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. Jaybrown NY/NJ

    Mr. Stiffarmstrong needs to relax. So what he hasn't been there in two years. He's been campaigning for at least 15 months plus. I don't need to go over there to know that it's messed up over there and that the media is not telling us everything. I don't need to go over there to see that the Iraq police and military needs more help and that they seem to be relying on us heavily. I don't need to go there to see how complex the situation is and how very difficult it's going to be to end this whole thing and bring our troops home. Before he bashes Barack Obama, give him a chance to go. He doesn't have to go with McCain. Why? I'm sure he will go on his own once he secures the nomination. He doesn't need Stiffarmstrong to show him around and paint him the rosie picture of how much progress is being made.

    May 28, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  2. Brandon

    Please tell us what a "victory" in Iraq looks like Sen McCain!? We need to know what your gameplan is, not just a fantasy speech about what you would like the end of your first term to look like.

    Tell us what "victory" is and how you plan to acheive it!

    May 28, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  3. Virginia

    Oh, and by the way, I realize my comments won't get posted because free speech in this country is only about echoing what the corporate owners of the media (less than five these days, btw) want published.

    Sad.

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

    PS:
    I am not your friend ,John.

    May 28, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  5. THINK AMERICA

    RIGHT MR. MCCAIN I CAN BUY A BUNCH OF APPLES AND FRUITS ON THE STREETS OF BAGHDAD. WALK AROUND FREELY AND NOT WORRY ABOUT THE FREAKIN I.E.D BLOWING MY BRAINS OUT. WE ARE NOT IN VIETNAM MCCAIN WAKE UP. REPUBLICAN TALKIN POINTS " DEMOCRATS ARE RADICALS, TERRORIST, UNPATRIOTIC AND ANTI-AMERICAN BECAUSE THEY DONT SUPPORT THE WAR". LET ME BE SPECIFIC NEOCONS AND SOME OF THE REPUBLICANS ARE GOING TO LEAD TO THE DOWN FALL OF THE GREAT NATION. THEY ARE ARROGANT AND ARE SO NOT PROGRESSIVE. OLD THINKERS AND NOW WE NEED A FOSSIL AS PRESIDENT. GOOD LUCK AMERICA WE ARE DOOMED

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

    GO GET HIM MCCAIN

    OBAMA IS ALL TALK NO ACTION!!!!!!!!!!

    May 28, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  7. JT Johnson

    Obama has no idea of what the vital interests of our country are. He wants to be elected and then try to catch up on current events during his spare time.

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

    Geez Obama, didn't McCain's stroll with 30 security guards, three helicopters overhead, extensive sweeps and full body armor entice you to go to McCain's "Safe as a US city" Iraq for a leisurely stroll,
    Note to McCain: It's not his war. He shouldn't have to become another innocent victim that you don't care about. Stop all your war rhetoric and actually start doing something for the troops. Your rejection of the GI bill shows how much you care for the dedicated youth we send over there. Stop the war and stop your lying!

    May 28, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  9. R.I.F.

    CNN,
    Every single time McCain says something about Obama you post it very quickly. Every time Obama blasts McCain you don't post it.

    Example:The only thing Mccain keeps bringing up is foreign policy. Not once a domestic issue. Obama continually hammers McCain on domestic affairs, McCains never responds and we never see any mention.

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

    Someone please get McCain to talk about something other than Iraq.

    May 28, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  11. gary

    OBAMA IS ALL TALK NO SHOW.THE ONLY SHOW HE IS ,IS GIVING A SMOOTH SPEECH. THE DAY AMERICA GETS IT THROUGH THEIIR HEAD'S HE IS A CON MAN FROM CHICAGO.O.B. THINKS ABOUT HIMSELF AND MAKING HISTORY. HE DONT THINK ABOUT OUR NEEDS.TALK IS CHEAP. HE SURE DOES HAVE A LINE OF B.S.. HE WILL SAY ANYTHING TO GET ELECTED. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HIM AND HRC ,IS SHE HAS ALWAYS FAUGHT FOR US AND STILL IS. SHE HAS A TRACK RECORD FOR BEING THERE FOR US. O.B. DOES NOT. O.B. CANT TALK ABOUT ANYTHING IF HE HASN'T EXPERIENCED IT ,OR BEEN AROUND IT.( MILITARY) FORIEGN POLICIES ETC.

    May 28, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  12. oswanegan

    McCain loves to talk about Iraq like it is the "only" perceived plus he has over Obama. The whole d@mn war is a farce, he voted for sending Americas sons and daughters to a war that should not have happened, voted for wasting millions of taxpayer dollars, and voted for emboldening other hostile countries surrounding Iraq. McCain on this very day is sitting in fundraisers with the point man of this whole d@mned mess... Bush, yet he continues to criticize Obama on judgment... he's lost his bearings for sure!

