June 12th, 2008
08:00 AM ET
2 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. DVC

    geez McCain... i might as well vote for Bush again.

    This Republican is voting Libertarian this year.

    June 12, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  2. lil timmy

    Every day McCain sounds more and more like Bush.

    This sounds like a polished off "Mission Accomplished" speech.

    not voting Republican this year – Libertarian for me too.

    June 12, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  3. Republican for Barr

    Even if McCain's statements about 100 years in Iraq is about maintaining a millitary presence there with bases and troops, how is that helping the U.S.? How can he justify the time, effort, money, and lives? Our military needs to be defending us here at home.

    You call that conservatism McCain? I don't.

    Barr in '08

    June 12, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  4. Patrick

    The irony here is that McCain is referencing Iraqi leaders' statement that they want to see a reduction in US troop levels to avoid "colonization" of Iraq. Somehow he uses this as an argument AGAINST troop reductions. While McCain salutes their "leadership", he is arrogantly (but not surprisingly) ignoring their wishes – and therefore implicitly their claim to leadership of/ownership over their own country. Sounds like Bush.

    June 12, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  5. Mimi De La Cruz for OBAMA

    SURE HE IS PLEASANTLY SURPRISED. THE IRAQI LEADERS

    GETTING MONEY FROM THEIR OIL, US, & IRAN,

    ANOTHER BUSH ADMINISTRATION AT IT'S BEST, AND

    MCWORTHLESS LOVES THAT SLEAZY CRAP ALL DAY LONG.

    June 12, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  6. Patrick

    Dear Senator McCain,
    You constantly speak about our soldiers returning victorious. Victory, you say, is defined by the stability and self-sustainability of the Iraqi government. Does it ever occur to you that this "victory" is costing American people their jobs, their homes, their livelihood, is costing this country its own economic stability, is costing American children their right to good education. Does it ever occur to you that progress of a nation is made by investing resources for fundamental needs of its citizens, and not that of a country far away and foreign. Do you realize that American people can no longer afford to spend 44cents of every dollar of their tax to go into this war? HOW CAN SUCCESS IN WAR BE YOUR ONLY MEASURE OF PROGRESS???

    June 12, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  7. Rachel

    I wonder if all the obama supporters who complain about names people call him can ever just say mccain's name without adding anything insulting to it, probably not their parents havent taught them any better.

    June 12, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  8. ENOUGH

    "The Gelding" is just flat wrong on the Iraq issue.

    June 12, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  9. Tyler in Raleigh

    THIS IS GREAT!!!!!!!!

    Why doesn't he just do this in front of a "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" Banner then! Or a green screen, we can crop in the banner for him.

    What honor is there in winning a war that never should have been fought? If we want to load up on honor, I think Canada or maybe Australia should be our next stops.

    June 12, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  10. Tom Eyemdaman

    Jeez, Democrats can't let go of the 100-years comment despite the fact it's been misquoted and twisted so many times that few people remember what was really said. Maybe that's the purpose.

    Well, if that's all they got, then McCain should be in good shape once the policy debates heat up. Obama's liberal stance should come out and everyone will realize that the only unity will come from someone who is moderate and capable of raising support on the important issues across the isle.

    And to those people that attach insults to McCain's name? (ie McInsane, McWorthless, McLoser, etc.) Can't you do better than that? If you have to prop up your arguments by worthless name-calling, then apparently your arguments aren't strong enough to stand on their own.

    June 12, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    Interesting choice of words. "Surprised."

    Iraqi leaders and military really need to stand up on their own. Do they read some hand writing on the wall? Writing that suggests that the Bush crutch is about to dissolve? That they need to get busy actually getting something done before the US pulls out?

    And McCain is "surprised" by these actions taken by Iraqi leaders. amazing what can happen when a kid knows the training wheels are coming off in the near future. They suddenly learn how to ride.

    June 12, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  12. Mimi De La Cruz for OBAMA

    GEORGE BUSH IS NOT & HAS NOT MISGUIDED.

    HE KNEW BEFORE HE GOT INTO OFFICE, WHAT HE WANTED

    TO DO & WHERE HE WANTED TO DO IT.

    IT'S THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THAT ARE MISGUIDED BY OUR

    LEADERS, IF YOU CAN CALL THEM THAT, & BY OUR OWN

    LACK OF RESPONSIBILITY TO OUR SELVES. WE DO NOT

    KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON, BECAUSE WE DO NOT READ

    OR CONSIDER THE FACTS, JUST THE 30 SECOND ADDS.

    IF WE WERE A THINKING NATION, MCSHAME WOULD GET

    THREE VOTES & NONE WOULD BE FROM WOMEN & MINORITIES.

    HE ALLWAYS VOTES WEMANS & MINORITY BENEFITS,

    OF ANY KIND.

    June 12, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  13. Moses, Ca.

    McCain -
    any more flip-flops. " I see dumb people "

    June 12, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  14. JW

    I didn't leave the Republican Party – they left me.

    I'm voting independent this year, or for Ron Paul.

    June 12, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  15. James, SC

    The Iraqi war is just a avenue to get to the Iranian war. President McCain is poised to get us there. Once we take-over Iran, gas will finally cost us only $15 per gallon. Yep, his has got my vote.

    June 12, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  16. tj

    America needs to put a hero in office. John McCain is a true hero and will be strong on national security. America don't need a inexperience whimp at this present time to run this country. National Security is the most important issue facing America at this present time. McCain/Romney 08

    June 12, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  17. Jorge

    I don't trust John Mccain he's out of mind. The war must end in Iraq. Obama next president of United State of America. Latinos with Obama

    June 12, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  18. Tom Eyemdaman

    It's really sad the people in the blogs rob themselves of credibility by useless name-calling.

    It's hard to have intelligent, meaningful discussion with anyone who arbitrarily insults a candidate just because they don't agree with them.

    Yes, we all know how easy it is to attach an insult to McCain's last name. We also know how easy it is to change Obama's name to Osama, but you don't see any here doing that.

    You people who arbitrarily insult McCain do so at the expense of the unity that Obama espouses. Each time I hear McCain's name changed to be an insult causes me to lose more respect for those who support Obama and increases the divisiveness prevalent in our society.

    SO STOP IT ALREADY!

    June 12, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  19. annie bananie

    DOES ANYONE KNOW OF A GOOD WRITE-IN CANDIDATE??

    June 12, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  20. Mimi De La Cruz for OBAMA

    Typing between tasks. I wasent clear.

    MCMOULD VOTED DOWN ALL MINORITY &

    WOMENS RIGHTS & BENEFITS.

    June 12, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  21. ninetyfivepercent like bush

    Perhaps McCain is surprise the Iraqi leader has decided to meet Iran.
    What do you say now John?

    June 12, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  22. Pamela

    Senator McCain,
    I think you need to define what a leader is!
    George W Bush thinks he is a leader too!

    Look at where that has gotten this country!

    June 12, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  23. Ralph

    The Iraqi leader who McFlip is so proud of recently met with the leader of Iran. THEY don't want us there. WE (the repugs) apparently have a different agenda.

    June 12, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  24. Watermann

    Does anybody still believe that this was or still is a war against terror. It was and still is a war for oil and a giant and solid aircraft carrier just in case it will be necessary to fight Iran or one of the other countries, names ending with ....stan
    Did anybody see the balance sheets or the quarterly profits of Halliburton,Exxon mobil, and so on?

    June 12, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  25. Loretta from California

    Senator McCain, use the word "Conducting" as in "Conducting himself like a true leader". My Lord, who is helping this man.

    June 12, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
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