June 12th, 2008
08:00 AM ET
3 years ago

McCain 'pleasantly surprised' by Iraqi leader

BOSTON, Massachusetts (CNN) - Sen. John McCain said Wednesday that he is "pleasantly surprised" that the Iraqi prime minister "is now behaving like a leader."

The presumptive Republican nominee for president told about 450 supporters at a Boston fund-raiser that the Iraqi government has made notable progress in Baghdad, Basra and Mosul. The Iraqi military, supported by U.S. troops, has launched major offensives in those cities to wrest control from militants.

"That was the whole idea behind the surge," he said. "Go in, hold, clear, establish order and then have the Iraqi military and government take over. And then we can withdraw and then we can come home in victory with honor, not in defeat."

McCain has criticized his Democratic rival, Sen. Barack Obama, for proposing the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

McCain spoke at an event that his campaign said raised about $2 million.

One of his former rivals for the GOP nomination, former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, praised McCain as a "great leader."


Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (122 Responses)
  1. Peter in PA

    Didn't Iraqi priminister went to Iran and smooched with Ahamebajan (sp?)? So it is okay for "Iraqi prime minister – now behaving like a leader." to go to Iran and negotiate peace but it's unpatriotic for any Americans to negoatite with Iran?

    You McDumb !

    June 12, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  2. Blowing in the Wind

    The more I hear McSame talk, the more frightening and out of touch he sounds. So now the Iraq leader kissed the Iranian leader, now McSame that Iraq has a great leader? Oh wait, we don't like talking to our enemy of Iran. So if the great and powerful Iraq leader is now capable, bring our troops home NOW OBama 08/12

    June 12, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  3. Nick

    McCain/Romney 2008

    Obama gives a good speach, I'll give him that. But we don't need a speech giver right now. We need someone who is going to make smart decisions to improve our economy and defend our nation. I think so many of us forget that we haven't been attacked in this country for 7 years. I think Obama is probably a good man who also wants to improve our country but I don't think he is ready for this job at this point in his life...

    June 12, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  4. blaising

    Oh...so NOW it's OK to withdraw?!? Sheesh....

    June 12, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  5. McCain=the draft

    You're all smoke and mirrors, McBush.

    June 12, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  6. rich

    Why does he always speaks in elitist condesending tones wheather it is Maliki or Obama or whomever? Just who does John McCain thinks he is? I guess whoever he thinks he is will be reality checked come November.

    June 12, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  7. mike

    Yesderday, I think already reached 4,094 percious lives lost since Iraq war, so what do you want still Mc??????????????????

    June 12, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  8. M.S. Indiana

    Going and meeting with your 'enimy' is real leadership, hope you learned from that meeting !!! No more bombing !!! no more Wars

    Ron Paul 2008 !!!

    June 12, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  9. CNN

    WHAT IS OUR MISGUIDED PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH DOING IN EUROPE ?

    June 12, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  10. Smarter than the rest

    This is for the republicans who hide among us Democrats on these blogs –

    I can't believe after that garbage come back statement, people actually gave Mcbrainless money... You can't come back with a statement like that when you OPENLY criticize your oponent that this would be wrong......... now the very country you are fighting for is doing it.......seeems like somebody in the middle east is rubbing it in the Repubs faces. He should have been a man and said, lets see where this goes hoping it don't work so he could hammer Obama............... but what I'm I thinking, he's not that smart...

    June 12, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  11. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    SO WITH ALL THIS "VICTORY" MCCAIN, WHERE IS bin LADEN.

    June 12, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  12. Uncle Fester

    Was that Iraqi Prime Minister Vladimir Putin??
    MCain equals Dubya Dubya 2

    June 12, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  13. McCain08

    The Democrats hate America. That is why the Hillary supporters came over to us. They were just looking for a reason and Obama gave them one. Now we will get it done. Vote McCain for a better America.
    1 man 1 woman
    pro-life and has no FEAR.
    McCain08

    June 12, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  14. Smarter than the rest

    Nick, I'm not attacking you, but give me ONE smart thing that Mcbrainless has done, or let me make it easier said rather than done.....