    By the way McCain, gas prices in this country are climbing each day, the economy is going in the toilet, people are still losing jobs, and yet you continue to talk about a war that most in America want out of... offer something new on our side of the pond first, instead talking about McCain salvation in Iraq. Any Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, or Independent with a sound mind should see that he is following the same course that Republicans have been steering for the last 8 years.

    May 28, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  13. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    OBAMA DOESN'T NEED TO GO TO IRAQ TO GET EXPERIENCE ON A DISASTER WHICH HE USED GOOD JUDGEMENT AND VOTED NO. JOHN MCCAIN IS NOT A LEADER AND HASN'T LEARNED ANYTHING AND IS TOO OLD TO LEARN ANYTHING NEW. HE CAN ONLY CONTINUE THE PROPAGANDA OF BUSH'S WAR. BOMB, BOMB, BOMB IS ALL MCCAIN KNOWS.

    May 28, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  14. AJ, IL

    Someone please tell Old Man McCain that Gen. Petraeus was in D.C. in April 2008, September 2007, and April 2007.

    Why in the hell would Obama want to travel with McCain to Iraq? McCain is the same guy who doesn't know the difference between Shia, Sunni, and terrorists in the Middle East.

    May 28, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  15. Louis

    Obama, Big talk. Little action and no results.

    May 28, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  16. kendall

    This is an argument that McCain thinks he can win. He will try this "no surrender" routine to his detriment. The public is tired of this quagmire but, McCain, like a content hog on my grandfathers farm, just loves to lay in the mud!

    May 28, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  17. truthurts

    McCain also said that Patraeus could walk down Iraqi streets without security and a bullet proof vest and we found out that was a lie.
    Why would Obama want to go to Iraq with McCain?

    May 28, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  18. Jose Jose

    Go McCain! Obama you are one BIG mentiroso.

    May 28, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  19. independent voter

    Obama barely knows how to be a senator.

    What a bigger mess this country will be in if he is elected!

    No to Obama; we want someone who has a lot of experience. He is all talk, no substance.

    May 28, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  20. GA for Obama

    Evidently McBush going to Iraq haven't did you any good either. I commend you for serving you country. But the same way you served in one war, you help start another and you continue to advocate another 8 years of the same war that haven't proved anything. Bush policies haven't worked and your policies want work either.

    We the people of the United States of America, need a new look and a different direction. I say no thank you to another four years of this Republican mess that have not done anything, but support the oil companies and made them richer. I tell you one thing if you are elected we are going to hell in a handbasket. Hopefully, people recognize this and vote smart.

    Not serving your country does not make you any less of an america then a person who has served.

    May 28, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  21. Michael

    More fear and smear from McCain, there is already genocide and Iranian influence in Iraq. If it is left up to McCain he will roll our tanks out of Iraq and into Iran. All the Clinton supporters really need to consider their options when they say they will vote for McCain instead of Obama. As Senator Clinton said, "it would be a grave error." She is right, it means a continuation of the Iraq war and war with Iran.

    May 28, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  22. Andrew

    Ouch

    May 28, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  23. calivoter

    Yeah McCain's last visit achieved a lot.. not! It was a blatant press op for him where he declared that we are winning while wearing a flack jacket and surrounded by secret service agents for protection.

    No disprespect for McCain's military record. Just think its so ridiculous that the opposition can't come up with anything better than this, Rev Wright or Obama not wearing a flag pin. What are the real issues? Stop posturing and get down to what you are going to do to help this country rebound from 7 years of deceit and mismanagement. It's the United States of America, not the Corporate States of America.

    May 28, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  24. Ric

    What difference does it make how many trips Obama made to Iraq, he is running for the President of the USA. If McCain wants to win by talking about Iraq, send him there to run for President of that Country. We want to hear about what the next President is going to do for our Country USA.

    May 28, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  25. Bob Scofield

    "...a war that has overstretched our military, and cost us thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars without making us safer." McCain calls these words from the Obama camp a profound misunderstanding of Iraq. Which part? Is our military not overstretched? Tell that to the 300,000 troops with PTSD attributable to having to serve, 3, 4 and even 5 tours of duty. Has it not cost us thousands of lives? 4,084 so far, that's in the thousands last time I checked. Has it not cost hundreds of billions of dollars? It has, over 600 billion I believe. How about "without making us safer"? You want to talk about emboldening our enemies, look at the way Bush let the people who actually attacked us escape from Afghanistan into Pakistan. Al Qaeda is stronger now than it was on September 11, 2001. Staying in Iraq may keep the Iraqi's uncontrol and limit their ability to kill to other Iraqis and our volunteer troops, but what about Arabs throughout the world who are incensed about our illegal invasion and continued occupation of Iraq? Everything Obama's camp said was true, and not just a little true, 100% unequivocally, indisputably true. Yet McCain characterizes the statements as a profound misunderstanding? McCain is absolutely clueless.

    May 28, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
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