May 29th, 2008
06:19 AM ET
6 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. Margaret

    Let's get this show started. McCain will politically maul Obama....I am absolutely sure of it!

    May 28, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. LT for Obama

    ""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."

    First off, is he trying to say that our military is NOT stretched, that thousands of lives have NOT been lost and that hundreds of billions of dollars have NOT been spent and that we ARE safter? Talk about out of touch.

    Secondly, Senator Obama has said that he WILL work with the military officials to work out the best plan of action to pull troops home safely and ensure that Iraq is self sufficient.

    Stop pandering McCain and move on to a new topic.

    May 28, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  3. Steph

    Ya!

    May 28, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  4. Whitney, Nashville, TN

    Visiting Iraq sure has taught Senator McCain a lot. It has taught him that Iran is predominantly Sunni and that Al Qaeda predominantly Shiite. It has taught him that any American can walk freely through a Baghdad marketplace without fear of attack (as long as he has a marine brigade and snipers at his back and helicopters in the sky). It has taught him that the war will only last 6 months, no 1 year, oops sorry, make that 100 years. It has taught him that we will be victorious in Iraq no matter what (define victory you say? Well that would be down right unpatriotic!) It has taught him that no matter the year (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008), "victory" is just 6 months away! I can't imagine why Senator Obama would not want to learn some lessons from a student as astute as Senator McCain.

    May 28, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  5. No Way

    Wind Bag!

    So is Hillary.

    The winds of change are blowing.

    We are not going to accept the crap sandwich the the government has given us over the years and that they think we are happy to get.

    Change Now!

    May 28, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  6. Anthony Rand

    Senator Obama has many great ideas and is a visionary. However, our serviceman requires more than that. They need to know that they have the support of our civilian leaders. Part of showing support is to visit them on the line and to see where the hardwork is paying off.

    I am just disheartened that Senator Obama hasn't visited troops often or even General Patraeus who has done a great job.

    May 28, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  7. nyDEMO

    why on earth should we sent BOTH presidential candidates to a war zone (yes, with REAL sniper fire) at the same time?! That must be one of the more bizarre (likely Rove inspired) political gimmicks to fall out of McCain's mouth in, say, a week.

    May 28, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  8. Boye

    McCain, you have been to Iraq more than Obama but you still don't know the difference between Sunnis and Shias. I don't think Obama wants to be educated by you, but thanks for the offer. I do think Obama should go to Iraq but not for the reasons you suggested, but to support our troops.

    May 28, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  9. Carmon

    What a nut job, why would Barak travel to Iraq with this warmonger, He already has The Huckster and Hillbilly trying to put a hit out on him here in the US, and he's suppose to trust those clowns over there saying that the war is going fine for the US and then..... BAM....Barak supposedly gets hurt over there by terrorits. "Wink Wink". Nice try Republican scum.

    May 28, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  10. Veterans for Clinton

    What else can you expect from a "superstar like" candidate like Obama, when the only credentials he has to be president is a speech against the Iraq War. Woohoo, I did one too while I was in the Air Force and you dont see me expressing how experienced I am on national security or running a nation for that matter.

    May 28, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  11. Eileen from Portland, Maine

    Yes, we all remember McCains trip, where he wore a Flak jacket, surrounded himself with armed security guards, had sharpshooters on the roofs and war helicopters flying above him for protection as he reported that Bagdad was open for business and the war was going great!

    By insisting that people need to go see what is going on for themselves implies that the reports from the military can't be trusted.

    The idea that the two nominees for President would travel to a war zone together, makes me think that perhaps McCain doesn't have all his marbles.

    May 28, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  12. David, Silver Spring, MD

    Going to Iraq only legitimizes our presence there. As Obama rightly says, we should never have invaded in the first place. Our continued presence or withdrawal has nothing to do with whether violence is up or down, it has to do with our priorities.

