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. Dana H. Bay Area CA

    The day when McCain gave his speech and said he would never surrender Iraq gave me a cold shudder and was absolutely frightening. For the first time when I looked into his eyes I saw black orbs of death. I truly believe he would not end the war in 2013 and in fact is willing to go to hell taking this country kicking and screaming with him. I would vote for any democratic candidate just so I wouldn't have to face that possibility.

    May 28, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  2. a turnip could beat mccain

    i'm sure obama has also never met with the secretary of the VA administration or with michael chertoff. what does that have to do with anything? meanwhile bush meets with them all the time and the country is still screwed up. go figure. and it seems that visiting iraq and drinking the water there only makes one want to keep up the occupation for another 100 years.

    mccain is grasping at straws. can u report back when he says something substantive?

    May 28, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |

    Just what does going to iraq really mean? You go to the base in iraq, you fly over Iraq. You get the T-shirt. Get photographed walking around with the general in command. Now you can say, "I've been there, done that, got the T-shirt. That's all McCain did. What a waste of tax payers money.

    May 28, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  4. Tyrone Brown, Seattle, WA

    As a Gulf War veteran I say kudos to Obama for not wasting soldier's time by taking multiple "photos ops" in Iraq and keeping them from doing the important work they need to do. I still remember having to "shine my boots, polish my rifle and grin n' smile" while some dignitary or leader "walked through" to see what it was like for the troops. We never ate or look so good as when someone like a Mr. McCain decided to come walking through.

    Hey McCain, say cheese!

    May 28, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  5. nate

    I went for him and your point is?This message is approved by a Navy Veteran.

    May 28, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  6. for obama nj

    senator mccain needs to get a life, his whole life is war, he appears shell shocked (something to think about)..........if the republicans were so experienced, why is the US in this MESS

    May 28, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  7. Marie in California

    I see Obama is coming up short......again.

    McCain is much better prepared to be commander-in-chief. Obama is an amateur.

    May 28, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  8. FedUpDem

    I would much rather have McCain than obama.

    May 28, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  9. John Smith,TX

    Go get him tiger. You got my vote. I am a democrat that will not vote for Obama. Wake up America. Obama is not fit to be the US President yet. He is too naive and double talk.

    May 28, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  10. Level Headed

    This HOT HEAD – McCain – doesn't understand or even care that there's a difference between Shi'ah and Sunni...

    McCain mistakenly thinks that a timed withdrawal = surrender...

    He said yesterday in Colorado (when confronted by protesters) that he would NEVER surrender in Iraq... What would this mean to the American – to the GLOBAL economy??? Oh that's right, McCain doesn't understand the economy!!! And with a wife who's LOADED with what? Eight houses? He could care less what happens to hard working Americans!

    Nor does McCain understand the complexities of the region, and while I honor his service to this country, he is ill equiped to move us in a new – more prosperous direction!

    We need a President who can keep a level head and who understands that what's happening on the ground in Iraq now is a CIVIL WAR that should NOT be fought by American soldiers... The Bush White House's short sighted fantasy – get rid of Saddam and we'll be greeted as liberators – was SO unbelievably delusional...

    You don't need to GO to Iraq to understand what's going on there! The US got rid of the dictator who kept all these factions from the chaos we see now... Is it any wonder why we continue to be HATED all over the world?

    This election is SO important! Please don't allow more of our brave young people to DIE needlessly – VOTE 4 OBAMA!!!

    May 28, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  11. Nikole

    A tour of the Green Zone tells you what about Iraq? What's more important is that Obama had the good sense to speak out against the war, while McCain voted for it and thinks that it should continue.

    May 28, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  12. Nevada

    Is that something that is really relevant McCain? You know it isn't...

    May 28, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  13. dm

    A counddown until Obama goes to Iraq? McSame of Bush is really off his rocker...

    May 28, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  14. David, Santa Rosa, CA

    John... shut up. Now's not the time. We Dems (and maybe Americans in general) are FREAKING ticked-off and have little patience. Scott McClellans book in conjunction with the administrations response, has some of us seeing red, and your war drum is inappropriate. That you embrace this mans policies (GWB) is beyond comprehension. That alone says that not all the dots are on your dice.

    Just shut it relative to war. It's rarely the answer but usually the first option! You should go on trial along with GW, Dick, Scooter, Karl, and the other muderers in the administration.

    May 28, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  15. Linda Esen

    And when u McCain went it was in the green zone with over a 1000 soldiers protecting u on top of that and markets set up as prop's ...who needs to waste time with a warmonger. Funny my 8 years old niece said the other day : if McCain continues to mess up Iraq – he has nothing to loose becasue he is kicking th ebucket within the next five NO you can not become president.


    May 28, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  16. Ex-Democrat in Iowa

    My brother is in the Military and he as ZERO confidence in Obama's ability to be Commander in Chief. He doesn't like Hillary either, but he feels Obama is too weak to lead.

    I agree.

    May 28, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  17. Ryan

    "My son in law is doing his second tour in Iraq now.
    He is voting for McCain. Enough said."

    He knows how to shoot a gun but isn't very bright?

    Safety be with him though, hopefully McBush doesn't get him killed.

    May 28, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  18. MJAMES

    The main reason I could never vote for MCain is the thought of having to hear him say 'My Friends...' over and over and over and over and..

    May 28, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  19. Jon H., Denver, CO

    I think this is a valid question, even though I'm not a McCain supporter.

    May 28, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  20. J S Ragman

    Maybe Barack Obama believes that Amadinejad is more truthful than Petraeus. Afterall, Patraeus does work for the Bush administration and everyone knows how much truth comes out of that ship pf fools.

    May 28, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  21. Kristal

    McCain is a silly, silly man. Games and more won't work any longer...time for a positive change (which btw does not include war).

    May 28, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  22. Florida - RFO '08/12

    This is clearly a stunt, a fact finding mission to any location by a politician exposes them to the normal "dog and pony show" that the command wants to present.

    I've seen those stunts many times in during my 20+ years of military service.

    Go Barack '08/12

    May 28, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  23. Andrew

    I thought the Commander in Chief is the leader of our troops....

    May 28, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  24. Perla

    I'm sure Sen. McCain would appreciate having Sen. Obama by his side. He could help McCain keep the players straight, as Lieberman was forced to do on their jaunt earlier this spring. How anyone could watch those botched press conferences and still think McCain has a clue about the U.S. occupation of Iraq is beyond me.

    May 28, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  25. Bob

    Why these senators want to go to Iraq(of course at our tax payers expense)...

    I think we a fed up with this tours in Iraq.....

    Now he need to tell us when he wants to "Bomb,Bomb,Bomb "Iran.

    Tell us the difference between Shia and Sunni?!....

    How many lives more need to be shed before we have sensible leaders.?...

    We lost our sight on our real enemy...

    May 28, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
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