July 6th, 2008
03:05 PM ET
10 years ago

McCain campaign calls Obama's words into question

Sen. John McCain's campaign says Barack Obama has not been consistent on Iraq.

Sen. John McCain's campaign says Barack Obama has not been consistent on Iraq.

(CNN) - Sen. John McCain's campaign said Sunday that Barack Obama's remarks on Iraq "have left a significant question as to exactly what he intends."

"He has held almost every conceivable position in the course of his relatively brief career in the Senate," said Randy Scheunemann, McCain's foreign policy adviser.

Obama maintains his stance has not changed and said Saturday that "every single word" he says is closely measured.

McCain's campaign suggested Obama's views could be becoming more in line with McCain's Iraq policy.

"The position of [McCain's] campaign is that words do matter, and Sen. Obama's words have left a significant question as to exactly what he intends. If he is now joining Sen. McCain's position and saying that the need to maintain peace and stability in Iraq is a prerequisite before responsible withdrawal, which is Sen. McCain's position, we welcome his conversion to that position," Scheunemann said Sunday in a conference call with reporters.

The war over words started Thursday when Obama told reporters questioning his stance on Iraq that he will "continue to refine" his policies as warranted.

Obama denied any suggestion that he was shying away from his proposed 16-month phased withdrawal of all combat troops from Iraq, calling it "pure speculation" and adding that his "position has not changed."

National reporters and Republicans pounced on his comments. The Republican National Committee put out an e-mail statement saying that Obama was backing away from his position on withdrawal.

Full story

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (287 Responses)
  1. saga4obama

    CNN – Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    CNN you are really not going to post my comments? is it because you are in the mcCain pocket? or what?
    why is it OK to have people slander Obama, yet when someone even mentions McCains involvement in the USS forrestal Tragedy in 67′ or the fact that he WILL NOT RELEASE HIS MILITARY RECORDS, or his womanizing, or his taking donations from the Rothschilds, or the McCain RAGE and instability, or Keating 5, or his constant lying, or his smear attacks, or his fight against the "Truth Bill", or "Hispanic Outreach Director." Juan Hernandez , who "proclaimed in his book are the illegal alien invaders he urges to become settlers in the USA. Hernandez believes all Mexicans and Mexican-Americans in the USA should become dual citizens and consider themselves Mexicans first, "to the 8th generation." He believes there should be no border at all between Mexico and the USA, ever."
    if Obama had half the dirt McCain did, he would have been in jail long ago...thats why Johnny is GRASPING FOR STRAWS

    July 6, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  2. Turnabout is Fair Play

    Mark July 6th, 2008 4:13 pm ET

    Obama will say anything to get people's votes…even if it means taking both sides of an argument at the same time. Obama is a risky candidate who is not ready to be President.
    McCain08, Hillary 2012

    PUMA .. Hillary supporter July 6th, 2008 3:47 pm ET

    Obama is a flil flopper, everything he does is called into question.. This clinton supporter is voting for mccain…… mccain 2008, Hillary 2012…… PUMA

    You idiots just don't get it, do you REALLY think things will work out nice and smooth for Hillary in 2012 if you vote for McCain now and cost Obama the election? If you and your "PUMA" retards DO manage to cost him the election, I can guarantee that there are 18 million+ Obama supporters that will railroad her right out of the 2012 primaries. IT WORKS BOTH WAYS IDIOTS. You trash Obama now, we trash Hillary in 2012. Nuff said!

    July 6, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  3. Jeff Long

    What's interesting is that Obama has the media wrapped around his finger. He pretty much checked the media when they questioned him about it. The media is afraid of Obama.

    July 6, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  4. Lisa Salt Lake City, Utah

    McCain graduated 5th from the bottom of 899 students. He isn't the brightest star in the sky. He will need someone to explain it to him. Just like his not understanding the "losing one's bearings" which is a nautical term – Obama figured that McCain being a Navy guy would understand that one–but it went over his head.

