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. Travis (in the real world)

    Groping for straws John, you can only live off you past military stuff for so long then it becomes OLD NEWS....JUST LIKE YOU.

    May 28, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  2. Linda31

    Talk about twisting peoples words and you say its not politics???? Obama did not refuse to talk to Petraeus. Talking to are enemies is a totally different topic.

    That's not a misunderstanding. Obama has already said that he will talk to advisors ( which I'm sure includes Petraeus when the time comes) as to the best course of action about withdrawing from the war. That is not surrending, considering the FACT we should not be there in the first place.

    A man that says " I will never withdraw from Iraq" not someone I want in charge. Never withdrawing means that we will be stay 100 yrs plus?? How about giving our troops, the ones who you want to stay in Iraq and never withdraw, additional benefits.

    May 28, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  3. Rose - Baltimore, MD

    Obama's vision is not to visit soldiers in Iraq. Iraq is not their home. His mission is to bring them back home. Your vision Mccain, is to have them their for 100 years, you go visit them, alone. Us dems need to work on getting them home.

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

    Sure McCain. You and Obama can go and stroll the streets of Iraq and scroll through the swelling bank accounts of the Iraqis government for a lesson on how well our intrusion of the civil war is going. Are you freaking nuts!! The best the two of you can do is "look" out the window of an airplane, much like Bush did over Louisiana, and point to how devistated the area looks now compared to what it use to look like. How very inappropriate of you to make this into a political campaign proposition when we have men and women on the ground in that area fighting for their lives for no apparent reason.

    May 28, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  5. TunnelVision

    A war that has overstretched our military,cost thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars without making us safer – a profound misunderstanding of the situation....

    Maybe someone cut off the power switch in his head..

    McINsane

    May 28, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  6. Bill 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 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  7. Army Veteran

    Last time you were there John, you tide up an entire battalion trying to secure a road for you. Please keep all politicians away from the combat zone, it just creates more danger for the troops and much more work.

    Besides, if you want to know how its going just do like Obama has done more times than you Mr. Mccain and visit the troops in the Hospital stateside.

    May 28, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  8. Chris in Denver

    Give me a break Senator McCain. We already lost what was at stake in Iraq. There is already chaos, genocide, heavy Iranian influence and great American sacrifice! And anybody, including Senator Obama, need not fly to Iraq to see what is going on.

    May 28, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  9. Dee Okla.

    Why should Obama go with him?

    May 28, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  10. Timothy

    Why would a one time visit with heavy military security in a region of Iraq show a sign of progress. Politicans are a one time photo opp. Now if Mr. McCain is willing to stay 6 mos to 1 year then and perhaps then Mr. McCain can say there is progress. If Iwere Mr. Obama, I wouldn't go either. It to is a disloyality to the men and women who serve and ccan not travel in a protected bubble.

    May 28, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  11. MC, Maryland

    McCain why are you worried about what Obama is doing? For someone with 25 years of experience you are doing a lot of "scabbling" to keep up with Obama. Why are you cleaning house, hiding from being seen with Bush and talking about pulling the troops out of Iraq? See folks Obama is already changing Washington and he isn't even President yet.

    Obama 08

    May 28, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  12. bobo

    my parents think that if you don;t talkt about an illness it doesn't exist. McGramps must think the same way about Iraq, but new with a twist of lime...talk about how often you visited..apparently visiting the country is all you need to makre sure things are going your way and for deciding to stay a 100 years

    May 28, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  13. a REAL American

    Come on John..... give the kid a break. He's not going to work with others and take suggestions from a Republican, you know that!! Silly old man....to think Obama would want to investigate something first hand before forming an opinion.....

    May 28, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  14. Tony

    So let me get this straight.......All of the pre war propaganda and early war propaganda was all lies or stretching of the truth but now this year the new propaganda is that if we leave "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." Why should we believe that? The war information has been 95% lies 5% truth. The 5% truth is that our troops are dying. Now if you are interested in a 5-10, or 5-25 year War in Iraq hey I think McanotherBush is your guy and I suggest you register and vote. Otherwise those of us who are educated will make the more logical choice. I am also waiting for him to get more educated on our economy. Did you finish the Greenspan book yet John? Hahahaha

    May 28, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  15. Thomas

    Right on mark.

