May 15th, 2008
10:30 AM ET
7 years ago

Pelosi blasts, McCain defends Bush comments

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McCain and Pelos reacted to the president's speech.
McCain and Pelos reacted to the president's speech.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Speaker Nancy Pelosi blasted President Bush's comments Thursday suggesting that Democrats believe "we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals" and suggested Senator John McCain denounce them.

But the presumptive Republican nominee himself defended the remarks, said he intended to make Barack Obama’s willingness to consider dialogue with Iran an issue in the fall campaign, calling on the Illinois senator to “explain [that decision] to the American people.”

“It is a serious error on the part of Senator Obama that shows naiveté and inexperience and lack of judgment - to say that he wants to sit down across the table from an individual who leads a country who says that Israel is a stinking corpse, that is dedicated to the extinction of Israel,” said McCain Thursday. “My question is, what does he want to talk about?”

Pelosi, who is leaving later today on a bipartisan congressional trip to Israel, said there is a "protocol" of not criticizing the President when he is abroad, but then declared, "I think what the president did in that regard is beneath the dignity of the office of president and unworthy of our representation at that observance in Israel."

The California Democrat added that she hopes "any serious person would disassociate themselves from the president's remarks, who aspires to leadership in our country."

But McCain told reporters that Bush’s Thursday remarks made an important point. “It does bring up an issue that we are will be discussing with the American people and that is why does Barack Obama, Senator Obama, want to sit down with a state sponsor of terrorism?” said McCain.

“…I will make this an issue with Senator Obama throughout this campaign, I believe in peace through strength, and peace through strength is the way that we have succeeded in the past.”


Filed under: John McCain • Nancy Pelosi • President Bush
soundoff (330 Responses)
  1. Lexington Green

    It really is time for President Bush and Vice President Cheney to simply shut up about Terrorism, US security, and Iraq. They've had no credibility for years on these subjects. Their policies have alienated allies, emboldened terrorists, and resulted in outrageous casualties of innocents.

    The President should go back to his ranch in TX and take a long vacation until about the middle of January.

    May 15, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  2. faye, NV

    Mccain/Bush how dumb can you be, surely anyone in his right mind would want to prevent war. If talking and making attempt to reach peace is offensive, than what do you call starting a war for nothing.

    May 15, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  3. Chuck, Democrats United We Stand

    Yes we already Know how McCains feels about Iran....you know his song, "bomb, bomb, bomb Iran". Now I ask is that the level of maturity that we need leading our country? War and military confrontation should always be the last option. Why? When fighting a war, you are obviously fighting against the leadership and the military of that country, but the people (men women and children) are the ones that suffer. There is enough suffering in this world, we need to learn to talk first, ask questions, develope understanding and dialogue and if that as well as all other options fail then and only then should the threat or use of our military force be put into play.

    May 15, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  4. jimmy

    It's true....
    I do not support Bush at ALL but I will say that Obama is mystery and ignorant. He is not ready or competent nor does he have the American at heart.

    Don't trust him either (like Bush)....
    Hillary supporters – vote McCain '08 for Clinton '12
    The MOVEMENT is on........

    May 15, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  5. OH, my

    inexperience, lack of judgement.

    May 15, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  6. John

    Haha Funny. McCain you're a 2 faced individual just as our politicians are. IRAN and Saudi Arabia are on the same page as far as extinguishing Isreal, but we still seat on the same table with Saudi. Hypocrisy of the highest order!

    May 15, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  7. Grace Needed

    Well, I don't know what Senator McCain's alternative to Senator Obama's beginning of some diplomacy is! We can't use a military solution to every aggressive government leader. Our military is already overstretched and on the brink of disaster. It is NOT appeasement to suggest some diplomacy in trying to determine what is behind such aggressiveness. The APPEASEMENT in WWII was after the government leaders FAILED to make accurate judgements about who and what they were dealing with. Chamberlain failed to discern what he needed to through diplomacy. Churchill judged well.
    Now, if we were to utilize the same kind of test on our candidates for the Presidency, I believe Senator Obama would accurately judge who and what he was dealing with and attempt to discern what possible diplomatic solutions and international measures might keep us from depending ONLY on military solutions. We must learn how to deter our enemies short of their use of military or ours. We need someone with the strength of character not to be bullied into actions against our national interests OR catapulted into another unnecessary war! Obviously, we will stand by Israel and desire what is best for them, but not at the expense of a Palestinian nation, hopefully minus the terrorist organizations because they will see no need for them if treated fairly and justly by the international community.

