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. Marc in Virginia

    I guess he's waiting to see what Hillary does first. Obama isn't fit to be president of Baskin Robbins much less the U.S.A..

    May 28, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  2. After further review,Texas

    Looks like hes going to blow his fuse even before the election.Now go get a nap gramps.

    May 28, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  3. Jane, College Park, MD

    Sen Obama had never been to Iraq in 2002 when he gave an accurate, and eerie detail of what would happen if we went to Iraq (It was as if the man had a crystal ball).

    After McCain’s “troop escalation theory”, we have lost over 1500 more American men and women in the war (and still counting)

    I have never been to Iraq, yet I know what should be done.

    This POW has become lame and we are in for a very unintelligent debate from McCain and the GOP. I am indeed disappointed.

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

    Also, there is a lot more to this election than Iraq and foreign policy. That seems to be the only issue that McCain dares hit Obama with.

    May 28, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  5. No McSame

    Its your war McSame so you go and stay there until you finish it.
    PLEASE DON'T GO OBAMA REMEMBER, Ron Brown. DON'T TRUST THEM AT ALL. We need you right here. When you get into the White House bring the kids home to see you. I think that they would like that much better. DONT TRUST THEM AT ALL. Let McSame bring his bottom over there. WARMONGER McSameAs Bush
    NAVY Vet. for Obama

    May 28, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  6. noemi in los angeles

    Maybe McCain should get a tour of his own country... since it seems he doesn't have a clue about what's going on in American soil. You can't defend the Iraqi nation if you can't save your own country.

    Democrats 08.

    May 28, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  7. Sky- kissimmee, FL

    Thats the dumbest thing I've ever heard ! So..if you dont go to iraq, you're not qualified to be president? What purpose does that solve? McSame had a hundred man detail to his security over there. Oh Brother !!! Repubs are grasping for straws here.

    OBAMA 08'/12'

    May 28, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  8. James

    McCain, please try and make a better case. This accusation does not make sense.

    May 28, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  9. sophia nyc

    That's a nice flag behind McBush.

    May 28, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  10. CN, Florida

    What is the point of going to Iraq like you where if you dont even know the difference between a Shiite and a Suni? Just for a photo OP??? Wasting the tax payer dollars in covering your a.... while you are there??? Obama will go to Iraq, but it will be to end that war !!!

    CNN post my comments !!

    May 28, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  11. sacto joe

    This is a non-news item, the latest of many from the Clinton New Network. We're wise to you, CNN, and your transparent attempts to run Senator Obama down.

    But his appeal is too broad. You should seriously reconsider atttacking him. You're just making yourselves look bad.

    Kind of like Hillary....

    May 28, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  12. Generation X

    TO OBAMA FROM JOHN MCCAIN- JM-Barack why don't you come with me to Iraq? BO- Sure will we be flying together? JM- NO! I mean no I want you to go on a different plane, a special plane! BO- What is so special about this plane? JM- It will get you there quicker!
    FROM JOHN MCCAIN TO GEORGE BUSH- JM- George I need a favor... GWB- What is it buddy? JM- Well I heard through some of my oil buddys that there is a plane that is going to land in Baghdad that is carrying a terrorist! GWB- A TERRORIST!, well we have to shoot it down then! JM- Gee Mr President that would be swell! What do I owe you? GWB- I think I am going to need a Presidential pardon when I get out of here!

    May 28, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  13. Italians 4 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 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  14. Ellie

    I think MCain is grasping at straws. The issue is not how many times Obama has been to Iraq. The big issue here is what are we doing to get our soldiers out of Iraq.

    May 28, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  15. Al

    Ok Granpa I got one question for me, Okay you have been in Iraq for couple of times that is right, but was it really Iraq? I am asking you because I don't believe any of your words.
    Oh can you tell me the differences between Sunni and Shia?
    Thought so, no you can't.

    Adios Granpa

    May 28, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  16. Justin, Sherman Oaks, CA

    Isn't Obama still in a primary campaign?

