May 31st, 2008
06:26 PM ET
7 years ago

Obama: McCain should admit he was wrong on surge comments

Sen. Obama campaigns in Rapid City, South Dakota, Saturday.
Sen. Obama campaigns in Rapid City, South Dakota, Saturday.

RAPID CITY, South Dakota (CNN) - Democrat Barack Obama accused Republican John McCain Saturday of not owning up to what Obama calls his "mistake" - saying that the U.S. has drawn troops down to pre-surge levels in Iraq.

"We all misspeak sometimes," the Illinois senator told a crowd in Rapid City, South Dakota. "I've done it myself. So on such a basic, factual error, you'd think that John McCain would just say 'Oh, I misspoke, I made a mistake' and then move on. But he couldn't do that. Instead, he dug in."

Obama connected McCain's Iraq comments to President Bush's unwillingness to admit fault "when he was presented with facts that went against his views" on the war.

"Just like George Bush, John McCain is refusing to admit that he's made a mistake," the White House hopeful continued. "And that's exactly the kind of leadership that has got us fighting for five years in a war that should've never been authorized."

"We don't need more leaders who can't admit they've made a mistake, even about something as fundamental as how many Americans are serving in harm's way."

The McCain camp fired back with a statement from spokesman Tucker Bounds.

"Barack Obama is ignoring facts," Bounds wrote. "He irresponsibly refuses credible evidence on the ground proving American troops have surged toward significant gains in Iraq and it proves he is just not ready to be commander in chief.

"For over 874 days, which includes the entirety of the 'Surge' strategy, Barack Obama has refused to visit Iraq, see the conditions on the ground, and meet with General Petraeus, and it raises questions about whether his campaign is based on conceding defeat in Iraq, no matter what progress our troops make there."


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (149 Responses)
  1. Nwadike K. Patrick

    Republicans pride themselves in sending their young ones to die and decorating them as "heroes". War should not be a bad idea when fought within an agreable notion; when fought with some level of civility and caution. McCain and co. does not represent this. America should be happy to have an establishment "turncoat" to abort the country of this misdeed in the person of Senator Barack .

    May 31, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  2. Jeff

    This criticism coming from Mr "57 States" Gaffe Machine. LOL

    May 31, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  3. Newly Independent for Hillary

    The Florida DNC has decided which votes of the people will count and which won't.

    So much for a "democratic process."

    So goes Michigan.

    There is only ONE RULE: Each vote should count as one vote.

    May 31, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  4. Ali from NJ

    Obama knows nothing about foreign policy.
    How dare he criticize this hero.

    May 31, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  5. No McSame

    Stay on him Prez and don't let him breath. Wear the OLD man down. He will not admit to anything, it's not in his nature.
    Obama08
    Don't go to Iraq. Don't let them do you like they did RON BROWN.

    May 31, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  6. John from Las Vegas

    Spoken like a true president. And one that will be SO much better than our current Commander in Chief. Don't let the door hit you in the *** on the way out G.W, B. And take your buddy McCain with you.

    OBAMA '08....PEACE '09

    May 31, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  7. william

    and why did it take you months to leave your church?
    You still have not come out and said you were wrong to stay in it.
    Why should he do what you have not. Oh becauyse you think your better then everyone else. Take you wife and brats and leave the us.

    May 31, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  8. Gene

    I love how McCain's camapaign's response doesn't refute what Barack says, just offers their tired old criticisms. The only way to read this is: "You're right, McCain was wrong. But we don't have the testicular fortitude to say so."

    We've already had eight years of a president who believes he's never been wrong, we can't afford four more.

    May 31, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  9. Greg

    Wow, so first McCain doesn't know the difference between two of the major ethic groups in Iraq and their affiliations, then he refuses to support the troops by providing practical funding for our veterans to receive a college education, and now he can't tell the difference between how many troops we had in Iraq prior to the surge compared to today?

    Oh dear...

    May 31, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  10. Michael

    McShame should man-up and admit he was wrong if he was wrong. This is a fundamental mistake. You better man-up or it will haunt you forever.

    May 31, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  11. kaduke

    I don't know about the rest of you, but, the thing that most irritates me about this Administration has always been their refusal to admit to a mistake, as if that admission would somehow make them appear weak in the eyes of the people. Nothing, I believe, is further from the truth. Making mistakes is being human. Who among us doesn't make errors or mistakes on a regular basis? Character and wisdom is not found when all goes right. It is when we admit and accept responsibility for our actions that we grow and show leadership. This "my way or the highway" mentality weakens us all. Most reasonable people will rally to a leader who is honest and forthright, whether or not they subscribe to a particular position or not. The current President seems unwilling, unable, or both, to understand this most fundamental truth. It's time to throw the bums out and put a real human being in the White House.

