May 1st, 2008
12:05 PM ET
10 years ago

McCain: Don't blame Pres. Bush for 'Mission Accomplished'


Watch John McCain's remarks on President Bush's 'Mission Accomplished' speech.

(CNN) - John McCain today said that President Bush was not to blame for the decision to speak in front of the famed “Mission Accomplished” banner aboard the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln five years ago.

“Do I blame him for that specific banner? of course not,” McCain told reporters during a press conference Thursday afternoon in Cleveland.

The presumptive Republican nominee said that he feels responsibility should rest with elected officials who made statements at the time that “were contradicted by the facts on the ground.”

McCain, who has been a fierce critic of former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for years, said again that the former cabinet member was to blame for misleading statements. “When the leaders of government – the Secretary of Defense – says that ‘there’s only a few dead enders,’ then that is an area that responsibility should be placed, in my view.”

Asked if there will ever be a moment when the United States’ mission will indeed be accomplished in Iraq, McCain responded: “I don’t know if you could ever say quote ‘mission accomplished’ as much as you could say ‘Americans are out of harms’ way.’”

Filed under: John McCain • President Bush
soundoff (104 Responses)
  1. Greg, NY

    Many conservatives love to hate McCain because of him being a so called 'maverick.'

    His maverick status leads me to wonder... did he fight for the North or the South?


    May 1, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  2. Cammi317

    Isn't he supposed to be distancing himself from Bush?

    May 1, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  3. JohnLee

    Mr McCain – who should be blamed? Hillary? Gomer Pyle? The Cat in the Hat? If he didn't approve of that banner or speech, don't you think he could have said pull it down and not said those words? McCain – I'm not sure but maybe you've been sniffing too much glue as you try to keep your campaign glued together these days.

    May 1, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  4. Uplift

    Senator McCain,

    I am really not stupid. Why do you make stupid statements about mission accomplished? For common people, we recognize when something IS or IS NOT accomplished in our daily lives and apply the same litmus test to the government. The president, and your partner, staged true drama about an untrue status in Iraq. Bush has to live with it and so do you. "Out of harm's way" by the way, means what?

    May 1, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  5. Obama 08

    The buck stops with Bush.

    May 1, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  6. Leon

    Why isn't the DNC making ads about all these comments and airing them country wide? Howard DEAN – WAKE UP!!

    May 1, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  7. Peter

    How about blaming him for "major combat operations are over?!"

    Peter S.

    May 1, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  8. Bob

    Sounds like McCain is trying to set up his future defense strategy.

    How does this statement (don't blame Bush) reconcile with his comments about Obama and Wright?

    May 1, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  9. sonny c.

    Bush is quick to claim credit when something good happens but is a master at ducking blame when things go bad. Bush has had enablers, like John McCain, his whole life. Well, this King , or spoiled frat brat, truly has no clothes.

    May 1, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  10. Phoenician, AZ

    Now, the Republicans are blaming each other 🙂 I'd much rather see THAT in the news.

    May 1, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  11. Brandon from WI

    Mission accompished is the US no longer having the need to be in Iraq. The sooner we are out, the better. If McCain is unwilling to get us out then hopefully a Deomcrat will.

    May 1, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  12. proud army and navy mom

    ok mccain, we'll play your game. say others gave bush conflicting information.... he's the commander in chief , he should have read the reports, investigated, got other opinions, used his brains and made smart decisions.

    is that asking too much. apparently so. Bush is responsible for over 4000 american soldiers death. countless innocent iraq's death. he had people tortured and kill during interrogation.

    if he didn't know he should have. but idiots like you and Hillary supported and his dumb decisions. you and hillary are just as much responsible for those lost lives as bush is. that is why i could never support or believe anything that proceeds out of your mouth.

    May 1, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  13. Pam

    Wow, McCain really doesn't want to win in November, does he?

    May 1, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  14. Sean

    And this is an example of exactly why, when this race is narrowed to being just between McCain and Obama, Obama will be able to soundly win the Presidency.

    May 1, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  15. Bushwhacked in Eugene, OR

    Whatever happened to the concept 'the buck stops here'? Of course he's to blame!

    May 1, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  16. Gorbashov, Long Beach, Ca.

    You mean it won't even be accomplished in "100 Years"?

    What a monumental blunder!

    May 1, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  17. Cynthia

    Who do you blame then? He was after all the President.

    May 1, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  18. Johnny

    This guy is nuts! There's plenty of blame to go around, and he needs to share it along with "W".

    May 1, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  19. O Man

    If Bush can't stand in front of banner to express the truth. Then the war was fought because of a lie.

    May 1, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  20. Doug R.

    The American people were told:
    The mission in Iraq has been accomplished, major combat operations in Iraq are over, democracy in Iraq is well established, the insurgency is in its death throes, the Iraqi people will greet us as liberators, Iraq is capable of defending itself. All of the above statements are false. Again, Bush has done nothing but lie to and mislead the American people since the day he took office. Now we have this pasty old man McCain who want to be the next President, following in Bush's footsteps. Go back to Arizona, McCain.

    May 1, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  21. VB Lincoln Park NJ

    If he didn't want it seen, why didn't he have it taken down.


    May 1, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  22. Griff

    "The Man of the Moment". John McCain.. If there ever was a Redeemer... John McCain. Can.

    May 1, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  23. KMAN

    I DO hold Bush responsible for everything done and said on his behalf by his own administration's spokesmen ... how can he take credit for things that may have gone right on his watch if he's not man enough to accept the blame for his adminstration's many many failures? The man has never been successful at any job he has held in his lifetime ... he is a worthless human being and just another ugly stain on American presidential history! MCCain is simply not credible when it comes to the speaking the 'truth' and he would make for a lousy leader!!

    May 1, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  24. Bob Stephens

    McSame,, please do America a favor and retire to a condo in Miami Beach or something......Your day has come and gone, a long time ago...

    May 1, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  25. Kimberly in Texas

    Trying to re-write history...Mr.McSAME

    May 1, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
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