March 26th, 2008
02:05 PM ET
7 years ago

Blitzer: McCain speech parts ways with some Bush policy

McCain parted ways with President Bush on two foreign policy issues in his speech Wednesday.
McCain parted ways with President Bush on two foreign policy issues in his speech Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Senator John McCain strongly defended President Bush’s strategies in Iraq and the war on terror Wednesday, and sharply rebuked his critics - but he clearly deviated from the president’s national security policy on two major issues.

Speaking before the World Affairs Council in Los Angeles, he rejected the president’s determination to keep the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba open. He also said it was time to negotiate a new global warming treaty.

“We can’t torture or treat inhumanely suspected terrorists we have captured,” he said. “I believe we should close Guantanamo and work with our allies to forge a new international understanding on the disposition of dangerous detainees under our control.”

On global warming and the international treaty that President Bush abandoned after taking office, McCain said: “There is such a thing as international good citizenship.” He added: “We need a successor to the Kyoto Treaty, a cap-and-trade system that delivers the necessary environmental impact in an economically responsible manner.”

But on Iraq, the senator remained firm to the president’s approach. “It would be an unconscionable act of betrayal, a stain on our character as a great nation, if we were to walk away from the Iraqi people and consign them to the horrendous violence, ethnic cleansing, and possibly genocide that would follow a reckless, irresponsible, and premature withdrawal,” he said.

The biting criticism of his two Democratic presidential challengers was hovering over those remarks – as well as several other passages in his speech - even though he didn’t mention either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama by name.

Related: Watch Bill Schneider's analysis of McCain's foreign policy speech

–CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (116 Responses)
  1. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    "I am not The Shrub" is an attractive pitch to many voters who can't stomach the thought of President Obama or Clinton.

    March 26, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  2. John J

    Mccain reminds of that alien in the movie "The thing" (John carpenter version) where it keeps mimicking other's around him to hide it's true idenity (Bush) I wont vote republican again ever after the crap they got us into.

    Obama/hillary 08 for sure.

    March 26, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  3. arty

    Do we want a person who calls himself an afracan first and than an american to be our next president ? his wife is finally proud to be an american. what do they talk about in the Obama household?

    March 26, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  4. California Independent

    To Tex, you asked who cares about McCain?

    Ha! Apparently nearly 30% of Clinton supporters (and another 13% will stay home and not vote for Obama.) Get a clue.

    If it isn't Clinton, McCain '08

    March 26, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  5. David

    Bush/McCain...what is the difference? Four more years of this crap? It is really funny that the Republicans believe Obama is "toast" and that the Dems are tearing each other apart. Wasn't it just eight years ago that the Bush campaign smeared McCain with the illegitimate black child thing regarding his wife? Another example of Republican hypocisy!

    March 26, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  6. Matt Canoga Park

    This speech was truely great and should help define what his vision is for America should he become president. While the other two people deal with their racist ministers and imagined sniper fire and promoting the idea that pleged delegates do not have to follow the will of the voting people (not a very "democratic" idea) McCain comes on strong and smart and looks more and more what America needs.

    McCain understands more than any other person running for the presidency what the horrible side of war can bring and looks to bring a smart solution to this problem. For that I am grateful he is running and has a good chance of being elected. I only wish people had the foresight to have done this 8 years earlier.

    I understand Steve's opinion that they may not be worth it. I totally sympathize with it. But ask yourself what if the French did not feel we were worth it when we wanted independence from unfair rule. What if we did not feel the French were worth it when unfair rule was placed on them. All evil need is for good people to stand by and do nothing.

    I don't want to be in a world where people feel that being a ostrich with their head in the sand is a smart world policy.

    March 26, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  7. Damien

    Obama or McCain 08
    Hillary Can't handle her own house hold. She can run the Free World.

    March 26, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  8. Jimmy ,Florida

    Hillary is ruinnig the dem party....Thanks Hillary we owe you 1 another
    rep. in the white house , but hey i rather have McCain then to ever vote for you .........

