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. Kevin The K in SEA

    Americans will NEVER be "out of harms' way" so long as we remain in Iraq. Our proud military (and the war-profiteers who supply them) will be a target for extremists so long as we are in that country.

    I suppose we could wall ourselves inside an impregnable fortress in the middle of a wilderness within Iraq and never come out, but what will that accomplish?

    May 1, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  2. Richard, FL

    Bush was the incompetent that appointed all the incompetents.

    Making excuses for the most unpopular president in modern history isn't a bright way to get elected. The only people McCain can fool are the 28%ers who nodded in agreement when Bush said "We'll stay the course" and then nodded in agreement again when Bush said "We've never been stay the course".

    May 1, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |

    birds of the same fether

    May 1, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  4. Louis

    With the McCain as the presumptive nominee from one of our two major political parties, I weep for our nation.

    May 1, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  5. mitch from ark.

    keep making excuses for your illegal war!you should all be arrested for misleading the american people,into supporting this war!mccain,bush,cheney,clinton,rumsfeld,and the rest of you may be in legal trouble,after this election,for occupying iraq for oil and profits.ron paul and obama are the only candidates without blood on their hands.

    May 1, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  6. Beltway Insider

    Word on the street here in DC is that a very large contingent of uncommitted superdelegates have already decided to go with Obama. This daily trickling of superdelegates throwing their support behind Obama is part of a plan to end the nomination next Tuesday.

    More are going to commit each day, then Monday or early Tuesday, a substantial number will make their announcement supporting Obama all at once.

    Rumor is that the majority of the remaining superdelegates are involved. We'll see next week.

    May 1, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  7. desert kid

    Maybe Bush shouldn't have grandstanded by flying onto the aircraft carrier. McCain and Bush are one and the same. Either knows how to fight a war. We should have concentrated on Afghanistan and Bin Laden–not Iraq.

    Bush and McCain took their eye off the ball.

    That Mission Accomplished banner will forever haunt Bush.

    May 1, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  8. James

    Is the "Songbird", "Kitten5", "MccainFeingold", "MIA/POW's nightmare", "Airbus best friend ", ..... out of touch with the american people and the reality OR does he think we are stupid OR does he think we already forgot OR IS HE A MORON?

    Check Amazon's best sellet book: The Revolution A Manifesto if you are interested in the Truth!

    May 1, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  9. John, Brooklyn, NY

    Someone please give Mr. McCain a copy of the US Constitution – ahem...Secretary of State is NOT an ELECTED position.

    Mr. McCain is factually correct on one issue – the blame belongs to any number of elected officials – inlcuding Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, and the cheerleaders in Congress (including Mr. McCain) who gave them un-monitored free reign to launch a war with no reliable intelligence, no solid execution plan, and no exit strategy.

    May 1, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  10. NickNas

    WOW!!! Will this guy EVER get his head out of Bushs Arse????

    May 1, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  11. Stacy Clarks

    this is ridiculous!!! does mccain think we are dumb idiots?!?!

    like did Bush HIMSELF not give a speech that VERY same day pretty much saying mission accomplished!!!!

    are we to believe that a mysterious banner had the ENTIRE nation fooled?!?!? So then why did Bush not refute the banner? he had 5 years to do so!!!

    Did bush himself not say we would only be in there 90 days?!?!

    people are DYING, our children are dying, and McCain is talking about a BANNER?!?!?1

    McCain, you are a FOOL, and you are not fit to lead this nation!!!!

    May 1, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  12. American Girl

    And Why not, Senator McShame?

    He was the one who pulled rank with Executive Privileges by saying "The Buck Stops Here", instead of allowing congress to take objective views and discuss going to war. He and the 'Team" he selected made it Anti-American to oppose his position. And as always old politics made you and Clinton vote for the war.

    McShame, I believe we should change your name to McBush and not even list you on the Presidential Ballot in November.

    I am just waiting for that repressed anger of yours to lash out against Rumsfield.

    Bush got us into this mess with his first speech 'Axis of Evil' , after that statement HIs Mission was accomplished..... He got us into a War in order to make himself the infamous worst President this country has ever had.

    In addition, his statement "You either for us or against us" alienated us from allies.
    If you want to get elected follow the polls and 'RUN FOREST RUN"

    In truth, I feel a bitter since of relief that he is leaving.. Why becasue Hillary or Barack will have to unravel this mess and it is going to be a nightmare!

