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. Sammy

    If I recall correctly, the last time McCain went to Iraq he talked about Iran's involvement in the insurgency in Iraq. However he overstated things and Joe Liberman had to correct him. He was standing in that country and got it wrong. Obviously proximity doesnt make one smarter.

    And by the way, in our increasingly virtual world and instant worldwide communications how often do you need to visit Iraq to decide that you want to get out ASAP?

    May 28, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  2. Mike from Westchester

    How many times did FDR go to Italy, France, Germany, or the Phillipines during WW II? How many times did JFK, Johnson, or Nixon go to Viet Nam?

    Perhaps Senator Obama could have walked through a Bhagdad marketplace with a hundred soldiers just out of camera view to "prove" to the American people how safe it is there.

    Or perhaps he could land on an aircraft carrier in a jet and just give a "mission accomplished" speech and call it a victory.

    Question for John McCain – What happens when we pull our "surge" level troops out of Iraq?

    Second question: How soon before our sons (and daughters?) become subject to a draft if you are elected?

    I do like how all of McCain's promises were made for just after the 2012 election. Does he want to make some promises he can be held accountable for before he stands for reelection (in the slim event, he is elected in the first place)?

    What a total load of crap from this guy who want to be the leader of the free world.

    May 28, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  3. ???

    "John in PA
    May 28th, 2008 4:10 pm ET

    Obamabots listen up!

    Thomas Jefferson, the true founder of our party, said it best when he talked about a majority of one being all you need. That is the true basis of the Democratic party and democracy in general. How can anyone deny Hillary the nomination if she WINS the popular vote? Please don't try some convuluted explanation about pledged delegates. It's Jefferson's MAJORITY OF ONE that matters. Hillary will have that, and the nomination will be stolen from her against the will of the people."

    Yeah, but oddly enough I don't remember Thomas Jefferson advocating counting votes in which only one candidate is on the ballot (Michigan). That sounds more like Videl Castro to me.

    May 28, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  4. Independent99999

    McCain's only chance of winning this election is with Huckabee (solidifies the South) and with FairTax enactment.
    Barring that scenario – McCain will be toasted to coffins this Nov

    May 28, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  5. Tiachi

    he has nothing else to fight him on, so he will use this... most of Americans have not been to Iraq, most politians haven't, and even if you do - they do not send you into the red zone, so whats his point? Who cares? Maybe he should be a General rather than a President. Maybe Obama will appoint him as such when he is President one day!

    May 28, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  6. AZM

    I'm no McCain fan... but believe someone who wants to be the Commander and Chief on the United States should see first hand what's going on in a conflict we are in. Obama doesn't have to agree with it, or even have had anthing to do with it starting but find nothing negative in believing he should have a good idea what's happening... half the problem is people in the past haven't had a good idea, information, etc...

    Just an opinion...

    May 28, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  7. Joe in NJ

    It just blows my mind how stupid people are to think the Democrats are going to be any better than the Republicans. Clinton, Obama, McCain – it doesn't matter who wins. God help us all.

    May 28, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  8. TF

    What is McCain holding in the picture an old man snot rag??

    May 28, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  9. Wayne, Greenville TX

    Gramps McCain is getting desperate. Stories like this show that he has nothing to bring to the table, other than four more years of failed Bush policies. And the country can't survive that.

    OBAMA '08!!!!!

    May 28, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  10. Keith R.

    News flash: it's a war zone over there.

    I wouldn't go either.

    May 28, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  11. Cord

    McCain isn't fooling anyone. There isn't anyone in their right mind want to go to Iraq(except those driven my financial motives with minimal risk) As a member of the National Guard, I spent a year (2005) in Iraq, and it was by far the worst year of my life. It meant very little to any of us there when a politician came over because they were only promoting their own personal agendas (in most cases).

    May 28, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  12. Karen from Texas

    Why would Obama want to go to a place he had the judgement to not have to deal with in the first place. This is a war that even the GOP team members are saying we should not be in. What is wrong with you people who agree with the nut!!!

    May 28, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  13. tom

    you seem to be so posesed about this war. can you talk about something else other issues.

    May 28, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  14. sprkl12000

    I don't blame him for not going...why should he? how many SENATORS have been over there?

    Seriously, the man hasn't even won the election..why is this an issue? McCain wants to keep them over there fighting an ILLEGAL war..he should make as many trips as it takes to clear his conscious!!!!

    May 28, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  15. Richard

    If a trip to Iraq means a propaganda stunt in a "safe" market with Gunships overhead or mixing up Suni and Shia, I am not sure Obama needs that.

    May 28, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  16. Neo con buster

    Obama already knows more about Iraq than McCain ever will. Phony war, phony reasons and phony politics from McCain. Phony-ness wrapped up in a senile war monger...omg

    I mean when Bush's own mouthpiece declares its propaganda... and McCain's closed door fund raising with bush...omgX2.

    May 28, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  17. A-tone

    It would be nice if Obama won the nomination before grand talks of traveling overseas.

    May 28, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  18. truthurts

    They would have you believe Obama has never been to Iraq... hmmm?

    May 28, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  19. Ron

    What's the point of visiting Iraq?!?

    So we can "stage" another visit by shutting down a whole town and pretending that everyone is safer?!?

    This is sheer nonsense and yet a better depction of what life will be like under a McCain administration. He has absolutely no measures or KPIs to explain when we can truly claim "victory" just a "dream" of what that day will be like. What garbage.

    May 28, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  20. Helena

    It would be crazy-dangerous for both leading presidential candidates to travel to Iraq together at this time.
    Senator McCain: Have you read any good books lately? I suggest Scott McClellan's new book – I heard it's a real page turner!

    May 28, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  21. Tim

    Hey John from PA

    Here is a little cheese to go with that wine!!!

    Obama 08/12

    May 28, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  22. Proud American

    Yea McCain keep wagging the dog. You're nothing more than a xerox copy of Bush. NO MORE LIES!!!

    May 28, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  23. Joe Matt

    So John McCain has been to Iraq more often. And he envisions a functioning democratic government and major troop withdrawals both happening before 2013. So he must be either delusional or blinded by his own propaganda. Are we going to be there 100 years or 4? How is this government going to magically form? He will not leave Iraq without victory. What victory? We won the military phase years ago. I don't think that anyone, the Iranians, us, especailly the Iraqis, are going to have anything to celebrate when this is finally over.

    May 28, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  24. Olivia

    Let's face it! Obama didn't do his job overseeing the conflict in Afghanistan staying here or visiting there. What makes us think he is going to put his precious skin at risk by making one of those perilous landings at baghdad airport.
    I'm sure his inner circle has advised him to ignore Mccain and take care of himself. They've got plans!
    My personal feeling is that if he is as concerned about the troops as much as he's been saying, then he should have more of a presence with them, dangerous or not. "Present" isn't going to hack it this time.
    We all know Hillary has been to Iraq to visit with the troops quite a few times. She has seen the situation first hand and is well regarded by the troops.

    May 28, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  25. MoniLuv

    Just like I (and many others suspected), the Republicans will fry Obama good. He's fresh meat and they will make sure he's burnt. Democrats should've gone with Hillary. She's already been burnt. Not much the Republicans can do to her anymore.

    May 28, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
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