May 16th, 2008
05:15 PM ET
6 years ago

McCain calls Obama's positions 'reckless'

McCain said Friday that Obama’s foreign policy was displayed naivete.
McCain said Friday that Obama’s foreign policy was displayed naivete.

(CNN) - Presumptive Republican nominee John McCain swiftly responded to Barack Obama’s foreign policy criticism Friday, calling the Illinois senator’s positions “reckless,” saying Americans had “every reason to doubt” he could keep the country safe.

“Senator Obama claimed all I had to offer was the ‘naive and irresponsible belief’ that tough talk would cause Iran to give up its nuclear program. He should know better,” McCain told the audience at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in Lousville, Kentucky. “I have some news for Senator Obama: Talking, not even with soaring rhetoric, [about] unconditional meetings with the man who calls Israel a ‘stinking corpse’ and arms terrorists who kill Americans will not convince Iran to give up its nuclear program. It is reckless to suggest that unconditional meetings will advance our interests.

“It would be a wonderful thing if we lived in a world where we don't have enemies. But that is not the world we live in, and until Senator Obama understands that reality, the American people have every reason to doubt whether he has the strength, judgment, and determination to keep us safe.”

Earlier Friday Obama told reporters that McCain was deliberately distorting his position, and that he was offended by the tone of President Bush’s controversial remarks before the Israeli Knesset.

“I don’t take what Bush said personally, but I was offended by what is a continuation of a strategy from this White House – now mimicked by Senator McCain - that replaces strategy and analyses and smart policy with bombast exaggerations, and fear mongering. And that is what we heard yesterday,” said Obama.

He also slammed McCain for suggesting that he would hold unconditional talks with the Islamic militant group Hamas, pointing to a new op-ed by Jamie Rubin - a supporter of Hillary Clinton - in which the former State Department official said McCain had advocated unconditional dialogue with the group. (The McCain campaign disputes the charge, saying that Rubin has not included the full context of McCain’s remarks.)

Obama said that any dialogue he would engage in as president with hostile nations like Iran would take the form of “tough diplomacy,” adding that he would “meet with them without preconditions – although with preparation.

“If they are willing to change behavior, then we would offer inducements and benefits diplomatically, and if they don’t then we will continue to ratchet sanctions and isolation on Iran,” he said. “That has been a consistent policy that I have presented throughout – there is no contradiction whatsoever - so I have no idea where it is that they are suggesting that somehow there has been a change in policy.”


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (236 Responses)
  1. BJ

    Obama DID SAY he would meet our enemies WITHOUT and PRECONDITIONS!

    After Hillary said she would not unless some conditions were met... Obama back tracked and said, "well of course I would meet with them... after we set some conditions".

    TALK about hypocritical!

    May 16, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  2. Linda in Va

    These politians talk about every other coutry that is violent and have terrorists but the republicans in this country are just as bad as the terrorists, the first thing they want to do is be violent. Don't talk just be violent. What does being violent do, it creates more violence. Quit with the violence. Why are we policing the world. We can't manange our own country. And now our way of life is about to change big time because of oil fields. Can we not find a way to get rid of the oil dependence? We certainly need changes within this country to make the world changes that need to be changed.

    May 16, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  3. Rich

    So in order to negotiate with our enemies we first need to...negotiate? Should we negotiate before we negotiate before we negotiate? So we'll just never negotiate then, huh?

    Reckless: "bomb bomb bomb Iran" (i.e. NOT a good foreign policy approach, even if you do fancy yourself as just being funny).

    May 16, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  4. Cindy in California

    Well it looks like the opening bell has rung, Obama now has to fight John McCain, Geroge Bush, Karl Rove, and of all people Mike Huckabee.

    This is simply amazing Mc Cain is already sounding desperate, the Republicans have destroyed our economy and done a whole host of other things that are reprehensible and they actually think they have a shot at the presidency?

    I agree with Hillary when she said, " the republicans should not run anybody for president this year" We are really out to lunch if we put the Republicans back in office. Repubs can we please have our country back?

    May 16, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  5. voice

    Karl Rove is a loser. See how happy gay people are at their wedding in California! Rove is a joke of the day.

    May 16, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  6. Hillary

    Wow. Must be nice and easy for BO to criticize everyone who has actually spent years working for our country and gotten so much done through their lives, and sit back with little to go after because he HASN"T ACCOMPLISHED ANYTHING! Oh, wait, he was a "community organizer in the south side off Chicago" My kid's PTA president is a community organizer, too. Doesn't mean she's ready to be president!

    It will be interesting to see what the reps bring out from now on. BO better be careful, the more he overreacts like he did today (Bush didn't even use his name) the more the reps will just keep throwing things at him. He will constantly be on defense and look like he's just reactive and guilty of something. The man doth protest too much, methinks!

    May 16, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  7. Mike

    McCain is right. Obama is way too inexperienced and naive to deal with complex foreign policy issues. Too bad McCain has also been so, so wrong with McCain-Feingold campaign finance "reform", McCain-Kennedy amnesty for illegal aliens, not supporting the Bush tax cuts, not supporting critical oil drilling in Alaska, etc., etc., etc. I'm not sure what the Democrats are complaining about. Right now there are three presidential candidates left, and all three are liberals. McCain is just a RINO.

    May 16, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  8. Enlightened Voter

    I love the '58 white old ladies for OBAMA'. Cnn please post that!