    May 1, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  13. Anne M

    After reading all these comments, i am of the Opinion that re-electing George Bush was the biggest mistake in history.
    Another Republican will probably do the same thing, and the war will continue to go on, for who knows how long.
    Obama is an "Empty Suit" talking about change, but never says what change.
    I believe Hillary can make a difference in the WHITE HOUSE, and I am for her 100!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 1, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  14. Paris

    I will debate everyone of you on this.
    I know how they can change your life, my life was changed because of
    radicals that we are fighting now.
    It is very easy to sit behind your computer and bash all decision makers.
    Your personal hate for Bush must not overshadow your support for democracy in middle east.
    Why not put all this effort in supporting the troops and their mission. If you are so for change,
    why not stand behind the troops and the president to finish this job once and for all.
    Stop hiding behind rhetoric’s of politicians and come together and defeat this enemy radical Islam.

    May 1, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  15. Greg P.

    McCain & Bush...

    The Buck Stops... THERE!

    May 1, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  16. No to McCain

    Nothing is Bush's fault... It is all the fault of us electing him... Just blame the majority of Americans and the wrong mindset we have as how our president should be. Just CHANGE the mindset and make sure we don't make the mistake again.

    May 1, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  17. kathleen retired Professional w/woman for obama

    Mission Accomplished! American's not only voted for him once but
    twice.We should have pulled our men out that day. Why didn't we.I want to know what was the purpose of staying? Oil? Please no more Republicans. Please! 4,000 Soldiers, thousounds seriously wounded, a country destroyed, and millions of Iragis dead. Are not we a great nation?. We want to be a great nation once again.

    I was a Kerry supporter. I am now and Obama supporter. A Clinton
    in the White House to "make deals" with selling our jobs for "personal
    pocket change. What will stop Bill Clinton from continuing taking
    millions from Dubai and Columbia. His contact people will be right
    in front of his nose. And Hillary will look the other way and deny.\

    Women, Racists, they are selling your jobs. If you vote for Hillary,
    you are ultimately voting against your family because Hillary cannot
    accomplish a thing. She is too busy catering to both sides and the
    lobbyist. Nothing will change.

    May 1, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  18. Tejano

    At least you will have a nation to weep for. If obama is elected, there will be no nation to weep for. This will be the beginning of the end.
    The New Roman empire will be destroyed from within.

    Maybe that is our destiny. The Republic of Texas will rise again.

    May 1, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  19. Delaware

    Who you want us to blame? Maybe we will blame you McCain.

    May 1, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  20. Look byond

    Here we go again with the MCCAIN-BUSH policy.

    WE will be in IRAQ fo 100 YEARS.


    May 1, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  21. Mike

    For anyone who wants to speak negatively about Senator McCain, go for it, though PLEASE don't bash his patriotism/heroism in the same sentence.

    Let's not forget what this Gentleman endured?

    Kepp the issues seperate?

    Show some respect!

    May 1, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  22. Mike Birmingham, AL

    There is no way this guy is going to win in November.

    Nobody wants 4 more years of Bush.

    May 1, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  23. Korean War Vet

    Wow – we should not blame Bush for is spoken words "Mission Accomplished" but we should blame Barack for the spoken words of another person, Rev. Wright.

    Come on people where is the Double standards?

    McShame you are weak and you are giving Bush an outlet to blame others for his failed policies which have resulted in the deaths of over 4000 soilders and couontless Iraq civilians. At lease we now have the opportunity to vote for someone who when faced with a difficult decision to distance himself from the erroneous and flawed words spoken by someone that he has a relationship with, can do it with Presidential Leadership and Integrity

    You McShame can't do that, even when you know Bush was wrong and used flawed judgement.

    OBAMA 2008 and 2012!

    May 1, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  24. LandoftheFree

    War is historically unpredictable. i.e.., hell. To lay blame for lack of foresight within it's midst is obsurd. 5 yrs ago today, 69% of America supported the Iraq war and Bush. Who's to blame for lack of foresight??

    May 1, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  25. shane

    Actually one can blame Bush, clinton and Mccain for the sign. If they hadn't authorized the war in the first place, there woulnd't of been a sign.

    May 1, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
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