    May 31, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  12. CLINTON SUPPORTER

    Obama thinks he has the right to demand that McCain admit his mistakes!!!!!!

    This coming from a man who only today withdrew from the church where two controversial pastors either preached hatred or mocked Senator Clinton, both of whom Obama has known for more than two decades. It is beyond me how that man could sit in that church and allow his two young daughters to hear such nonsense.

    Speaks volumes for the character of Barack Hussein Obama!

    Hillary Rodham Clinton/08 -or else- John McCain/08

    May 31, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  13. Jose

    Obama-Webb!

    May 31, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  14. J

    The McCain response seems to be responding to something entirely different as they don't mention the comments at all...

    May 31, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  15. Joe from Ohio

    Here we go again. Twisting Senator McCain's words again.

    The real point is that the surge has worked. McCain supported the surge and Obama did not. He said it would fail. Again Obama has showed his lack of judgement and experience!!

    Hillary 08!!!

    May 31, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  16. Frazier

    McSame admit fault and move on please. You Hillary supporters take a look at this man.

    May 31, 2008 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  17. Tim

    McSame needs to admit he was wrong. How can he claim that he is more knowledgable about Iraq? He was wrong about the war. He cannot tell the difference between the factions. He was wrong about the surge. So how would Obama going to Iraq help him understand when it hasn't done a thing for McSame?

    Obama 08/12!!

    May 31, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  18. obamamama

    As usual,Obama's answer to anything is ....A SPEECH.No legislation,no accomplishments ,just speeches.20 years in a Black theology church ranting against whites and he runs as a uniter.This guy has some nerve.Hillary or McCain.join us .

    May 31, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  19. Kofi

    McCain camp's response is neither here nor there. The question is simple, DID McCain MISSPEAK OR DID NOT GET HIS FACTS RIGHT? IF THE LATTER, THEN HOW DO WE MEASURE THE EXPERIENCE IN TERMS OF....... YOU NAME IT?

    Philippines

    May 31, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  20. Yvon Baptiste

    People need to recognize their mistake whenever they make them.
    I do not understand why people don't want to agree on that

    May 31, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  21. JohnLee

    I don't think "admit they are wrong" is something that is taught to republicans. They think EVERYONE else is wrong and they are right! Good luck getting McBush to admit that.

    May 31, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  22. sonia

    McCain got into the Naval Academy because of his father and grandfather. He graduated fifth from the bottom and served all of 20 hours of combat before ditching his fifth plane. He then spent 5 years as a VIP POW who sang for his supper. He's about as fit to be commander in chief as George Bush. Both are sons of privilege who repeatedly got drunk. screwed up, and were bailed out by their daddies.

    May 31, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    obama is gonna destroy mccain. thats the bottom line.....Obama 08.
    oh and for all you people who criticzed him because of the ties to his church can shut it up once and for all. And what rational thinking person would support hillary in the primary season but vote for mccain. Im a die hard obama supporter but if it came down to hillary and any republican i would choose her b/c im a real democrat

    May 31, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  24. Godson

    Why must McSame to making a mistake? It is normal for him to make mistakes and unusual to be correct.
    it's not a senior moment at all

    May 31, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  25. JAMES IN AL

    MAYBE OBAMA SHOULD ADMIT HE IS WAY OVER HIS HEAD AND KNOWS TO LITTLE TO BE JUDGING OTHER PEOPLES VIEWS OF WHAT THEY THIK IS AND IS NOT WORKING AND THEIR COMMENTS. IT IS SAD OBAMA KNOWING AS LITTLE AS HE DOES HAS GOTTEN THIS FAR JUST ON BEING ABLE TO GIVE A GOOD SPEACH AND BEING ABLE TO DIVERT AND HOLD PEOPLES ATTENTION. WE JUST HAD A GUY IN OFFICE WHOM DIDNT HAVE A CLUE ABOUT WHAT WAS GOING ON AND SURROUNDED HIMSELF WITH ALL THE WRONG PEOPLE AND NOW OBAMA IS FOLLING THAT SAME PATH. WHY DO YOU THINK ALL THE ELEITIST AND FAR LEFT WING LIBERAL SOCIALIST ARE BEHIND OBAMA. BECAUSE HE IS GOING TO INPOWER THEM. THIS HAS ME EITHER WRITTING IN HILLARY OR VOTING REPUBLICAN FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE COME NOVEMBER!
    NO-BAMA FOR ME IN 08'

    May 31, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
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