    May 16, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  9. Sal, SD

    McCain flip, flop, flip, flop nobody knows when he'll stop!

    Vote Obama!!!

    May 16, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  10. BIFF, BIFFINGTON...

    WOW... someone said i sound mean...

    thought i'd see what it felt like to be a clintonista or a rethuglican for a moment.....

    p.s. nothing he said in his books was false... the kennedy thing, was him linking kennedy's programs in education (which allowed his dad to come here) ... oh never mind...

    if you are looking that hard for a reason to dislike someone... you will find it.

    enjoy

    May 16, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  11. Nikole

    BAD NEWS FOR OBAMA-It's a good thing Obama has built a base of supporters that include, Democrats, Independents, Republicans and new voters. That should make up for some of Democratic haters that would rather see a warmonger intent on taking away a woman's right to choose than a candidate with their best interests in mind. (Obama)

    May 16, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  12. Enlightened Voter

    I also love Biff, Biffington. I am behind you all the way who ever you are! YOu go boy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Cnn please post this too : )

    May 16, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  13. A.J. in Fla

    Mr. McCain

    You go fellow, the Country needs you...!!!!!

    May 16, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  14. Melinda

    I truly have to ask Mr McCain how dumb he deems people. We all know your policies are in line with George Bush!!! FYI We need to have a complete overhaul within our international policies. Some one has to do the job and it definately isn't you Mr McCain.

    May 16, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  15. rexx

    Obama is reckless. "Talking" is useless with the current Iranian Government. What would he talk about the weather? Nothing short of an internal revolution will change that thinking in Iran. "Talking" to people who want nothing less then the destruction of your country is useless.
    Its funny how all these lefties on here just confirm all the degrading comments that Obama made about many Americans. The hate the left pukes up all over these boards just confirms the desperation and anger they have to many Americans.
    Oh and all you hippies even if your comrade Obama gets elected he isn't going to fight the 2nd Amendment in fact he has stated he supports the right of individuals to own guns. but don't worry he is going to crack like a walnut when the Republicans finally start the real campaign and everyone will see just how far to the Left this guy is.

    May 16, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  16. Jane KY.

    We are shocked, shocked, to find the media (again) derelict in its duties. Barack Obama has run his campaign with numerous advisors who the campaign would have everyone believe are just not that plugged in to the campaign. Additionally, Obama refuses to divulge who these people are. Inevitably, however, word gets out that Obama has, yet again, surrounded himself with an undesirable.

    This time the undesirable is Robert Malley. Coming on the heels of the Obama campaign saying it was “flattered” by terrorist group Hamas’s endorsement, the foreign press - in this case the London Times - pointed out Mr. Malley has close ties to Hamas.

    May 16, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  17. Buffalo

    Dear Obama Sucks,
    To all those Democrat who will not vote for Obama because Hillary is not the nominee. Please don't vote for Obama. I believe you all are very happy with the way the country is being run. Hope you get what you ask for. You've already had the first course for 8 years . Never mind the main course is coming with Mccain.Go away we don't need your vote. Blind bats

    May 16, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  18. AMG

    How can Obama get away with blatant lies??!! I heard it myself (and I am sure everybody watching it). Obama said and defended, after critcism from Clinton, that he would UNCONDITIONALLY meet with the Iranian president. Now he, as usual, is trying to change the truth.

    May 16, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  19. AJ - North Carolina

    Let's face it people, Obama is unexperienced and this is what the republicians do.

    I voted for Hillary Clinton and still believe she is the strongest candidate of all of them.

    May 16, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  20. BIFF, BIFFINGTON...

    I got a million of 'em...

    reckless...... OMG... maybe McSame should take another wald in Bagdad with a battallion around him and tell us how safe everythng is...

    yeah... that's NOT reckless....

    May 16, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  21. TO BO"S VOTERS:

    For all of you freaking out about Hillary's supporters voting for McCain, we will do so because we are very MODERATE democrats. We do exits, and we do not agree with very liberal views. That's it in a nutshell. For instance, you can try all you want to scare us about McCain and Roe v Wade, but I'd rather have someone who will control late-terms. BO one voted that it would be ok to kill a late-term baby if it survived the abortion. That just seems to much like murder to me. If late-terms are allowed like that, we have a serious problem with our morality.

    May 16, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  22. Frankie

    What would happen if Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic nomination, then all this planning and attacks to Obama by Mccain and the Right Wing party just steered itself into an iceberg!!! That would be a disaster!!!

    May 16, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  23. Michigan Voter !!!

    WE Want A President Who Will Lead Our Country , Not Change It !!!!!
    America Has A Constitution !!!! .

    HILLARY , OR JOHN McCAIN 2008

    May 16, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  24. TO BO"S VOTERS:

    HI!
    For all of you freaking out about Hillary's supporters voting for McCain, we will do so because we are very MODERATE democrats. We do exits, and we do not agree with very liberal views. That's it in a nutshell. For instance, you can try all you want to scare us about McCain and Roe v Wade, but I'd rather have someone who will control late-terms. BO one voted that it would be ok to kill a late-term baby if it survived the abortion. That just seems to much like murder to me. If late-terms are allowed like that, we have a serious problem with our morality.

    May 16, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  25. lester b

    "reckless" says he who once sang publicly "bomb, bomb, bomb... bomb, bomb iran!" McCain embodies everything I hate.

    May 16, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
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