May 21st, 2008
03:20 PM ET
10 years ago

Blitzer: McCain stepping up foreign policy heat on Obama

Blitzer: Obama and Clinton have escalated their war of words over foreign policy.

Blitzer: Obama and Clinton have escalated their war of words over foreign policy.

(CNN) - John McCain is not letting up on Barack Obama. Virtually every recent day, he has gone after Obama’s national security stance. He says Obama’s willingness to meet with leaders from Iran, North Korea and Venezuela is “reckless, and demonstrates a poor judgment that will make the world more dangerous.” In his latest statement, McCain calls Obama’s approach “naïve” and “based entirely on emotion.”

Obama is responding in kind. “The Bush Iraq policy that asks everything of our troops and nothing of Iraqi politicians is John McCain’s policy, too, and so is the fear of tough and aggressive diplomacy that has left this country more isolated and less secure than at any time in recent history,” Obama said Tuesday night.

Still, there is no doubt that McCain’s strategy of hammering Obama on a nearly daily basis on foreign policy is deliberate. McCain certainly feels very comfortable talking about national security. He sees that as his major strength. And most observers agree McCain would much rather have national security on the agenda right now than the economy where he and his fellow Republicans see themselves as rather vulnerable..

By attacking Obama, moreover, he is helping to frame the debate and put the Democratic candidate on the defensive. That’s the strategy for now.

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (240 Responses)
  1. laf

    Listen-I hope to God you are right. Our country is in desperate need of change. Last night as I was listening to the news, it occured to me that our country is on the path of being heralded as a third world country. Think about it. The price of living is soaring above the budget of the average Americans. Jobs are hard to come by and that situation is only going to get worse with the current economy. WE need desperately need change for our economy (let alone numerous other policies and plans!) For me, the only candidate that has shown that he has the right ideas on how to get us out of it is Obama. Heck, he is the ONLY candidate that has been able to keep his campain above the red. Quite frankly, that knocks out Hillary Clinton and McCain out of the running for me. Anyhow, I hope there is enough change brewing that people can get past their ignorance and embrace a candidate that I think will be able to kick start America back into the powerhouse we were and will hopefully be again.

    May 21, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  2. hah hah

    haha all you democrats can bash on mcCain all you want but a democrat wont get elected haha

    May 21, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  3. NO-BAMA


    I'll get popcorn and watch the onslaught as this "SLOGAN-CANDIDATE" (OBAMA)....tries to use "hope & change" when talking to Iran...



    May 21, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  4. Michael

    McCain + Hanoi + Temper + Bush Foreign Policy + Presidency =

    A mushroom cloud

    May 21, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |

    MAC FLIP FLOP is the true DRAMA KING. Yesterday as soon as the camera went on, he pretended to be crying when he heard new that Ted Kennedy was diagnosed with a brain tumor. What a fake and reckless evil. Get a life. Your campagin theme song should be KARMA CHAMELEON by BOY GEORGE!!!

    May 21, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  6. rhetoric isn't enough

    Obama can deliver a speech.

    But to do that, he must know in advance what is going to happen- and prepare his responses accordingly.

    He must speak without anyone interrupting him and without anyone posing any questions.

    Unfortunately that is not what leadership demands.

    Leadership demands quick thinking and rapid responses to the unexpected.

    Obama is not qualified for anything but repeating lofty rhetoric.

    May 21, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  7. susie

    Having Obama in office will be like another 4 years of Carter.

    May 21, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  8. Randy - Denver

    Chris –
    the answer is YES THEY ARE!

    This entire argument is foolish, foreign policy experiance is a misnomer. Even bush noted that things change rapicly in the world so what you KNOW today is most likely WRONG tomorrow.

    What matters is knowing HOW to deal with others. Simply put foreign policy is a matter of :
    1) Knowing what you want from the others.
    2) Knowing what you are willing to give to others
    3) Having the ability to enforce any agreement you make
    4) If you cannot enforce it than having the ability to actually convince the other that you can.
    5) Having enough information about the otherside so that you know what they REALLY want.
    6)Treating the otherside with the respect DUE them (This can vary ALOT depending on who you are talkign with)

    There is only one way to have a foreign policy and that is to ENGAGE with foreigners.

    Even bush knows this (although he does not recognize it) He admits that faulty intelligence (whether by the intelligence agencies or bush imself I will leave open to discussion of others) caused him to invade a foreign country. Maybe if he had actually TALKED with them we would not be where we are now.. maybe not but is sure is sad to know we did not try. So how do oyu get intelligence? Oh you mean ENGAGE with them? maybe talk with them.. naahh couldn't be.

