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. Susan

    There is no need for Sen. Obama to visit Iraq. He didn't want the war there, he doesn't APPROVE of anything that has been done there because it's all a TERRIBLE MESS.

    I support out troops and so does Sen. Obama. There is no way that visiting makes that situation any better. He has to make his priorities and visiting a place he didn't want to bomb – isn't one of them.

    It proves nothing by going there. McCAIN is a rabid warmonger – he's looking for things to TRY to pick on – it's STUPID!

    May 28, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  2. John Smith

    Hillary is like "Viagra," she is great at "exciting" or "arousing" the Republican base.

    Given that the Republicans are looking quite "impotent" and under-aroused at this time, the Democrats will do wonders by giving them Hillary!! It would really enegergize the Republican base!

    Again, you knows, the Democrats always do a great job of losing to the Republicans, and they are laying the foundations for defeat again!

    May 28, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  3. Sam Nc

    Going to Iraq is a joke you fly in walk around the green zone and that is it. That's McCains problem ...he keeps trying to convince himself and the rest of us things are getting better!!! We need to let them know we are leaving and we are no longer picking up the they had better get busy. McCain is just four years of the the failed policies of Bush

    May 28, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  4. Beverly, NYC

    If Obama wannts to go to Iraq, he doesn't need to take you as a traveling companion. I remember Mccain lying to the public about how safe it was over there, until pictures clearly showed the 12 soilders and private contractors with M-16 's guarding your visit everywhere you went. Save your "education" for your friend Mr. Bush. Tell the soldiers and MArines over there why you voted against the GI bill and why you think they should be in Iraq until 2013.

    May 28, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  5. MST

    Leadership is not tell Americans that the streets of Bahgdad are free and when you are being protected by helicopter and dozens of marines!
    Not supporting bills by Webb/Hagel is a poor judgement and does not show true leadership!

    May 28, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  6. Dixie Girl

    Most of repugs have not served this country Mr McSame as Bush. I am afraid of your bad temper.

    May 28, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  7. Jason, Texas

    Um, Clinton has basically kept him here. I mean, give me a break. He is still in a campaign that should not be going on, but he must remain vigilant because the viper, i mean Clinton, will use the opportunity of his absence to strike and make things up....

    May 28, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  8. Beckie Sue in Montana



    OBAMA '08 & '12

    May 28, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  9. meck

    Is there a law by Iraq that McCain should go there every 3 months? If McCain wants to buy a house and live in Iraq they might welcome him I think. No foreclosures there!
    Obama will go to Iraq ofcourse; once he wraps up the nomination. Just not on McCain's watch. The only clock the RNC should be looking at right now is the General Election one……coz they will lose terribly if they dont get their act together.
    Just wait till Obama becomes nominee…..46 delegates to go, in counting.

    Meck, Vanc

    May 28, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  10. Abby

    Lol… So when Obama goes on his scheduled trip, McCain can say
    “he only went because I told him”. What a loony... He"s plaing childish games while there are serious issues needing to be dealt with. Not.This.Time.

    May 28, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  11. Virginia

    John McCain is so out of touch. It is just sad to here this confused old man rail on about irrelevant and insignificant things when there is so much more at stake. I am scared to death that the right-wing media (CNN, Fox, MSNBC, etc.) are going to carry this dishonorable, war-mongering, borderline senile man to the Whitehouse. He will complete the job that W has started – destroying America.

    May 28, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  12. King of NJ

    Oooo Mcsame I cant wait untill we wrap up this nomination so we can focus on you!!! the joy!

    May 28, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  13. Black Republican-on-fence, New York, New York

    McCain has to get out of this hole he is digging himself. Iraq is not a popular topic with Americans, so why go there? Go with Iran and Syria and Hezbollah and Hamas! Those are bigger troublemakers for the next US President, and the need to know how to handle them is what MCain should be addressing.

    May 28, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  14. Jaik , chicago, IL

    Neither Obama, McCain, or the US Millitary should have ever gone to Iraq in the first place. A tour through Iraq by US Senators is so carefully controlled and thoroughly secured and screened that they could see nothing but a cheery picture from the inside of a green zone any way, all prepared and scripted by the Pentagon's military industrial complex with money at stake. No wonder McCain thinks we should be there.

    May 28, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  15. JOJOd

    LOL. This is the mighty McStupid, the guy who doesn't even know the difference between the Sunnis and Shia! What does he DO when he's in Iraq?

    May 28, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  16. Mike

    Mr McCain,
    Why don't you just go if you like Gen. Petrasus and Iraq so much. In fact why don't just go and never come back.

    May 28, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  17. Vaxe J L

    Why dont you go sit down some where old man !!!

    May 28, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  18. skylark

    Excuse me? When did betrayus become a world leader? Is he the president of Iraq now? Nobody told us.
    Why would anyone in their right mind go there? Hoping for sniper fire McCain?

    May 28, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  19. Annette

    We really don't have the patience for a political show,our men are dying each day over this sensely war. Charts, stats and diagrams what will that prove Senator McCain.

    May 28, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  20. Felly

    McSame, the war monger. Shame on you and Bush with the war scandal and joint secret fundraising.

    May 28, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  21. kim portland, oregon

    duuuuuuuhhhhhhhhh, like we didnt see this feeble move coming from a mile away!!!

    obama owes you NOTHING, and there is no reason for him to go to iraq. youre the FOOL who strolled the streets proclaiming how safe and successful everything is-GET A CLUE, MCSAME!!!! we are soooo over your lies, your war, your empty words of supporting the troops (why didnt you even bother to go to washington to vote for the GI bill if the troops are so important to you-FOR SHAME, MCSAME).


    now johnny, go play your silly games with someone else; obama and the democrats have A LOT of adult work to do to clean up your BFF's messes. we'll call you in when it's time for snacky!!!

    May 28, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  22. Cammi317

    This man gives me the creeps....EWWWWW!

    May 28, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  23. PatrickTM

    And they would go there why? And do what? Certainly if he became CIC, he should go there for a first hand look, But then, when Cheney and Bush go, they do it in secret, give no advance notice, hide in a very secure location, stay for a few hours, and mostly meet with the troops. That is helpful how?

    May 28, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  24. smw

    hilarious comment from the guy who had himself filmed "strolling" through the market in Iraq while helicopers flew overhead and several hundred armed guards stood in a circle around the guy. Not to mention that after all these many visits, he can't tell Sunnis from Shiites. Lol.

    May 28, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  25. War! what is it good for

    Yes, everyone should go to Iraq and see for themselves that it's far from over. But unlike the president of Iran, we have to go at night and under very secret conditions. You have to remember that they like American tax money but like use Americans as target practices. Also, remember to always wear bulletproof vest when strolling the market areas.

    May 28, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
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