May 29th, 2008
06:19 AM ET
7 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. Marcus B. POST MY COMMENT

    I'm sorry, but you don't have to go to Iraq to know it's a mess. It was a mess when our soldiers went in, and it will be a mess when they leave...no matter if it's 2009 or 2013. There is no battle to be won in Iraq. It is a bottomless pit, and there are too many things going wrong in our own democracy for us to be in the Middle East trying to establish other nations. BUT WAIT....THEY HAVE OIL!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let's focus our attention on Afghanistan and Iran after we fix America!
    Furthermore, why would he want to take a trip with his opponet after John McCain called it a "learning experience." I agree that Senator Obama is not a foreign policy or national security expert, but it would be stupid of him to get schooled by someone who thinks our mission in Iraq is successful! The last media storm Obama needs is his educational journey with Senator McCain.

    May 28, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  2. Bill NY

    Whenever I hear Mr. McCain speak, the words Manchurian Candidate keep going through my head over and over again. I am sick of hearing about progress in a war that should have never been fought in the first place. Once again I am hearing words: give unto Halliburton what is the the American People's over and over!

    May 28, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  3. Jackie

    McCain, Rice, Bush and Cheney have been to Iraq too many times to count and what has it proven? Obama needs to show the people that the reason McCain goes after him for these silly things is because he's got no clue on what to say to the American public about why he wants to continue killing our young people and spending billions of dollars.

    A McCain win is a third term of Bush. Wake Up America!!!

    May 28, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  4. Wil DLS

    What did Iraq have to do with Illinois in 2006? Obama's concerns were with his state and his country. Just because McCain made a recent trip to Iraq doesn't give him the right to criticize Obama for not making his trip in recent moments. If that were the case, then when was the last time McCain took a tour of Africa?

    May 28, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  5. Tim

    Yes John, and the last time you went to Iraq you told everyone you walked around the markets without a bulletproof vest and said that General Petraus drove around in a vehicle without armor. Both were lies. The trips to Iraq are pointless when you go walking around in secured areas with 100 soldier escorts. That doesn't tell you the truth of what's going on and you're just deceiving yourself.

    May 28, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  6. RR

    Be quiet.....Simon Barr Sinister!!

    May 28, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  7. anna

    Will you just shut up and get out Mr. Mcbush

    May 28, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  8. Sadie

    John in PA-
    Thomas Jefferson also had slaves, what's your point?
    There is no way Hillary can win this, and McCain's chances are slim to none. I can't wait for 2009. No more Bush is like a dream come true!

    May 28, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  9. P. Dixon

    We all respect, senator McCains service to this country and the tremendous sacrifice that he made, as did so many other soldiers. However, that doesn't make him the end all authroity of foriegn affairs. I don't have to stick my finger in the fire to know it's hot. Neither does Senator Obama have to have the military background that McCain has to be able to understand the politics and doplomacy needed to address the issue of Iraq. Nor does he need to be a decorated war hero to see the impact that this war is having on our country and all of it's citizens. I guess when you have one strong point you tend to harp on it. Other than his miliatry and foriegn policy strength, McCain doesn't have much to offer. Hopefully, with some much needed diplomacy and redirection of our military resources, where needed, this issue of Iraq will be put to bed. Whatever will Mcain talk about then?

    May 28, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  10. Brian McBoston

    Activist Caucusbama will lose us the White House again. He's too wet behind the ears to be put up now. R's are just getting started and he's already behind in the electoral college, losing OH, FL and MI and possibly NJI!!!! Hillary takes all those and may add CO, WV, VA. Do we want to win or lose, Dems?

    May 28, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  11. Why????

    What is up with Mccain pushing Obama to go to Iraq with him? Obama doesn't need Mccain as a sidekick. So, what is up with that?

    May 28, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  12. Paul

    What nonsense. McCain himself is proof that you can visit Iraq and still be wrong on policy.

    May 28, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  13. Javi

    Is this guy serious? Do we really want the two presumptive presidential candidates doing a photo op in Iraq at this moment? Well, maybe if you're with the Clinton campaign . . . or even the Alan Keyes campaign.

