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. Herman in LA

    "The past couple of weeks have been especially difficult when it comes to McCain flip-flops.

    * McCain supported the drilling moratorium; now he’s against it.

    * McCain strongly opposes a windfall-tax on oil company profits. Three weeks earlier, he was perfectly comfortable with the idea.

    * McCain thought Bush’s warrantless-wiretap program circumvented the law; now he believes the opposite.

    * McCain defended “privatizing” Social Security. Now he says he’s against privatization (though he actually still supports it.)

    Wait, I’m not done with the last two weeks yet….

    * McCain wanted to change the Republican Party platform to protect abortion rights in cases of rape and incest. Now he doesn’t.

    * McCain thought the estate tax was perfectly fair. Now he believes the opposite.

    * He opposed indefinite detention of terrorist suspects. When the Supreme Court reached the same conclusion, he called it “one of the worst decisions in the history of this country.”

    Any questions?

    July 6, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  2. NotFallingInLine.org

    We Democrats have been questioning Barack Obama's intentions from the beginning and especially since the beginning of March, when Samantha Power, Obama’s foreign policy adviser, told Stephen Sackur of the BBC that Obama ”will of course not rely upon some plan that he’s crafted as a presidential candidate or as a US senator.”

    And now, Barack Obama, the candidate who has based his entire campaign on words – on flowery rhetoric and empty slogans – has begun to whine about ”how finely calibrated [his] every single word [is being] measured” by the media and the American people. Obama is whining because he believes that there’s nothing wrong with promising that he will withdraw combat troops from Iraq within 16 months of taking office during the contest for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination and then, after the supposed party leaders secured the nomination for him, saying that he’s “going to refine [his] policies” on withdrawing combat troops from Iraq.

    It’s not a flip-flop, exactly. It’s a change we all could have seen coming.


    July 6, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  3. Obama2008/2012

    Hey Vig what he is doing is shaking down his own campaign and thats whats left of the McBush campaign which is not much .
    Your write ins are another joke they are Rebarficans masked as Democrats on here hoping to stir the pot.
    Mc Bush can try to mince Obamas words all he wants Mc Bush is a looser he has thought he was tough all his life thats a joke gimmick he just talks and forgets what he has said he also has to have his elbow men to correct his speach flip flops .
    Oh and if Lieberman dont watch out he fallows McBush so close he will smooooother . What a laugh that would be .

    July 6, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  4. Ralph

    McCain would rather see America fail than make any necessary changes.

    July 6, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  5. speeches2

    Apparently I DID NOT make myself clear after all:
    Le (uh I meant, let) me make myself pwefectly (perfectly- don't parse my words now) clear:

    Obama is going to give another speech…

    demanding that the GE be changed to a CAUCUS format.

    He then plans to bus the same 200 Black people to each of the states to "clinch" the election.

    Caucus is his forte.

    Don't parse my words

    July 6, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  6. speeches3

    Let me clarify speech1 and speech 2...

    July 6, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  7. Ralph

    McCain actually thinks that Obama would let the attacks go unchallenged like Kerry did. The RNC attack machine make work against those with limited funds, but Obama has the money and the will to strike back.

    July 6, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  8. Anne in Texas

    A stupid tactic. It's easy to make general accusations about flip floping and not explain them publically. If you look carefully Obama's previous statements, even his biograghy, he has been been consistent of gun rights, the death penalty, and the war. I only hear about Mc Cain in the news when he's accusing Obama of something. I not entirley sure what he stands for, but I know what he stands against. The man is grabbing for straws. The public is so tired of hearing these guys tear each other up, we're so tired of these politicians projecting their issues and faults onto their opponents, and we're tired of the double F word. We're not scared anymore and I doubt this sort of smear will work. Hillary already tried the strategy of making fiat statements and claims and hoping they gained traction. If Obama survived Hillary, he'll survive Mc Cain. My advice to Mc Cain if he wants to win is to focus on himself and his message and not his opponents. He's only giving them a hand.

    July 6, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  9. Will, NJ

    Wesley Clark questions John McCain's service record as a qualification for president and he is hit with the full force of the right wing and media. McCain himself needlessly question's Obama's word (multiple times) on an issue Obama has remained firm on, yet hardly a bark of protest.

    July 6, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  10. Srtict Script

    Is this the new attack strategy they we're planning? LOL...how can you question anything Obama stands on, especially with regard to Iraq? I can't get over this. LOL...McBush, you want us to stay in Iraq for 100 yrs – that came directly from your own mouth. How dare you question Obama on the fact that he will bring our troops home as soon as he's in office, and carefully. Go home McBush. The GOP's strategy of smearing and fear mongering will not work this time...