    May 28, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  13. CL Herbert

    War is not going to solve the problem we have in Iraq. War does not bring peace. McCain will start ten more wars if elected, because that is all that he knows. This war is not helping us. Question: Who are we really fighting? This feels like an indirect war with Iran. If it is, why can't we have diplomatic discussions. Even Jesus spoke to those who were supposedly beneath him. Why can't we humble ourselves. Sometimes we have too much pride.

    May 28, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  14. Chris

    Stop playing into the War debate – debate about the Economy, Healthcare, Oil, Balanced Budget, Social Security, Education Benefits and other things the Republicans (McCain) knows nothing about and will make him look bad!

    Talking about the War will play into the fears of US citizens and win the election for Republicans!

    May 28, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  15. Elizabeth

    Although I respect his service to our country, I can't help but laugh at how dellusional this old fellow is. Now, I am not sure if this is how he truly feels or is he being forced to act like a jerk by the powers to be but in any case he seems to have lost his mind! My grandmother who is younger than him told me that she would never vote for him because she knows where one's mind is after certain age and she wants only the best for her country. Doesn't Florida have an available condo for this fellow??

    May 28, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  16. Its OK to be right

    I can tell you from right here in Houston TX that the war needs to be ended... what's your point?????

    May 28, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  17. LTX

    Has anyone ever seen a photo of Obama with any of our troops?
    Just curious.

    May 28, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  18. A-Man

    Mr. McCain, for once why doesn't the republican party try making the country better instead of trying to use scare tactics and further lies about the Iraq war to scare people into their corner. Try winning people into your corner. If Obama sat on his hands for the next 4 years the country would be better of then you looking to invade Iran. Remember we all fought against Germany when they tried to occupy the world. Your job was to remove a threat and get out. Instead you want to sacrifice Americans and their money becuase it makes you feel like your member is bigger then others.

    May 28, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  19. Peter

    That's weird. I just saw him talking to Gen. Petreus yesterday. Would that be considered a lie?

    May 28, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  20. Robert in Toronto,ON

    Hey McCain, how many people have you sat down with that have had their homes foreclosed? Or how many truck drivers have you driven with spend hundreds of dollars that they can't afford to fill their rigs?

    This guy is so whutless it's not even funny. Don't worry about Obama – he'll have plenty of time to go to Iraq because he will LEAD THE TROOPS HOME AS PRESIDENT.

    Go yell at a cloud, old man. Leave the Presidency to someone to someone not into their 7th decade on this planet.

    May 28, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  21. Jon

    Why am I not surprised? B. Hussein Obama is all "FEEL" good speachs and no action. Seems like everyone has been to Iraq recently except BHO. He is more than willing to meet with Raul, Hugo, Amidaja(sp), Hammas, Hisbollahetc. Oh yeah, now I know, BHO is a terrorist himself. Frank Davis, REV. Wright, Ayers, Faracon, etc. Now he refuses to meet with our Generals and the leaders of Iraq.

    May 28, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  22. lol

    obama is in charge of a subcomittee for the armed forces, and has never held a meeting. yet he is the first one to bash the war, and the bush administration over the war. obama's lack of foriegn policy experience is a danger to americans should he be elected president. that is not the politics of fear, as he likes to say, it is a fact.

    May 28, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  23. Jon

    Obama spokesman Bill 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.
    _____________________________

    So Obama bases his entire campaign on "promises," but now the American people don't want that.

    And when has Obama offered a "real debate" beyond his standard, "I opposed this war from the beginning"?

    More B.S. from Obama. What else is new? No, you don't get to count your grandfather and great-uncles' service in WWII as experience.

    May 28, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  24. fred2..since another stole my name

    OBAMA IS A CHICKEN.......!!!

    May 28, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  25. Robert, Detroit, MI

    I thought resolutions started with talking, that's how Obama may be able to get the Iranian president to use his pull in the region to stop all the Iranians and others from going to Iraq to cause trouble. What's McCain's solution? Send more people to die?

    May 28, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
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