July 6th, 2008
03:05 PM ET
6 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. NoMccain

    Obama wants to get out of Iraq. Mccain does not.
    Just watch the movie Syriana to see why Mccain does not want to get out of Iraq. He wants to perpetuate an American hegemony while oil still exists.

    July 6, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  2. srw

    What exactly is McCain's position?

    Are most of the troops out by 2013? What if fighting begins again between Shi'ite and Sunnis? Or will there be permanent bases with a large troop presence regardless of the level of violence? McCain once said he did not favor permanent bases, but now that Max Boot is advising his campaign, he appears to favor them.

    Meanwhile we know what Obama wants. Begin the withdrawal, understanding that we have to be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in. That has never changed.

    McCain is a disgrace. Straight talker indeed.

    July 6, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  3. Foreign observer

    Obama was against American troups in Irak, he is against American troups in Irak and when President he will do so. Majority of Irak people don´t want the Americans to stay in Irak. Of course the government puppets chosen by Bush try to keep the American troops there.

    July 6, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  4. Kula

    Can McCain think seriously about Americans and concentrate on the Economy?

    July 6, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  5. Obama fever is all the rage now

    Why should Obama have a plan and state it and stick with it- when all the celebrities, African Americans and newbies are impressed by his image?

    Who needs a viable and do-able platform? Being experienced, knowledgeable, qualified, informed, and ready to SERVE is what did Hillary in.

    We want words and more words and more words.

    Who wants substance when you can feel good over a speech?

    Silly people, wanting a candidate vs a pop idol.

    July 6, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  6. mountain man

    Obama spent the whole primary attacking hillary on Iraq now he sounds exactly like her. So much for a new kind of politics.

    July 6, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  7. Molly Weasley

    A "kick-butt" operative? You mean a Karl Rove clone. The American people can do without that, thank you very much.

    Obama says the same thing about Iraq every time. One AP reporter misterprets it (boy, have I lost respect for AP in this election) and the inside-the-beltway types go all atwitter.

    Hey, I've got an idea: Why don't you ask Americans outside of Washington what they think? They'll tell you gas prices, the economy and how to get out of Iraq. And they'll ask the media why they aren't writing more about where the candidates stand on THOSE topics.

    July 6, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  8. Belle2

    Obama, the candidate of change, has simply changed his mind, like all politicians do from time to time. He castigated Clinton for her position on Iraq, yet it seems he agreed with her all alone. For all you Obama fans who do not understand why Clinton supporters prefer McCain to Obama, this is the reason. McCain has a history that we can look at and know how he will react in difficult situations. Obama has done nothing except run corrupt campaigns and use every dirt trick there is to demean, disqualify, and denigrate his opponents. We trust McCain to do what he believes is right (though we might disagree with his beliefs); we do not have a clue what Obama really believes. Trusting Obama simply defies logic.

    July 6, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  9. Ryan

    Are they serious? His position really hasn't changed.. people aren't dumb enough to listen to McCain's crap.

    July 6, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  10. Gary Chandler in Canada

    The G8 is meeting and it's like the ghost of John McCain is there. His stated approach of kicking Russia out should be debated ALONG with Obama's views of Russia and China, BEFORE the next President of the World's most powerful country is elected.
    Y'all hankering for another Cold War?
    Obama HAS to select, for VP, to the strongest mititary and foreign affairs expert available to him, Powell for example.

    July 6, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  11. David Goldman

    MCBUSH IS A DOCUMENTED THIEF, LIER & BIGOT.

    HIS CALLING ANY ONE ELSE'S WORDS INTO QUESTION,

    AMOUNTS TO A COMPLIMENT. WE DON'T HAVE TO

    CALL MCBUSH'S WORDS INTO QUESTION.

    WE KNOW HE IS A LIAR, NO QUESTION ABOUT IT.

    July 6, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  12. Foreign observer

    First redefine Obamas words – then attack him. Too stupid to have success.

    July 6, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  13. Black is the color of my ......

    Obama gives beautiful speeches- how can you question his words?

    He said he was for change- and that is what he does to win votes.

    Just so long as he can be all things to all people to win votes, he is okay.

    Just don't expect him to have the courage of his convictions- he has no convictions.

    He panders for votes so that he can continue to campaign away.

    But... black is beautiful

    July 6, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  14. Susan from Scotts Valley, CA

    It sounds like the EXACT same strategy they used against Kerry in 2004. Hopefully, Americans won't be stupid enough to fall for it this time.

    Write ins for Hillary are as good as votes for McCain so anyone that is planning to do that just be sure you know the outcome. You'll split the Democratic vote and McCain will win with a big unearned margin. You may get some emotional satisfaction from that but it will be short-lived. Because the future of this country will be on your heads...all of those that vote for McCain or write in for Hillary or stay home. You'll be responsible for us staying in Iraq, for our economy continuing to spin out of control, and for all the fat cats that are in bed with McCain continuing to reap the tax benefits for the economic and tax policies of their boy.