    July 6, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  11. Mark

    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

    July 6, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  12. Ralph

    How can McCain say he is different from Bush when he is now being staffed with Bush cronies?

    July 6, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  13. Roger

    Big Mac Attack!


    July 6, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  14. mitchell hussein martin

    liars! twisting his words and lying!i am sick of liars!just like republicans lied about the war in iraq!obama is consistent and they still claim he has changed his position,and he never has!outright lies will not win this election!we are sick of right wing liars!

    July 6, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  15. Bloggers for Obama

    Too funny:

    Mimi is a shape changer just like her man, Obama....

    She morphed from "Mimi de La Cruz for Obama" to her new form: Dr.Mimi De La Cruz...

    But by her posts you know she is just a tool for Obama- neither a Dr. nor Latina... just an uneducated black person for Obama pretending to be a supporter from a key demographic whose support Obama lacks.


    This is the Same ignorant person posting illogical and empty rantings praising Obama as if from different ethnic backgrounds.

    July 6, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  16. Alan Boyer

    John McCain is such a loser that he and his campaign spend more time rewriting the dictionary so that they can trump up a few points against Obama.

    July 6, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  17. Ellie in Aurora, CO

    Here comes the Republican spin and attack machine. Bring it on! It just proves that McCain is just like the Bush, Cheney, Rove crowd. Americans will not allow this to sway us from finally having a president of hope and change! Yes we can, Obama!!

    July 6, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  18. Wisconsin

    The only people who think Obama changed his stance are idiots who can't read!

    Obama has stated his stance time and time again, if you do not understand it then read a book that does not have a cat in a hat!

    McWar you are a flip-flopping useless scumbag! You are full of lies, who can only run on your lies and the sheer stupidity of the people who support you!

    What is this all about? It's because Obama said the word refine. McWar and the media are trying to make it sould like refine means he is going back on his word, but for all the people with an IQ under 20 refine means (Websters Dictionary):

    One entry found.


    Main Entry:
    re·fine Listen to the pronunciation of refine
    Inflected Form(s):
    re·fined; re·fin·ing

    transitive verb 1 : to free (as metal, sugar, or oil) from impurities or unwanted material 2 : to free from moral imperfection : elevate 3 : to improve or perfect by pruning or polishing 4 : to reduce in vigor or intensity 5 : to free from what is coarse, vulgar, or uncouth intransitive verb 1 : to become pure or perfected 2 : to make improvement by introducing subtleties or distinctions
    — re·fin·er noun

    So this means that you have to be an idiot and it helps to be racist to be a Republican these days!!!

    McWar can have my flag pin and I'll even tell him where to stick it!

    July 6, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  19. Ralph

    If the GOP think Obama is an easy target like Kerry was then they are in for a rude awaking. Obama beat the Clinton machine. If the GOP could not beat the Clintons then what makes them think they can beat Obama.

    July 6, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  20. Bob

    Mccain said no time table for pullout in Iraq but then suggested that the troops would be home in 2013 after saying maybe 100 years. And yet I have not seen whisper about that. That is what I call getting a free ride from the mainstream media

    July 6, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  21. Bloggers for Obama

    Come on....

    BIFF (with...' I TOLD YOU' rants for Obama)

    Mimi de la Cruz for Obama a.k.a. Dr.Mimi de La Cruz ( with ' I LOVE OBAMA HE IS A GIFT)

    David Goldman ( with pure drivel every time- all caps)

    The 58 white old ladies for Obama- was just one person- and she apparently died over the last 7 days.

    Darth Vadik, CA- more drivel.

    Come one you lazy thugs- Obama not paying you enough?

    July 6, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  22. Eric-PA

    I'd hate to admit it, but the McCain camp is right. It now sounds like we might stay in Iraq, depending on the conditions on the ground, if Obama is our president. How is this different from McCain's stance? Last week, according to an article on the political ticker, Obama said McCain would like to keep the warm going for more than 25 years. Obama criticized this comment. I'm no Republican, but it's clear McCain was talking about a presence in Iraq for a very long time, just like the presence we have in many other countries around the world. Either Obama doesn't realize this, which shows he's not qualifed for the job, or he's being a typical politician.

    July 6, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  23. Puzzled

    I am surprised that Obama isn't ahead in the polls by 20%. Of course, I was surprised W was elected the first time, and totally blown away he was elected the second time.

    I'm not sure the Dems can actually make changes but this nation can not afford 4 more years of Bush's policies, so there is no other choice but give the Dems a shot at it.

    July 6, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  24. Rob indetroit


    July 6, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  25. Independant

    Ahh man, y'all done f'ed up. Now Obama is trash and Hillary is gone. It's over now.

    July 6, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
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