    May 15, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  8. Lexington Green

    Candidate McCain needs to do one of two things:

    Figure out how to get out of Iraq, or

    Get out of the campaign.

    May 15, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  9. Petra, Independendent from PA

    Nancy for first woman president. McCain, you are surely going to lose if you don't stop pandering to the far right...

    May 15, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  10. Bodine, Flushing, NY

    I am a Democrat and a supporter of Sen. Clinton. I am 100% agreeing with Sen. McCain's view about not having any room for negotiation with a terrorist. leader. Period.

    May 15, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  11. KD

    A Unity, it's a wonderful thing isn't it?

    May 15, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  12. Dr. J

    Democrats Unite. Do we want more of the same Bush politics.

    May 15, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  13. Sharon Kitchen

    Mr. McCain,
    If you believe in "peace thru strength", that would explain why you wrote a bill that removed forceably the elders of the Navajo Nation to a toxic radio-active dump. I guess those folks who were part of saving the WWII forces lives(the code talkers),must be the enemy. Why else would a presidental canidate/senator write such a destructive bill and have it signed into law by Pres. Clinton in 1997 ? Aren't you happy at the deaths/illnesses/deformaties that you caused on American soil?Just so the media knows-this went to the U.N. in 2000–video form also and you and Pres. Clinton found guilty of committing genocide on a group of people....weren't you told?? Maybe you just don't care.Also, my family is also full of vets, WW I,WWII,Korean, Vitenam,Gulf, and Iraq. So exactly who is the enemy????? Oh, those of us that are alive are voting!!!!!!!!!!..... and NOT for you. Did you watch the N.C. returns??? Yep, alot of Native Americans voted.........We are voting in all the states. Are you ready for Nov.??? We are. If you talk with bush.....
    oh never mind...his u-haul is at the back door.........

    May 15, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  14. Wayne

    Condi Rice, Robert Gates...members of the Bush Administration have urged talks with Iran. Can you explain the contradiction? When members of Bush Admin urge talks with Iran its right..when Obama urges talks its wrong?

    I dont understand such stark contradiction.

    May 15, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  15. Robert - TN

    McCain believes in peace through strength in combat instead of diplomacy. For you, McCain, to make the statement about what Obama will talk with them about tells me that you are not fit to be commander in chief. Given Hamas' position on terror and other terrorist groups, why are you afraid to set pre-conditions for them to meet in order to begin talking? Does your position to avoid talks show strength or cowardness?

    May 15, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  16. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    McCain keeps making abundantly clear that as President (heaven help us!) he would continue the decline of America by maintaining Bush's tragically failed policies. Al Qaida does not need Bin Laden with either of these men in the White House.

    May 15, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  17. Doug

    Yeah, uh...Peace through strength hasn't seemed to be working in the past 8 years or so...

    Go ahead Johnny boy and defend your mentor. You are just showing everyone that you really will be Bush's 3rd term.

    May 15, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  18. Tammy, NC

    John Mccain is pathetic!!!

    One minute he is separating himself the next he is defending Bush....which is it?

    May 15, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  19. Shalauddin Ahmed

    President Bush and Senator J. McCain, both have to answer to the American people and to the World - why they haven't bring peace given 8 years in the White House if you believe in peace through strength.

    May 15, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  20. Larrry

    A vote for McCain is a vote for BUSH III....THINK ABOUT IT. Let's not talk...let's go to war. Then we will rebuild your nation and sink billions of dollars...there has to be a better way.

    May 15, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    bush is crap and so is Mcain-madcain

    May 15, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  22. Edgar - Orlando, Florida

    True democratics in the likes of FDR, Truman and Kennedy would have never sat with our enemies, the democratic party of today is no the party that defended America through WW 1 & 2.

    Obama no sit down with our enemies – vote for Hillary and if not Hillary for a true American McCain!

    May 15, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  23. Miami

    Obama should just call him "sweetie". Then it would be over.

    May 15, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    I strongly agree with Pelosi on this issue. She is right on. I can see where McCain is taking us right now and it doesn't look good to me. Peace through strength. Can't say that it appeals to me.

    May 15, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  25. Gary (Life Long Independent)

    Bush has plundered the USA's reputation, finances, and world standing. He is, was, and remains a simpleton. By not denouncing him Senator McCain you have confirmed to me that I must not allow you to apparently continue in his tradition. Therefore I will be voting for the Democratic candidate regardless of who he or she may be.

    May 15, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
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