    July 6, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  5. Monica for Obama in Indiana

    It never ceases to amaze me on when someone is asked about what mccain is going to do. The answer is always what Obama said.

    This group of old men, need to go home, relax and try to remember fond memories.

    July 6, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  6. Janet WV for Obama

    Only a foolish person refuses to evaluate a failed cause and not change directions. The Republicans got us into the mess in Iraq by not listening to reason when they knew the war was based on a lie. Obama will inherit this mess and he will have to refine his position until we are able to leave. At least he knows we are headed in the wrong direction, unlike McCain who doesn't have a clue.

    July 6, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  7. Pam

    This from the man whose stand on every issue changes with the direction of the wind.

    July 6, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  8. Montana is Obama Country

    the War with Words started with bad journalism...

    Sensational exaggeration and spin is what the media should be blamed for.. There was no story and Barack has been concsistant the whole time –

    The McWeekender who doesn't wear a Flag Pin himself is just being an opportunist.. just like voting for Bush policy 95% of the time and saying he didin't – doesn't make it true only a spin..

    Barck Obama is the REAL DEAl ..for America... 2008, 2012

    July 6, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  9. Janet WV for Obama

    Gary and Amy need to realize that Sen. Obama is our candidate and that the primary election is over. 25% of Clinton voters not supporting Obama does not override the 75% who do!

    July 6, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  10. fred

    It's funny how people are still blaming republicans for Katrina. Katrina was a natural disaster, and Louisiana's leadership could have done a much better job than they did (Btw, they were liberals). No state should ever have to rely on the federal government to the extent that the Louisiana government did during Katrina.

    About the economy........Republicans have the best economic plan with the fair-tax.

    About energy prices, Obama wants them to keep going up, but just at a slower pace. Like Mike Huckabee says, "if you stick a frog in water and boil it slowly, that's just as much pain as if it was boiled quickly. It still gets burned alive."
    at least mccain has a plan for the economy. And about the Iraq war, regardless of whether or not we should have gone into Iraq, the surge is working, and if we quit now, our entire effort will go to waste. sometimes I think the dems just hope that we lose Iraq for their political gain.

    July 6, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  11. Mary in AL

    What a crock of dudu for McCain to suggest that Senator Obama is coming along to his way of thinking about the war! No he isn't and never implied that he was. This is sad, sad on McCain's part. McCain WISHES that Senator Obama was in line with him, but the reality is it just ain't so and won't ever be! Never would I support the lyinin McCain who hollers about honor and tells lies on Senator Obama everyday. McCain demonstrates no dignity or honor in his campaign.

    Obama 08

    July 6, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  12. Michael

    I guess John McCain doesn't understand plain, simple english, Obama said he may need to refine his policies. Merriam-Websters defines refine as: to improve or perfect by pruning or polishing, to reduce in vigor or intensity, to become pure or perfected, to make improvement by introducing subtleties or distinctions.

    Now some one explain to me, help me understand how this is flip flopping. Anyone with half a brain understands policies have to be able to flex, they will change to some degree. Only an idiot would write policy without room in the policy for some flex. Oh, I'm sorry we are talking about McCain, my point exactly.

    July 6, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  13. Obama 08: Female, 60, white

    You would think objective journalists (which in this election is largely an oxymoron) would understand the difference between "refine" and "change". Perhaps a visit to the dictionary would be in order before you jump to repeat McCain's talking points.

    Just like in the Democratic primaries, anything to cause controversy to keep the ratings going. So much for a free press..

    Hillary supporters: get over it...she lost and she isn't coming back!! She would be receiving the same treatment from both the McCain campaign and the press...

    July 6, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  14. Ralph

    So Obama is only ahead by a few points. That is much better than expected for someone with his level of experience. most people with his level of experience would not even have won the primary race let alone be slightly ahead of the current opponent.