    March 26, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  9. Ryan

    I have the feeling that more Dems will deviate from Hillary if she is the nominee–I don't care what the polls say. Anyone that won't vote for a candidate just because their candidate didn't win is ridiculous and shouldn't be allowed to vote. Hillary and Obama have nearly identical policies. That's right BK, Thomas, Bayou Joe (honestly who writes that as a name and expects to be taken seriously)–I'm talking to you folks.

    March 26, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  10. actxent

    How many of you after living with your parents for 20 years did or agreed with everything they said? Did you not become your own person? You hypocrites.

    March 26, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  11. hazel in london

    McCain is all about the past. What can he offer anyone as a President at his age – more war – prolonged war? He is tired already! No, It's about the future – McCain is not the future America needs or wants.

    Obama will make the best president.

    March 26, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  12. Anybody but the BLACK guy, RIGHT??

    IT DOESN'T MATTER 'WHAT' MCAIN SAYS... HE CAN GO ON FAUX NEWS AND BLOW HIS NOSE ON THE AMERICAN FLAG, AND HE WILL WIN NOW....

    THANKS HURRICANE / SCORCHED EARTH, HILLARY !!!

    March 26, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  13. Larry Buchas

    Perhaps the Hillary supporters willing to vote for McCain will volunteer for Iraq? And Iran?

    Then they can claim to support the troops. Nothing like kissing up to liars.

    March 26, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  14. E. loz Miami

    Hilary 08 or Mccain 08...Obama-NEVER!

    March 26, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  15. To all registered Republicans

    Is McCain the best you've got? You gotta be kiddin me.

    March 26, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  16. FrankSZ

    Not a word about the falling economy and the weakening dollar.

    Way to go McCain-ites and of course the traitor Hillary supporters who are ready to switch party if their favorite candidate doesn't get elected.

    Here is the reality:
    -McCain is no real republican and neither Hillary a real democrat. Both are twisted Frankenstein monsters, born out of the mating of various ideas in the past 8 years and the ignorant people continue to follow them like lapdogs while the roof is sold off from above their heads and they can't even afford to buy gasoline anymore. BUT the war must go on, even if your sons and daughters get drafted and you are hitting the poverty level!
    Way to go , hurrah!

    March 26, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  17. Tommy

    Well Senator McBush this is just a reminder. The French walked away from Indochina (Vietnam) and we withdrew from the same conflict you were in, Vietman. Do you recall?

    Were those actions by two super powers " unconscionable" acts of betrayal? Or "stains" on the character of the two great nations?.

    We did walk away from Vietnam after losing 59,000 DEAD. Which is the lesser loss 4,000 dead or are you waiting to eclipse the 59,000 who died in Vietnam? The last time I checked we have Diplomatic and preferred trading relations with Vietnam and by all accounts Vietnam and the Vietnamese people are doing just fine.

    March 26, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  18. Dr. Truth, Boston

    I don't believe a word of it. He is absolutely chomping at the bit to drop his 1st bombs on Iran and get us all killed

    March 26, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  19. Dave, NY

    If the Iraqis want a civil war, what purpose would US intervention serve other than prolonging the inevitable. McCain's purpose cannot be solely humanitarian, then he will conscript our intervention in Darfur. McCain should come clean with a clear and concise description of victory in Iraq. We shouldn't put our troops in between two factions that want to war with each other.

    March 26, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  20. bond

    McBush is an old fool. Just like his mentor Dubya, do the opposite of whatever they say.

    March 26, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  21. kathleen "a typical white person" for OBAMA/EDWARDS 2008

    A coat of many colors.
    This man even sounds fake when he makes speeches. On
    the economy he can't pretend he cares, because he don't.

    March 26, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  22. jp/michigan

    If Obama is the nominee, John McCain has my vote!

    March 26, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  23. Doug R.

    McCain is a two faced flip flopper.

    March 26, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  24. Bill from Oklahoma

    I guess he is not the mirror image, but he is still mcbush.

    March 26, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  25. John McQueen

    McCain is a decent man and has earned the right to be taken seriously for the office of President (unlike the last republican candidate/and president), but he has got to stop having senior moments...at least in front of the TV-camera.

    March 26, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
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