    May 28, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  17. Reggie

    McCain made a good point. Obama would rather go to Cuba or Iran than to Iraq to support our troops. Hard to believe anyone is considering voting for that man.

    May 28, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  18. James B. New Jersey

    "Treasure" is the operative work. Can you say OIL. Hey the loss of American lives for "treasure" we didn't have in the first place was worth blood lost! I think American lives are more important than OIL! Besides McCain only vistied the areas that were safe and under heavy guard. He couldn't even go back to the Market he fist televised in one of his trips to Iraq, because it was too dangerous. Obama should go to Iraq and talk to Iraqi people on his own terms just so we can see what they have to say about the war. Then allow him to talk to our troops that he selectes and see what they have to say about the war. That should be the conditions of his trip to the country.

    May 28, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  19. Anne

    So, Grampy McSame claims he "learned" something while walking through the pre-screened market wearing a flak jacket and guarded by hundreds of troops and Apache helicopters??

    What a crock!

    May 28, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  20. Ed

    After you created the mess want to drag everyone into it disgraceful republican bunch!

    May 28, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  21. BBR

    Some of the things he says is just comical. Why is there "sacrifice of American blood and treasure" in the first place. now he worries about it. where was he at the start of this mess! Unjust War!

    May 28, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  22. AL

    go find a rocking chair MCSenile
    Americans are not falling for the war propaganda any longer!!!

    At least Obama is willing to strive for peace!!

    May 28, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  23. Kathy

    My question to the “under 30 generation” who for the first time in their lives “found their voice”… in Obama…..where have you been? Why not until now have you not exercised your right to vote? You place your faith in a man who has not been tested, pocesses little record of accomplishment and little to no experience in international or economic matters. Go back and check the record…Obama released his platform weeks after Clinton released her Solutions For America agenda. His were extremely similar to hers. The Clinton campaign reacted to the release of the Obama platform by saying…”at least his is not that different than ours” So I ask you, what does this man stand for when he copies what it convenient to his campaign? For shame!

    Life to you folks seems rather simple. I suppose in your minds, Obama offers a sense of entitlement both for himself and his supporters - your/his time has come. The simple fact is that if you look past his rhetoric there is little substance. You buy into his chant of “change..yes we can” with little thought or experience as to the complexities involved in bringing about change. Some of you worship him like he is a “messiah”, here to save us from ourselves. He may in fact be anointed the nominee, and you like him, will think nothing can stop you. The simple and relevant truth is……. One can fool some of the people some of the time…but not all the people…. all the time.

    McCain may represent a party for which I may not find a lot of common ground however, I respect his honor, integrity and sacrifice to our country, the scars of which he still bears as a testament to his courage…. And I will place my hope for change in him.-he is not Bush… He has earned my respect and most likely my vote and the votes of millions of others who feel the same way.

    For the sake of our country and that of our future….thank god there are more of us than you, and we will not allow this fantasy to continue past Nov. DNC party chairs and uncommitted superdelgates… either stop this false prophet now….or we will do so with our votes come Nov.

    And to all those, Obama supporters, who have previously responded to my comment, or wish to now I say this…you are being fooled by the joker himself-Obama. Study up on your American history….this man will put up a pretty decent fight, however in the end, he will join the ranks of Kerry and other far-left liberals….bitter and clinging to his religion wondering why he came so far only to have the door slam shut on him.

    May 28, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  24. Debby

    OMG Burton calling it a political stunt for Obama to visit the troops and see whats going on there. The more I hear Obama's speech's the more it seems he is a legend in his own mind. I cannot believe he would turn down a visit to Iraq as the possible leader of our country. This is pathetic.

    May 28, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  25. Dennis

    I think Iraq is the only issue McCain feels confident to talk about. Given his past speeches on it, I'm not sure he should. I think he forgets that the economy is the issue foremost in the minds of Americans, and in that arena, he is out of his league.

    May 28, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
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