    July 6, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  15. Jack from California

    While Senator Obama continues to refine his message to the people his opponent continues to be steadfast in his lies!

    John McCain continues to be like G.W. Bush in content but, wants to "sound like" an independent in his press releases.

    This country can't stand another republican term!

    July 6, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  16. lisa, Austin Texas

    @ Wisconsin 16:17

    Don't waste your time. First mistake... you are using logic to argue with individuals who clearly are not capable. They will not vote for Obama under any cirmstance. He is a bit too cerebral and "uppity "for them.

    They are the same individuals who view events in terms of either black or white...not understanding that as circumstances change, one may have to adjust positions a bit. They have the same mind set as our current president.

    If memory serves correct...President Bush has never been accused of being a "flip-flopper". Obama should consider it a compliment, and move on.

    Dare I say, Obama is not the candidate most of these individuals want to have a beer with.

    One more reason to vote for him in November.

    July 6, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  17. Jessica in IL

    I think that McCain is trying to create an issue where there isn't one. Just because someone *says* someone else is doing something, doesn't make it true!

    July 6, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  18. california

    hhahahahahah Mccains Camp has interesting topics about Obama they should make a comedy show haha please please Mccain go home !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Obama 08

    July 6, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  19. Republican for change



    July 6, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  20. Dan, TX

    McCain has surrounded himself with Karl Rovian congenital liars. Sorry John. You just don't have the judgment to surround yourself with good people. They are leading you down the wrong path. You are supposed to be the leader. What happened to you?

    July 6, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  21. Obama Supporter

    McShame having another senior moment again. This time he cannot see the print nor hear the speech.

    July 6, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  22. Michael


    Give it a rest, the choice has bee made, there is no political will to change it. Senator Clinton is loved and she would have made an outstanding President but the reality is Obama is the nominee. She understands the political reality, she understand her place in the party and what fighting at the convention would do to the party.

    This is not about one person, Senator Clinton as well as Senator Obama understand this. Why can't some of her supporters stop and look at the big picture. I supported her during the primaries, I also supported Obama, either of them are far better than McCain. The primary is over, Senator Clinton is not going to risk fracturing the party for her own personal gain. Stop asking her to commit political suicide, you are not being fair to her, she deserves more respect than some of her supporters are giving her.

    July 6, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  23. Sherri

    This is disgusting on the part of McCain. If you truly had been reading Obama's plan, listening to his speeches and following his campaign you would see he has not changed position. He has always, always said he would listen to the best possible advice to make the best possible decisions. He is not afraid to lead and leadership demands reacting to ever changing information. He has held strong to his positions. Many have not been paying attention, including Senator McCain.

    In 2006 Senator Obama said, "We must exit Iraq, but not in a way that leaves behind a security vacuum filled with terrorism, chaos, ethnic cleansing and genocide that could engulf large swaths of the Middle East and endanger America…We have both moral and
    national security reasons to manage our exit in a responsible way.” [Charleston Gazette, 9/26/06]

    This is very much in line with what Obama is saying today. This GOP ugly, dishonest game plan will not work. Go Obama!

    July 6, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    McCain you are a moron, holy try to make a mountain out of a mole hill. Obama has a very common sense perspective, get out as soon as safely possible, obviously one cannot commit to an exact exit date as who knows how much worse McCain and Bush will make things prior to the fall.

    The "relative" peace at this time is completely artificial as the various sects are playing games with the US and Iraqi government at present. McCain and Bush's Iraq strategy has been an unmitigated disaster, kick the Rebulicans out before even more soldiers and innocent civilians die and the economy goes even further down the toilet.

    July 6, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  25. Tom in CA

    ..., and John do you know what the question is?

    I do!

    It's – "Is Senator McCain suffering from dillusional disorder?"

    It goes with those that suffer from "Old Timers" – do we really want ot elect such an OLD F@@T?

    July 6, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
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