    And as for the comments about the bully and how you should tell your child to stand up to them.. i laugh at you non-parents.. all that will happen is your child will get his butt kicked and you will cry to the school that they did not take care of your little Johnnie.. the better response is to figure out WHY, Johnnie is being bullied and the take actions to defuse that.. it is amazing how many kids have been able to defuse a fight by using their brains instead of their fist...

    May 21, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  9. Daniel from San Diego

    What heat? McCain is part and parcel of George Bush's failed foreign "policy".

    May 21, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  10. Scott

    Isn't it funny how conservatives seem to think that foreign policy is directly related to military service. I don't believe Thomas Jefferson ever served in the military. Bush claims to have "served" so how does that fit into your ideaology?

    May 21, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  11. rbt

    Why is it always the democrat that is "on the defensive" when talking about national sexcrity issues. I would respectfully suggest that it is McCain who is on the defensive, trying to defend Bushes failed plicies for the past seven years, that clearly have not made us safer. My entire voting life, I have watched the democrats shirk away from these arguments , believing the right wing noise that is echoed by the MSM that these issues are bad for the dems. Well they are bad for the dems because the dems don't engage. Lets take a page out of Karl Rove's handbook and attack the republicans on their perceived strength and destroy their arguments. I want a democratic candidate that will take a stand and fight for it. . .. I think Obama is that candidate!

    May 21, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  12. kamenwati

    John McCain is a joke. His strong suit is supposed to be foreign policy yet he has demonstrated time and again that he doesn't understand the differences between Shia and Sunni in the Iraq conflict, nor does he understand the political organization of the Iranian government as evidenced by his latest gaff pertaining to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Without his little nurse maids (Lieberman and Lindsay) to coach him he comes across as just as dumb as Bush.

    It's been fifty years since the U.S. stopped talking to the Cuban government. Cuba is located only ninety miles off the coast of Florida. How hard can it be to reach out to our neighbors and try some tough negotiation to change the status quo? Apparently too hard for the tiny little fossilized brain of McBush to contemplate.

    May 21, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  13. Bitter Sweetie Hussein

    "Clinton, Obama Converge on Florida"
    You are sickening Clinton News Network! Does it pain you that much to put Sen. Obama's name FIRST in a headline??? SEN. OBAMA planned to go to FL FIRST. Pathetic, forgot-me-not HilBillary followed him just to keep her sorry tail in the news. Your reporting of this nominating fiasco and your negative innuendo(s) have become as laughable as HilBillary's dilusions of somehow winning (stealing) this nomination, not to mention her math abilities.
    *Doubt you post this...

    Obama 08/12

    May 21, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  14. Laura Taylor

    McCain has spiritual advisors who suggest things like the following: John Hagee, the controversial evangelical leader and endorser of Sen. John McCain, argued in a late 1990s sermon that the Nazis had operated on God's behalf to chase the Jews from Europe and shepherd them to Palestine. According to the Reverend, Adolph Hitler was a "hunter," sent by God, who was tasked with expediting God's will of having the Jews re-establish a state of Israel.

    I don't think McCain exhibits good judgement by surrounding himself with people like that, especially when it comes to the tenuous nature of the Middle East and foreign policy

    May 21, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  15. King of NJ

    Cant wait untill Mccain gets a verbal whooping In the 1st Debate between the too! then Americans will see Mccain for what he is ... the same bumbling grunting BUSH part2... we need a smart president ...
    Mccain graduated 6 from the bottom of his Naval Academy....

    May 21, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  16. Barack Obama: Gaffe machine

    Barack Obama? The guy’s a perpetual gaffe machine. Let us count the ways, large and small, that his tongue has betrayed him throughout the campaign:

    * Last May, he claimed that Kansas tornadoes killed a whopping 10,000 people: “In case you missed it, this week, there was a tragedy in Kansas. Ten thousand people died — an entire town destroyed.” The actual death toll: 12.

    *Earlier this month in Oregon, he redrew the map of the United States: “Over the last 15 months, we’ve traveled to every corner of the United States. I’ve now been in 57 states? I think one left to go.”

    *Last week, in front of a roaring Sioux Falls, South Dakota audience, Obama exulted: “Thank you Sioux City…I said it wrong. I’ve been in Iowa for too long. I’m sorry.”

    May 21, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  17. Denial

    Obama needs to go on the offensive .. and attack him on the domestic issues ... Mc Cain is trying to distraction the American people from what's really important .............

    Gosh i hate these Republicans ..............

    DEMOCRATS 08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 21, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  18. Tim

    McCain accusing Obama of being "naive" is one of the most richly ironic things I've ever heard. His cartoonish good vs evil version of foreign policy is a reckless joke, Obama is simply living in the real world. Frankly, I'll side with reality.

    May 21, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  19. 209Politics

    John McCain's foreign policy is full of gaps. He wants to continue President Bush's foreign policy of not speaking to any of Americas enemies. If you think about it this would be bad for the international community. Ronald Reagan brought a conclusion to the Cold War, not by threatening the Soviets milatarily; but by diplomacy. And by the early 90's the Soviet Union crumbled, and Russia became democratic. I'm not implying that Iran will crumble because of diplomacy, but they will cool down some. Iran feels threatened that there is U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    A McCain Administration would not solve any of America's problems here at home or abroad. Even his fellow Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel is speaking against what he said about Iran. Obama knows that becoming president you have to deal with foreign policy issues. This is a man that's not running just to take the spotlight away from Sen. Hillary Clinton. But he's running because he wants a different direction for America. Remember you just don't become a Senator over night. Its very difficult to run your first campaign for the Senate and win that seat. Obama knows what hes talking about he's tired of "cowboy diplomacy".

    May 21, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  20. Barack Obama: Gaffe machine

    *Explaining last week why he was trailing Hillary Clinton in Kentucky, Obama again botched basic geography: “Sen. Clinton, I think, is much better known, coming from a nearby state of Arkansas. So it’s not surprising that she would have an advantage in some of those states in the middle.” On what map is Arkansas closer to Kentucky than Illinois?

    “There was something stirring across the country because of what happened in Selma, Alabama, because some folks are willing to march across a bridge. So they got together and Barack Obama Jr. was born.”

    Obama was born in 1961. The Selma march took place in 1965. His spokesman, Bill Burton, later explained that Obama was “speaking metaphorically about the civil rights movement as a whole.”

    *Earlier this month in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Obama showed off his knowledge of the war in Afghanistan by honing in on a lack of translators: “We only have a certain number of them and if they are all in Iraq, then it’s harder for us to use them in Afghanistan.” The real reason it’s “harder for us to use them” in Afghanistan: Iraqis speak Arabic or Kurdish. The Afghanis speak Pashto, Farsi, or other non-Arabic languages.

    May 21, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  21. Republican in Idaho

    McCain you are a joke!!! Shut up!!! I am so sick of your negative crap. Why aren't you talking about how much experience you have. Give us details. All that I have heard from your mouth is how you plan to continue a civil war in Iraq and continue putting our sons and daughters in harms way because of your and Bush's ego. Talk about how you are going to fix the economy when there are so many oil company hands in your pockets? I am so tired of the republicans using fear to get people to vote for them. I have voted republican for 10 years, and this year I am not. I am a dedicated teacher who is sick of watching students being punished because they do not achieve at a level the republicans think they should. I am sick of the republicans caring more about money and power then the American people who are paying their paychecks. I am voting for anyone other than McCain.

    May 21, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  22. Jeff, Boston

    Bad strategy. McCain should rely solely on the character/I Love America card.

    Focusing on foreign policy brings attention to Iraq. McCain may think he can win that argument on its merits; and that shows why he's going to get crushed by Obama. The War in Iraq was different from the The War on Terror. Bush tried to blur the lines, McCain bought into that worldview, and Obama is going to make the Republicans pay for it.

    Even on Iran, it'll be hard for McCain to make the case that Obama's view of engagement is wrong. After all, the British talk to the Iranians; so shouldn't we at least try?

    McCain is going to get smoked in the general.

    May 21, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  23. russell

    for all you young people out their , think about this " voting for mcain will certainly have serious afffects around the world ,and then their will be a war with Iran and the you'll be drafted because our military is stretched too thin ........think about that because voting for mcain will bring everything we know and love too an end.....................please postcnn.

    May 21, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  24. Carl Abernathy - Florida

    We were not warned before the attack on 9/11. You dummies, why can't you see that terrorists don't care what we want or think; they just want to kill us. Fear monger – NOT!! Realist –YES!!

    May 21, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  25. Demagogue

    Sadly for Americans, we are now seeing that Obama only shines when he is delivering a prepared speech without any interruption, at a pro-Obama event.

    Outside of that environment, he apparently can not express himself well, he is unable to state any position clearly, and he struggles to think on his feet.

    Now we know why he avoids debates at all costs. He can only parrot scripted lines to anticipated questions. He can not spontaneously think for himself.

    Too bad for Americans if he becomes president. Every crisis, every issue, every response to the world will have to be put on hold until his speech writers can prepare the perfect speech for him.

    Until then, we have to watch him struggle to organize his thoughts and we must listen to him stutter while he searches for words and makes a fool of himself. That is JUST like Bush. And, he is just as arrogant and cocky also.

    He is one sorry excuse for a leader.

    May 21, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
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