    As you're rejoicing your accomplishment, the rest of us will just shake our heads and then do whatever we can to ensure that Hillary never wins another public office.

    July 6, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  15. Julie

    McCain has been barking at every statement out of Obama's mouth since he won the dem nomination. He's kind of like the boy that cried wolf – I stopped listening to McCain a long time ago.

    July 6, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  16. John

    It is very clear the John McCain and his campaign are going to take every word that Obama says and try to spin it in a way that devalues Obama's candidacy. This is just another attempt by McCain to catch up and make the American people think that Obama does not know what he is doing. My problem with the McCain campaign and the Republicans that I used to vote for, believe that the American people are naive and do not understand the issues.

    We know Obama and we know McCain. Obama is going to pull out the troops in Iraq, McCain may stay there another 5 to 10 years. He needs to answer for that.

    The other thing that is clear is McCain's surragotes take every advantage they can instead telling the American people about McCain's policies. They the only chance they have is to go negative on Obama and hope we believe McCain.

    Message for the McCain campaign: The American people are not that naive, we know what you are doing and we know that Obama is our best choice right now, because of his judgement and his concern for the average American. John – stand up and tell the truth – what are y our positions, because its hard to tell with all the bickering that you are doing.

    July 6, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  17. Giovanni

    Obviously Obama is backing away from his previous position which was political possitioning for the primary. Now that he is facing a general election he is changing his position for that electorate.

    July 6, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  18. Words to die by

    But Obama has succeeded by spinning words.

    By refusing to take a firm position.

    By twisting his position to fit what is polling well that day.

    Why change a successful strategy now?

    July 6, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  19. John McCain

    Barack Obama has said the same thing for months and months. But I am going to call him a liar because I want to win.

    I tend to say things that I don't truly believe in my heart for all the wrong reasons. Specifically, AMBITION. (SEE MCCAIN 60 Minutes interview for specific quote-actually admitting lying for ambition to the presidency).

    Therefore, I will continue to lie and spin to win. Spin, spin sugar.

    John McLie

    July 6, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  20. PUMA .. Hillary supporter

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

    July 6, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  21. Ralph

    The GOP tried the same smear on Bill Clinton, but it failed every time. Obama will not sit and take the smear like Kerry or Gore did. I wonder how many more times McCain will have to shake up his campain before November. Looks like Obama was right to opt out the public financing, because he is going to need a lot of resourses to fight off the smear.

    July 6, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  22. Let me make myself perfectly Clear

    He intends to pander for votes.

    Then he intends to convince all Americans that WHATever he does is the perfect solution.

    Everyone else is wrong. Only HE knows what is best...until it isn't best, then he clarifies and reclarifies and reclarifies what he meant.

    July 6, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  23. Dave

    Obama is hard to figure out. He does talk out of both sides of his mouth and then gets mad when people point it out.

    Also, Obama seems to have more issues with words than most. Hillary seemed to imply he was just a guy who gave some speeches or "change you can Xerox" and I seem to recall Obama getting targeted with some plagiarism concerns about a speech similar to one by Deval Patrick.

    I am not necessarily a fan of McCain, but I think he is raising a valid point by calling Obama's words into question.

    July 6, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  24. John

    It is very clear the John McCain and his campaign are going to take every word that Obama says and try to spin it in a way that devalues Obama's candidacy. This is just another attempt by McCain to catch up and make the American people think that Obama does not know what he is doing. My problem with the McCain campaign and the Republicans that I used to vote for, believe that the American people are naive and do not understand the issues.

    We know Obama and we know McCain. Obama is going to pull out the troops in Iraq, McCain may stay there another 5 to 10 years. He needs to answer for that.

    The other thing that is clear is McCain's surragotes take every advantage they can instead telling the American people about McCain's policies. They the only chance they have is to go negative on Obama and hope we believe McCain.

    Message for the McCain campaign: The American people are not that naive, we know what you are doing and we know that Obama is our best choice right now, because of his judgement and his concern for the average American. John – stand up and tell the truth – what are y our positions, because its hard to tell with all the bickering that you are doing.

    July 6, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  25. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Yeah, that's right McCain let's stay focused on the war in Iraq and the people will forget you don't know jack about fixing this economy. McCain is just like Bush who has done nothing for the American people in 7 years but focus on the Iraq war and thinks we will buy into it for another 100 years. WHOSE RUNNING MCCAIN'S CAMPAIGN, MCCAIN OR BUSH, I CAN'T TELL THEM APART.

    July 6, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
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