthy Americans which McCain once opposed but now supports, Obama said “No matter what the costs, no matter what the consequences, John McCain seems determined to carry out a third Bush term.” “That is an outcome American can’t afford,” Obama added.
As for Sen. Clinton, Obama noted a recent Clinton attack on McCain for supporting policies that have led to the country’s war costs. “Her point would have been more compelling had she not joined Sen. McCain in making the tragically ill-considered decision to vote for the Iraq war in the first place,” said Obama.
The McCain campaign called Obama “fundamentally wrong” on the economy and national security in a statement issued in response to Obama’s remarks. “On the economy, Senator Obama offers the tired tax and spend ideas of the past,” the statement said. “On national security, Sen. Obama would rather rehash the past than look forward with resolve to address fundamental challenges and opportunities we have today to secure our future,” the McCain campaign added.
In a recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, 7 in 10 Americans said they thought the government’s spending on the Iraq war was responsible for the country’s troubled economy. Recent polling also shows that a majority of Americans believe the country is in a recession and that the economy is the number one issue for the pubic by a 2-to-1 margin over the Iraq war which ranks as the second most important issue.
McCain was recently in the Middle East with other members of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Sen. Clinton gave a speech Wednesday that emphasized her plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq if she wins the White House.
Related: War costs weigh on Bush legacy
–CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart