May 29th, 2008
06:19 AM ET
10 years ago

Obama considers trip to Iraq

 McCain took aim at Obama over Iraq Wednesday.

McCain took aim at Obama over Iraq Wednesday.

(CNN) - Barack Obama's campaign said Wednesday that the Illinois senator is considering a trip to Iraq before the November election, CNN's Candy Crowley reports.

Presumptive Republican nominee John McCain had strongly criticized Obama earlier in the day for not visiting Iraq in more than two years, and for turning down the Arizona senator's suggestion that the two should make a joint trip to the country.

“Senator Obama has been to Iraq once - a little over 2 years ago he went and he has never seized the opportunity except in a hearing to meet with Gen Petraeus," McCain said at a campaign event in Reno, Nevada. "My friends this is about leadership and learning."

Again raising the issue of Obama's willingness to meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, McCain also said of the Illinois senator, "he wants to sit down with the president of Iran but hasn’t yet sat down with Gen. Petraeus, the leader of our troops in Iraq?"

Responding to McCain, Obama spokesman Bill Burton said, "It seems odd that Senator McCain, who bought the flawed rationale for war so readily, would be lecturing others on their depth of understanding about Iraq."

Obama last visited Iraq in January, 2006 for a two-day tour of the country.

McCain's comments come the same day the Republican National Committee launched a clock on its Web site noting how many days it has been since Obama traveled to Iraq, and three days after his supporter Sen. Lindsey Graham suggested both the presumptive Republican nominee and Obama tour the country together. McCain later said he agreed that the Democratic presidential contender should accompany him on an upcoming trip, adding that he would "seize that opportunity to educate Senator Obama along the way."

Burton declined the invitation and called the move a "political stunt."

"The American people don't want any more false promises of progress, they deserve a real debate about a war that has overstretched our military, and cost us thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars without making us safer," he added.

Speaking Wednesday, McCain called those comments a "profound misunderstanding" of the situation in Iraq.

"That is a profound misunderstanding, a profound misunderstanding of what's happened in Iraq and what's at stake in Iraq," he said. "Because if we set a date of withdrawal as Senator Obama wants to do, there will be chaos, there will be genocide, there will be increased Iranian influence there, and we will have to go back with further sacrifice of American blood and treasure."

(Updates with Obama response)

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (473 Responses)
  1. Johnboy

    Obama hasn't got a clue how to run a county, just coerce people to vote for him for no good reason.

    May 28, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  2. Peter

    McBush just another phony patriot that in spite of the lies that led to this war sees it appropriate to stay for another hundred year.

    May 28, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  3. Peter E

    Democrats will only sit down with and listen to generals who already agree with them and can score them political points.

    May 28, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  4. USMC Vet

    Why do people treat Ahmadinejad as if he's Iran's leader? The man is the president, which is the highest elected official in Iran... but that doesn't equate to what we know of as president. He is not the end all-be all when it comes to Iranian policy making; the Ayatollah is. Ahmadinejad is Iran's Dick Cheney. Neither can do much in the way of policy without the consent of their bosses.

    May 28, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  5. Robert in Toronto,ON

    The only person McCain should be fighting with is Father Time to extend his stay on the planet.

    May 28, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  6. Jazz

    I, for one, don't have to go to Iraq in order to understand why oh-so-many soldiers from my country are serving there. McSomething is plain nuts

    May 28, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  7. SAM2008

    I am not a McCain's fan but you know he is very right.
    Obama Maybe 2012 not this time go home Obama.

    May 28, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  8. cosma


    May 28, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  9. Victory for Hillary

    Why should Obama walk-the-walk when he's so good at talking-the-talk?

    May 28, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  10. Earl Dallas, Yexas

    For those that have been told that there is no chance to obtain their hopes or dreams and that it was useless to try look towards Hillary Clinton as a symbolic figure of hope and strength – the only experienced candidate that has solid solutions to our everyday problems.

    I attended a rally by both candidates last week – Obama definitely is a speaker, orator and can move a crowd – but once you get home from the rally you wonder what DID he say – only thing I can come up with is he is going to change politics in Washington DC – yet accepts the endorsements from them.

    Clinton (although the media is trying to make Obama the next President rather than letting the voters have their own say) was warm, sincere, experienced with her answers to questions and genuinely wants to help us help ourselves – she enjoyed being there with us – Obama appeared that this was a situation that he had to be there but really was looking towards the general election – so just give me my votes and I will move on – similiar to what happened in New Orleans after HE received the black communites votes – was too busy to attend a reconstruction rally later on – Hillary Clinton attended even though she had not received the votes.

    I just recently found out that Obama voted for the liquified natural gas pipeline of Bush-Cheney Energy plan where Clinton opposed it – guess he doesn't have to live here with it.

    May 28, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  11. KM

    Sen. McCain, you don't need to go to Iraq to see that it's a mess. That buzzing sound is not a mosquito, it's bullets zipping past your head.

    May 28, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  12. Dave

    What exactly does McCain think Obama can learn from going to Iraq? You can be sure that high-level officials that go over there are kept in secure areas and shown only what the military wants them to see. The fact that McCain thinks these Potemkin-village exercises make him an expert on Iraq (and that they would "educate" Obama) is either disingenouous, or shows how out of touch with reality he's become.

    And as for his statement that he would use a joint visit to Iraq as an opportunity to educate Obama on national security issues... please.

    May 28, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  13. Colony14Author

    Good point, McCain... Obama is willing to meet with the Iranian dictator, have a dialogue with Cuba, listen to racist sermons for 20 years, and continue to hang out with radicals from the 1960s, but can't bother to meet with American generals. I imagine that's because he prefers getting his information from CNN, which shares his agenda. But at some point Obama will be disrobed and shown to be what he is: an old-fashioned collectivist simpleton. He can't hide forever behind fluffy but meaningless Maya Angelou-like speeches. Eventually many Americans will ask, "But what will his policies be? What will he actually do if elected?" even if CNN doesn't bother to ask.

    May 28, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  14. JM




    May 28, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  15. landi

    Mr. Warcain why is it I have never heard the word peace come out of your mouth. Was a war initiating chip placed in this guy head. Mr warcain I admire your bravery and your service but u seem intent on taking revenge. For once mr warcain please try to initiate peace and lay out your policies that will help the average american who is hurting at the expense of wars and bad policies.

    May 28, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  16. No Bombs Away

    Why should Obama go to Iraq? The ensuing media circus would take badly needed troops to protect the group and it would solve nothing. It's the same thing everytime there is a natural disaster. President hops on the plane, inconvenience thousands of people, just to spout.

    McCain's getting desperate!

    May 28, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  17. John

    It is defiately interesting that Obama refuses to educate himself on the situation but instead just says that it was wrong.

    May 28, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  18. Fred

    Barack might get set up over there. I dont trust any of them. Good place to set up a hit on Obama. I wouldnt go either. These REP. are dirty and will do anything to win the Presidentcy

    May 28, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  19. Felly

    1. McCain doesn't even know who is in charge in Iran.
    2. Iraq/Iran, Sunni/Shia: McCain doesn't know the difference.
    3. McCain still thinks Czechoslovakia (which split into two countries in 1993) exists.
    4. McCain wrongly claimed that Baghdad was mostly normal.
    5. McCain called Baghdad market safe.
    6. McCain can't even remember how little he knows about the economy.
    7. McCain falsely claimed he never requested pork.
    8. McCain falsely claimed that tax cuts increased government revenues.
    9. McCain's claim to be untainted by special interest money is false.
    10. McCain wrongly claimed he never supported amnesty.

    May 28, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  20. Cynthia

    After the revelations in McClellan's books – which I'm sure that Rove and others will deny. McCain had better get a new campaign expertise.

    May 28, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  21. Susie from OH

    If you were Barack, would you go to Iraq, with McCain? Yeah, when pigs fly. He would need more than flap jackets.

    May 28, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  22. Mark

    McCain has been to Iraq multiple times and still don't know the difference between Shia and Sunni. Even a blind man can see that Iraq is in bad shape. It doesn't take walking around a battle zone to understand that...........

    May 28, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  23. karen

    Why should he go with McSame? He can tour Iraq and the middle east after he becomes President!!!!

    May 28, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  24. Victoria

    What's the rush? If McCain has his way, Obama will have perhaps 100 more years to visit Iraq.

    May 28, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  25. Donna in ID

    Obama should take McCain up on the offer. But I think he is afraid to.
    He doesn't seem to even understand what is really going on there or in Afganistan. He can't even hold any kind of meetings on Afganistan and he is supposed to head a committee on on the Afgan war. The man is all hot air and a coward or he would take McCain up on the offer and the sooner the better.

    May 28, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
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