    Make no mistakes that America is seen by many as weak; others will test this great country. So what do we need to do? REBUILD!!!!! and that starts at HOME not abroad. John Mccain has no concept or common sense of what it takes to reinstate a failing economy... Bush is / was a man of war and see where it got us??? John Mccain is a man of war ........ do you need a chrystal ball to see where this is headed?

    June 12, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  15. jon

    Why does the president and the republicans always say healthcare should not be handled by the federal gov because they cant be trusted' yet they want us to believe them when they say anything in reference to national security etc. or why do they give tax breaks to big corp and well off people .why do we need them if the cant be trusted as they say .it seems as if they only work for the rich and very rich.

    June 12, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  16. jane in CA

    McCain is right; "behaving like a leader" by kissing the Iran leader.

    June 12, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  17. Anonymous

    "If the Iraqis and their leader are making progress, why do we need to stay or even have that many soldiers in Iraq?"

    I agree, Chris from NY, and I think this would be a brilliant theme for Obama to hit on during the campaign. He should acknowledge that things have gotten much better (and they have), then follow-up by pledging that if things continue to improve as they have, then there is no reason we shouldn't have most of our soldiers home by the end of 2009. This kind of message is positive (congratulating our soldiers on a job well done), but continues to ramp up the pressure on McCain. He (and his campaign) should also continuously remind voter's that McCain voted against expanding the GI bill.

    June 12, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  18. Mel

    All he talk about is Iraq and iran.He can visit Iraq but can't
    visit the cities in the united states that needs help. Iraq is not
    voting for him,it's the american peoples.McCain, do not care
    about the american peoples,only the war. Another 3rd term
    Bush. The economy issues the important one,not Iran or Iraq.
    Let's talk about issues McCain and what you are going to
    do locally here at home with gas,food,jobs,and mortgage.

    June 12, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  19. Lorna, NY

    Is this progress because the US is giving them cash?

    June 12, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  20. linus

    "If the Iraqis and their leader are making progress, why do we need to stay or even have that many soldiers in Iraq?"

    I agree, Chris from NY, and I think this would be a brilliant theme for Obama to hit on during the campaign. He should acknowledge that things have gotten much better (and they have), then follow-up by pledging that if things continue to improve, there is no reason we shouldn't have most of our soldiers home by the end of 2009. This kind of message is positive (congratulating our soldiers on a job well done), but continues to ramp up the pressure on McCain. He (and his campaign) should also continuously remind voters that McCain voted against expanding the GI bill.

    June 12, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  21. federico

    there were only 127 and most left early due to boredom, for his town hall meetings he wears a portable teleprompter.....wonder why?

    War/fear mongering worked for w, it won´t for flip flopper, and for mitt, get a life you loser and panderer

    June 12, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  22. Proud American

    Nothing new here. McCain speaks out of both sides of his mouth. McCain=Bush.

    June 12, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  23. Franky

    "while a McCain White House would steer the bulk of the benefits to the wealthiest families, according to a nonpartisan analysis of the still-evolving tax plans of the presidential candidates."

    Well no DUH!!!! LOL!!!

    June 12, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  24. Loretta from California

    How arrogant. "behaving like a leader" as if the Iraqi leader were a child. We need to treat other leaders with more respect, and not talk down to them.

    June 12, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  25. Bill Stapp

    Senator McCain is pleasantly surprised that the leader of Iraq met with the leader of Iran...and he compliments him for being a leader.

    Then why can't President Obama meet with with the leader of Iraq?

    Senator McCain is not setting priorities properly.

    Like restructuring the tax code. We are US$9,000,000,000,000 in debt and have another US$50,000,000,000,000 in unfunded mandates that we must pay for federal pensions, Medicare, and social security... and he wants to restructure the tax code instead of spending less.

    Translation: we will still pay a lot and owe a lot, but we can do our taxes on prettier forms.

    June 12, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
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