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. karen from philly

    look McCain is not so annoying and irritating as Hillary but at the same time he has the least interest in the american people. He has to be told by other people to start talking about the economy, come on this is ridiculous. First of all, the Bush GOPs don't even know that there is a recession and they only care about themselves. And the rich get richer!! Please America don't vote for another BUshie.

    May 1, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  2. clear thinking

    Oh yeah it wasn't Bush's fault... we all know he's been lead by the hand through this presidency. Remember, at the beginning he could barely string a sentence together. To be honest I'm suprised the US is in as good shape as it is, and thats saying something.

    Bottom line the Buck stops at the top! If they want some of the responcibility to trickle down, as well, then so be it. He should be impeached, and along with his cronies get locked away for things they have done.

    May 1, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  3. Kevin Leo (Jonesboro, GA)

    Wow – don't blame Bush for Mission Accomplished?!?!

    The last time that I checked Bush was the president when this idiotic statement and banner was made. who are we to blame John? This is why I am not too worried about the general election – the more the public will truly see just how out of touch with reality McCain really is.

    Democrats '08

    May 1, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  4. FEDUP

    I like McCain better then Obama. At least we know McCain loves this country with all its warts.

    May 1, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  5. gaea in NC

    "responsibility should rest with elected officials who made statements at the time that “were contradicted by the facts on the ground.”

    Statements like "Mission Accomplished"?

    May 1, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  6. clear thinking

    McCain is a joke!

    May 1, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  7. Unshrub

    FIrst he his for Bush, then he is against him. He is against the tax cut, then he is for it. He is for campaign reform, then he violates his own law. Does he even know that he did the day before? Obama is going to make mince meat out of him.

    May 1, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  8. Chriss

    Mabe McCain should read the speech or watch the video of the speech by Bushie on that day.

    He declared victory.

    Bushie said he was going to invade Iraq BEFORE he was appointed president on three different occasion on camera. He used 9/11 as an excuse.

    May 1, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  9. Jen

    Don't blame the president, blame his subordinates??
    So if McCain wins we should always blame the subordinates for everything gone wrong, not the commander in chief.

    May 1, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  10. Girl 2

    Any body but McBush.. McSane. and McBilliary.... LOL

    May 1, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  11. DJ, LA, CA

    So now this whole "Mission Accomplished" victory speech blunder is all Sec. Rumsfeld's fault?

    How convient to make him the fall guy. Did Rumsfeld advise him to put on the flight suit as well?

    Please...give us a break John.

    May 1, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  12. Venus

    OK. We won't blame Bush – we'll blame you and Hillary!

    May 1, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  13. Eric

    Making comments like these just shows he's too old. So when he says stupid things in the future like Bush has in the past are we supposed to look the other way?

    May 1, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  14. Phoenician, AZ

    "Go back to Arizona, McCain"
    – Ehhh, no, thank you!!
    McCain should just quitely retire and continue spending his wife multi-million fortune.

    May 1, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  15. vict

    That' s exactely the reason why you can't get elected as BUSH as MC you guys just playing with Amecans as if we were children.OBAMA08

    May 1, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  16. Veterans for Obama

    Why would this Dinosaur defend Bush....Thank God the Dems. only have McCain to contend with in November, he's self destructive, any other Republican would be giving us a run for our money the way Hillary is tearing this party apart!

    May 1, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  17. Griff

    Nuclear Warfare?? Do's anyone know an Alternative for Iraq.
    2003 could have been just that, if Iraq had been ignored. Israel! Will be there, long after Iran, become's another "Mission Accomplished"..

    May 1, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  18. Tom

    I blame you too McSame!

    May 1, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  19. Greg

    Standing up for Bush doesn't make McCain look very smart. Why don't we hold a lottery to elect the next Prez.? I'm not sure we can do much worse. All the candidates look like bad jokes. Vote for Cheech and Chong because we need some serious medication.

    May 1, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  20. Stephanie, PA

    Wow. We shouldn't blame the president for saying "mission accoplished" out of his mouth? And, he stood in front of that banner in a Air Force bomber jacket. Neither he nor his administration never thought to check those statements against actual on the ground facts?

    He was happy as a pig in slop to put on the jacket and stand with real soldiers and look impressive. He has been a happy puppet of Dick Cheney for the past 7 years! He's done nothing but continue to lie to the American public and the world (Keep in mind that alligience to him ultimately got Tony Blair removed from office!), as well as keep American soldiers in battle.

    The sad part is that John McCain (and his Straight Talk Express) won't stand up and admit that GW has led us all down a disaterous path. I respect his service to this country, but I have absolutely no intention on voting for him!

    Obama '08

    May 1, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  21. Jeff, Hampshire, IL

    Oh give me a break! The President isn't responsible for his actions? For his appointing the other idiots who are also responsible? Call this man McBush or McSame, but don't call him our future president. We've had enough! 264 days to go and Bush is a private citizen and can continue to be the idiot we all expect him to be.

    May 1, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  22. Jack Jodell, Minneapolis, MN


    May 1, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  23. tidho

    McCain has a point given that he was just reporting what he was told by the commanders. Of course he should have been far more specific about which mission he was referring to.

    That said, what an incredibly idiotic thing for McCain to say politically.

    May 1, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  24. Viet Nam Vet

    Doug R.- -Precisely my man!

    Oh, Then there's that other little thing- -WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO THE 9 BILLION $ THAT IS STILL MISSING IN IRAQ

    May 1, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  25. Paris

    It amazes me how ignorant some are.
    War is a war and no one said it will be easy and pretty.
    Most of you don’t even have an idea of the culture and complications that we
    have to face in Iraq. You can’t always be on the defense, some time you must be on the offensive to stay a head of the
    terrorists. The technology is advancing for everyone including the terrorist. So you must take different measures.
    Al-Qaida said American’s don’t have the stomach to finish this war.
    Democrats are playing right into there hands.
    I am sure Obama and Hillary know we can’t just pull out of Iraq but they just say it to score political points.
    Call me old fashion but I don’t appreciated when politicians play politics with our National Security.
    This is not about Bush this is what we must face in the 21st century.
    Open your eyes people.

    May 1, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
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