    All he does is give speeches – if he as concerned as he says he is about the war, why doesn't he meet Gen. patraeus in person to express his misgivings on how the war is being handled.

    But no, Mr. Elite doesn't want to get his hands dirty. Delivering speeches written by Axelrod from podiums decorated with "Change" is all he does, and to be honest, all he is capable of doing.

    Really, what has Obama done? Has he ever been out on the field like Hillary or even McCain. Obama disgusts me. He's just a whining pinko.

    May 28, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  16. McSame

    Tell us again about your visit John? How you lied and said no armed troops accompanied you as you walked safely around Iraq? How you said Petraeous doesn't ever use an armored vehicle in Iraq? Do you really think we've forgotten how you lied about your Iraq visit, John? Face reality McBush. We've been lied to enough..go home RNC for the next 16 years.

    May 28, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  17. angel

    McCain you have nerve to speak of anything concerning our great vets...GOING against the GI BILL is horrible ...but you have a sugar momma so I guess you dont care for the LITTLE PEOPLE any longer, The brave young and old VETs who are giving their blood, sweat, tears and lives for your PARTYS failed invasion deserve EVERYTHING this country can give them ....
    How can you of ALL PEOPLE tell them they are not worth it ....
    The AMERICAN people will show you through their votes what they think....
    God Bless Our Brave young men and women and I pray that the wise women and men who have the power to, give them what they deserve and have earned , which in my book is ANYTHING and EVERYTHING they want ......
    They have been working HARD for almost 7 years trying to fix the current administrations MESS ......
    They are heros .....

    May 28, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  18. Darren M.

    Mc Cain is either smoking that chronic, or Altheheimers is setting in. Basically he's saying that Obama hasn't been to Iraq enough for photo ops, like he has. I think most voters would rather Obama stay right in the USA, and start working on plans to fix the crap we are now wallowing around in. Obama can go to Iraq in 2009 when he tells the hard working soldiersinperson that they are finally going home to stay.

    May 28, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  19. Chut Pata

    "seize that opportunity to educate Senator Obama along the way." The only people needing education are Bush and McBush on how much this war has costed.

    "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". Typpical Bush style fear-mongering. Reality check McBush! There is already choas, genocide, increased Iranian influence, and we are already sacrificing American blood and treasure.

    May 28, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  20. GoHillary

    BO should be ashamed of himself for trying to glam up his lack of experience and lack of military knowledge by inventing an uncle that SAVED THE JEWS.

    Give us a break BO – it's just more of your BS!!!

    May 28, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  21. bill pike

    this is why generations of families in the military have no business in the exec branch. WHEN ONE BODY COMES HOME IT IS TOO MUCH BECAUSE THIS IS A WAR THAT DID NOT HAVE TO HAPPEN IN A COUNTRY WHO WILL HAVE CIVIL WAR WHICH IS RELIGIOUS WARS 1,000 YEARS FROM NOW. No, you and bush need to greet every family of every dead soldier face to face and explain this to them. If we were winning a no called for war bodies wouldn't be coming to our shores.

    signed: dad was an office in WWII, uncle tommy a west point and war hero in Korea–bronze star and part of the stature in DC on Korea was molded by him, served army 63-65 and i am BITTER at what you and bush have done. We need legal action after novermeber against bush and ALL his people who got us into a war where we have lost more lives than we lost in 911 and Iraq had nothing to do with 911.

    May 28, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  22. Sharon Minnesota

    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 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  23. rumpusgoopus

    Well, when you're completely defeated on almost all policy issues, you have to rant about non-issues like this.

    May 28, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  24. Nick - Arlington, VA

    "...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." -> funny, that is already happening.

    OLD MAN YELLS AT CLOUD

    May 28, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  25. Thomas

    ""The American people don't want any more false promises of progress, they deserve a real debate about a"

    Let the American people decide what they want. Stop your ugly rhetoric of "The American people want". You don't have a clue ....

    May 28, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
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