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. Rodney

    McLame, I thought you were different but you are more the same as Bush. What in the world, you should think before you speak McStain. You are out of touch, this black independent is looking towards the dems in november. Barrack or Hillary

    May 1, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  2. Jason

    Tommy Franks said he was the one who was responsible for the mission accomplished sign. It was mission accomplished for the crew of the carrier coming home. It wasn't mission accomplished for the war. Bush said we still had major operations ongoing. At the time there was no violence. The violence was created by firing the iraqi army and the baath party.

    May 1, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  3. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    That's right we all want a Commander in Chief who isn't the commander at all, someone else is, blame it on them. That's what we'll get in John McCain, just as irresponsible as Bush.

    May 1, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  4. Saad from NJ

    Being a democrat myself, I still respect Senator McCain for not planning on getting out of Iraq overnight because that would be disastrous – but now for McCain to give me a feeling that he has no end in sight is more scary to me than Donal Rumsfeld being the Secretary of Defense and Cheney being our country's VP.

    May 1, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  5. Jack Walden

    Hello Mr. McCain.
    Maybe this is a news to you but the buck always stops with the President.
    But of course, Bush was so dumb that the reality never dawned on him. Heck for him, the economy is still booming and he is winning in Iraq!

    May 1, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  6. Gene B

    Mr McCain:

    You know as well as any military leader than when it all goes to hell in a hand basked, the COMMANDER takes the heat. Or at least you SHOULD know that as a former military officer.

    If you don't "get this" then you are NOT ready to be our Commander in Chief!

    Retired E-7

    May 1, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  7. fontapa

    LOL, thanks for another great perpetual war soundbite, John! We dems love it when you continue to profess your love for this illegal, inept, corrupt war. Better get cracking on how you're going to spin these statements. Mission's never gonna be accomplished....

    Geez, who could have scripted the post-Bush Republican more of the same candidacy better than that? You and Joe Leiberman enjoy your life in political exile together, Maverick!

    May 1, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  8. Paul

    We shouldn't blame the president for things the president said. It is unfair and unpatriotic.

    May 1, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  9. Louis

    TO THE BLOGGER "PARIS": You said you want to debate–OK, let's debate.
    –The 9/11 hijackers were not from Iraq
    –Al Quaida had no significant presence in Iraq prior to our invasion
    –The were no major WMD'S

    May 1, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  10. Allan

    Our mission will be accomplished on Jan. 20, 2009 when Barack Obama is sworn in as your next President of the United States.

    May 1, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  11. Uncle Sam

    Many of us have a difficult time putting Sen. McCain in a political box. He is clearly his own man, seeking to be true to himself and the country he loves. Call me idealistic, but I believe that John McCain is the American president Americans have been waiting for. They just don't know it yet.

    May 1, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  12. priscilla from new jesey

    okay what is this banner soppose to be about? what the fact they found saddam hussein? come on thats mission accomplished. no mission accomplished is when they catch bin laden

    May 1, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  13. raf

    Wait, who appointed Rumsfeld again?

    Oh, right. Bush.

    May 1, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  14. herb

    maybe mac wants to blame charles keating.

    May 1, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  15. mike

    Aren't you supposed to be distancing yourself from bush John McSame?

    May 1, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  16. rice, bryan

    paris i think your are out gunned on this issue. just lay down and play dead. i was in the service, and i still wouldn't vote a republican into office. the military doesn't starve under any president no matter how dumb that president is. how many of your brother in arms had to die because of the wmd lie? how many of your brother in arms have died having their hands tied trying to find bin laden? i am not bad mouthing the people doing their duty, just the person putting them in harms way for a bunch of lies. let me make that clear i am bad mouthing GW, and anyone that voted to go into iraq.

    May 1, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  17. Sonia CA

    John, you probably don't ever REMEMBER that day! you are toooo old. His mission became a bring our country down. Think about, the whole world hates US, our economy is down, the gas price is up, our food is more expensive, our homes are worth NOTHING, our education is so expensive, our health care is extremetly expensive and Bush, the idiot is "dancing" everywhere? you will do the same in the White House, except of dancing, you will be sleeping, you're tooo old John!

    May 1, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  18. Mike

    To Allan,

    LOL, you are dreaming!

    First of all, Senator Clinton will wrap up the nomination (Rev. Wright made certain of that), forget about the math!

    A Clinton is a Clinton, and don't ever underestimate a Clinton!

    Besides, NObama, could NEVER win out over McCain!

    May 1, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  19. Kathryn Irby - Metairie, LA

    CNN: You must be prejudiced Republicans, since you refused to publish my comment about John McCain!!! Shame on you!

    May 1, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  20. Jackie

    "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.”

    , oh, you mean elected officials like BUSH???!!!

    May 1, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  21. pat o'brien

    I guess the buck must stop somewhere else these days. I have never heard such B:S as is coming from this president and Mccain is cut from the same arrogant, self serving, out of touch with reality world.

    May 1, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  22. Donald from SC

    Hey John McCain,

    Do you really believe that the Captain of that carrier would do anything that was NOT approved by President Bush? If you really believe that and you are the best that the Republican Party can come up with, then either we the American people are STUPID or your party is. The worst part is that you were once a Captain yourself.

    Stop lying to yourself first, then stop lying to us. No wonder you and Hillary Clinton get along so well. BIRDS OF A FEATHER FLOCK TOGETHER.

    May 1, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  23. pat o'brien

    Okay, Uncle Sam....just when will we know it.....when gas is $l0 a gallon or when the bombs start falling on Iran and young Americans are drafted again to handle war in the middle east that never should have happened in the first place. McCain was a hero, the operative word is WAS.

    May 1, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  24. Tony B B.C.Mich

    2 words.....................mission impossible

    May 1, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  25. Donald from SC

    Paris said , "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."

    First of all the people in the Middle East DID NOT ask for democracy. The key point about democracy is when people want it, it comes to them. Secondly, most Americans support the troops. We do not support the war and want our troops returned back home. If you love the war that much why are you not over there? I was.

    May 1, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
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