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. X

    If solving this iraq issue is easy as "how many times I been there", maybe mccain should live there for the next 100 years. On that note, since Iraqis lives there longer than most Americans by 1000+ years, maybe they know their own situation the best and how it should be solved, so why are we there again? is it still WMD? Yellow cake? what are the new rules to the never ending game of meat grinding? it's a sacrifice we the super riches are welling to make, and it's not just for profits, we call it "freedom".

    support the troops, no more meat grinders.

    Jacksonville, FL

    May 28, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  2. Army Captain


    You are a nasty dirty politition and the only reason you bring up these pointless issues is because you are going to lose in NOV. Its bad enough that you are losing to both Barack and Hilary in the nations polls...What do you think is going to happen when the world sees the DEMs in the convention cheering around Barack. And of course Hilary will be there rooting on for him not because she wants to but because she has too. That single moment will boots him to the top and give him a 8 pecent lead in the race to the white house. Old man you are about ensuring the bushes of the world have a life after death. YOU NEED TO GROW UP MCCAIN. AS A SOLDIER I AM SICK OF YOU ANTICS AND DIRTY POLITICS

    DEMS 08

    May 28, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  3. richard

    obama should go to iraq to bring our troops home and not to be told how much progress the iraqis have made building roads and voting.

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

    John McCain is a 193 year old tool bag who want to spend our country into oblivion fighting an UNCONSTITUTIONAL BOONDOGGLE of a war until he's 293 years old. He also votes against veterans consistently. War hero in the 1960s? Yes. Out of touch and unAmerican now? Very much so.

    May 28, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  5. Dave

    I'm a republican who supports Obama, but I think he should check out Iraq. Although he should wait until the primaries are over and he has secured the proper number of delgates. It would show unity between the parties.

    May 28, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  6. Jonathan Florida

    Mccain I am a republican and I voted for Bush and not you. There was a reason for me not to like you back then. I do not have to go to Iraq to know it is a worthless war. My parents never went to Vietnam and they knew it was a worthless war. Who cares about Iranian influence in Iraq. If you read books, you would know, Iranian shiites and Iraqi shiites do not like each other. Who cares about that region anyways. The price of oil cares. But paying 20/gallon is not worth one American life you sorry excuse for a republican, you make us look bad.

    Are you trying to say Patreus does not speak the truth? Better yet, you go to Iraq and fight alongside the troops since you love the war so much.

    Republican for life!! Republican by god!! Republican by birth!! Republican agains McCain by choice!!

    May 28, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  7. rs

    Go to Iraq together!? Hey, John, how about this:

    Stop trying to get Obama to go on a date with you and instead tell the American people your definition of victory in Iraq.

    May 28, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  8. RR

    We shouldn't be in Iraq in the first place. McCain, you are a stubborn old man who won't change!!

    May 28, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  9. Catholic for Obama

    Going to Iraq with McCain isn't a problem. But it seems McCain doesn't want to talk about G.I Bill he refused to embrace and sign. You had 11 republicans sign that bill and their was no excuse for McCain to not have participated. Republicans are always crying about "supporting the troops", but McCain has failed to do so.
    McCain dismissed the G.I Bill 8 times !!!

    So before McCain goes off ranting about how many times a democrat has visited Iraq. How about you be the war hero you are McCain and do something for the Veterans at home.

    May 28, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  10. Yankee Air Pirate

    He can't risk being seen with his Sunni handlers.He's known to them as Baraq Hussein Abdul-Moshen Obama.

    May 28, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  11. Jon

    Obama is a fool. How can Obama make an informed decision on the Iraq war without actually having seen it. I know he went for two days more than two years ago. But that is not enough. He says he wants to have hope and change for our country, than he needs go to Iraq learn for himself what the situation is and prove to all Americans that he is serious about dealing with the Iraq war on an educated footing and not just political spin.

    May 28, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  12. Helen Franklin

    Why should Obama be willing to sit down with Gen. Petraeus in Iraq when he has stated over and over that we should neverhave gone there in the first place? Don't you think McCain's suggestion that he should accompany him there is nothing more than an attempt to portray Obama as ignorant of what is happening there simply because he, McCain has gone there ?

    May 28, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  13. Lulu

    Why is this man so fixated about wars, if you going to Iraq and telling our military it is time for them to come home, then by all means, please go but if you are going over to use them again, then God, please let McCain oversleep and miss his flight, thank you.