    (Oh and for the dolts calling Obama a liar for misspeaking and saying Auschwitz instead of Buchenwald: do you yourselves know the difference between the two?)

    May 28, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  14. Linda of Atlanta

    This is indeed the silly season! The only reason McCain went to Iraq was to get press coverage for himself and his two stooges, Lieberman and Graham. Does anybody doubt that?

    May 28, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  15. Michael

    Yeah, he really needs to stop saying "my friends," it just sounds wrong when he says it. Just in general, how can anybody stand to hear him speak? It's so awful. He clearly is not educated, and can't keep his facts straight even when they're on a teleprompter in front of his eyes. Just because he has been in politics for a long time doesn't mean he is fit to be president.

    I can't wait until the Obama-McCain debates, where Obama will win hands down every time... and hopefully the American people will see who is actually the weaker candidate...

    May 28, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  16. Catherine

    Huh?....and your point is, Sen McCain?

    ...whatever....

    May 28, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  17. USMC Vet

    What I find interesting is that we send our kids to boot camp for a few months, and can ship them off to war without a second thought, yet, we spend YEARS trying to teach a bunch of grown men, many of them former Iraqi guard, to police their own country. There has been ample time to determine rank, military structure, and training. All we should ever need to do is get the senior officials organized and up to speed, then let them train their own military in their own way.

    May 28, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  18. rs

    It's not about how well the troops have secured Iraq. We know they've done a great job. It's about how long we're gonna ask them to do the job that the Iraqi government (with their billions in oil revenues) should be doing.

    May 28, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  19. KateLynn

    It doesn't matter how many times you visit Iraq, McBush, as long as you keep your eyes shut every time you visit. Just to shut McLame up, Sen. Obama, please visit Iraq once.

    May 28, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  20. Candi California

    Going to Iraq is nothing more than a publicity stunt which could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and could endanger troops there. WHY?

    May 28, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  21. Marcus B. POST MY COMMENT

    POST MY COMMENT CNN!!!!!!!!!!!

    I'm sorry, but you don't have to go to Iraq to know it's a mess. It was a mess when our soldiers went in, and it will be a mess when they leave…no matter if it's 2009 or 2013. There is no battle to be won in Iraq. It is a bottomless pit, and there are too many things going wrong in our own democracy for us to be in the Middle East trying to establish other nations. BUT WAIT….THEY HAVE OIL!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let's focus our attention on Afghanistan and Iran after we fix America!
    Furthermore, why would he want to take a trip with his opponet after John McCain called it a "learning experience." I agree that Senator Obama is not a foreign policy or national security expert, but it would be stupid of him to get schooled by someone who thinks our mission in Iraq is successful! The last media storm Obama needs is his educational journey with Senator McCain.

    May 28, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  22. @americans

    George Dubya Bush NEVER visited IRAK before he started an unjust and a propaganda war to kill 4000 innocent american soldiers and countless Irakis civilian citizens!

    Mcshame should take a visit around the United States and see what this unjust war is costing millions of americans!

    May 28, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  23. Billie Ames

    But Obama said he would meet with all of America's enemies; he did not say he would meet with our allies. In fact, he said just a few days ago words to the effect that he will go his own way regardless of what our allies think. He is such an idiot.

    May 28, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  24. Val, Atlanta, Ga

    Why do McCain feel that he has so much experience concerning the war, wasn't he a POW for 5 years, I'm sorry maybe I don't really understand what a war Hero is, thats why he is so hell bent on winning this war because he didn't win the last one and if they did he didn't have anything to do with it. So as far as I am concern he has some messed up motives just like Bush did. He has no experience on the War, the Economy, the Housing Situation. Please get this man out of there he is very Senial.

    May 28, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  25. Voter

    Mc Cain has nothing to say about Obama he is desperate and trying to digg anything he can find. Guns and Tanks are the weapons of the past and diplomacy like the one proposed by Obama are today and the future's weapon. So much has been already achieved using diplomacy, with no bloodshed and without the trillion $ spent in Irak so far.

    Obama O8

    May 28, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19