    May 28, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  14. Sophie in Dallas

    Amazing how the title of this story directly conflicts with the truth, as a medica source that reaches millions of Americans–who may have only enough time to read a title of a story–this is amazingly misleading.

    Oh yes, lets see who's wasted more tax payer money going to Iraq to be surrounded by secret service excetera–you Mcain. Barack has a young family to think about as well.

    Obama 08-12'
    Vote for peace

    May 28, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  15. Less, Austin Tx

    What is McCain's point here? McCain's point and only goal is to make our troops permanent home Iraq.

    That's it! That's all this guy talks about is War and everything that implies to it.

    And another thing, this guy needs to stop referring to the people as "My friends", NO WAY... not a man who's only concern is War, blood and death. A direction for permanent destruction for our kids, our kids children, so forth, and so on, if this man is elected.

    May 28, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  16. Ratgurl

    Um, don't we have Generals here, in the US, that get regular reports (like daily or hourly, if needed) about how things are going in Iraq? How stupid is it to take a trip on the taxpayers' dime to pose for pictures while walking through a "newly freed market"? Seems to me Obama made the right descision to stay here & concentrate on making a difference here. He seems well aware that the military can hold their own without a photo-op!

    McCain is a poser.

    May 28, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |


    May 28, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  18. McShame

    Who really cares how many trips are taken if they don't change the outcome? Save the taxpayers some money and stay at home and just fix the process I say.

    May 28, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  19. Sharon Minnesota

    May 28th, 2008 4:20 pm ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    The number one and two issues that Americans should be considering in this election are national security and the War in Iraq. John McCain has promised to get us out safely after settling the disputing factions by 2013. Not a bad deal, considering that we have a whole lot to lose if we follow a reckless Barack Obama into a world of chaos.

    Better think twice before pushing that lever in the upcoming General Election. The so called number one issue (economy) propaganda is of no consequence if national security and the war in Iraq are ignored to our detriment.

    May 28, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  20. R.T.

    McCain is right! (I know that will make some of your heads explode)

    Why wouldn't Obama want to go visit to see first hand? Why wouldn;t he want to personally sit down with Gen. Paetreus? Is it because if he sees things are actually going well it hurts him politically? If so, that is disgustingly partisan. So much for change.

    May 28, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  21. American Abroad

    This policy of not talking to our enemies because one day they'll listen to us and do what we tell them to do is about as ridiculous as the people who support this disillusioned idea. Even before Obama proposed the idea, I have been a staunch supporter of reaching out to those countries we call "evil." By ignoring those countries' leaders, we ignore millions of innocent people (whom those leaders are supposed to represent) and who wish the U.S. would one day display true leadership in the world rather than backseat drive the rest of the way.

    May 28, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Dear McCain, you went to irak many time, but yet still get confused between shiites and sunni, Iranians, and Alquaida !
    so pls give us a break....

    AND you admit that war was because of oil

    for your information, that war is won...we re currently in an OCCUPATION situation. YOU DONT surrender in ocupation time, you withdraw....jesus...

    IRAK is not Vietnam...dont try to bring vietnman to irak in order to satisfy your traumatized, psychotic ego ! Spare our kids life !

    PLUS...i invite all of u people here to inform yourself about McCain and his so called heroic behavior. POW who were there say that he was given special treatment because he was a "good trade prisonner"( his father is a US Amiral)
    Plus, he collaborated with vietnamese...spoke on radio many time...some even say the torture tactics he discribed never occured in the camp where he was.
    It is said that he has been covering facts...


    surf the internet

    May 28, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  23. Danel

    Boy the looks of McCain. I can't wait to see mcCain and Obama hammers if up on face to face debates. Hope he don't blows up his gasket.

    May 28, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  24. Denise P Quinton

    Probably because Obama is trying to figure out where Iraq is located, maybe he can call Condi Rice and they can figure it out together.....NO OBAMA for this Democrat, HILLARY rules and stop badmouthing someone who at least served his country and was a POW, plus a USNA graduate, something OBAMA could never have accomplished.
    When will Americans realize he is nothing but empty rhetoric?

    May 28, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  25. Citizen's

    Come on , Seriously MC Cain should not even be a real threat. With his age and his record at the Senate. He has no room to talk. HE is backed by many a fool. Its republicans how drove the economy in the ground side ways. It will take some one real to get us out. The iraq war is wrong . Yet Mc Cain supports the death of the innocent. Cnn you should think about who and how you choose to interviw people . I have long watched you . But now I wonder if you support republicans like fox does.

    May 28, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
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