July 15th, 2008
05:00 PM ET
6 years ago

McCain calls Obama flip-flopper, but uses incorrect timeline

McCain talks with reporters aboard his campaign bus.
McCain talks with reporters aboard his campaign bus.

(CNN) - After talking with aides before his speech targeting Barack Obama's changing positions and rhetoric on Iraq, John McCain decided to ad lib a line slamming the Illinois senator as a flip-flopper.

The only problem is the evidence he gave wasn't exactly right.

First McCain quoted Obama in January 2007, saying that there can't be a military solution to a civil war, and that he knows no military expert who thinks the surge can make a difference.

Then McCain said, "incredibly today, he goes on to say today, quote 'I had no doubt we would see a reduction in violence with the surge' - my friends, flip-floppers all over the world are enraged"

The problem is that Obama did not in fact say today, "I had no doubt we would see a reduction in violence with the surge."

McCain aides later clarified that he was reading a quote from Obama in January 2008 at a Democratic Debate.

"Now, I had no doubt - and I said at the time, when I opposed the surge, that given how wonderfully our troops perform, if we place 30,000 more troops in there, then we would see an improvement in the security situation and we would see a reduction in the violence," said Obama then.

McCain aides provided other quotes they insist make the same point - that Obama has changed his rhetoric on whether he really thought the surge would work, after it started working.

Another quote they provided was from the Illinois senator's interview with PBS Tuesday.

"There was never any doubt that if we poured enough resources in there, that we could lock down Iraq," he told interviewer Gwen Ifill.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (249 Responses)
  1. Richardson for V.P

    If mcsame can make all of these mistakes and still be running neck and neck with obama then it proves one thing- Race is an evil which america has not, and probably never escape. There is no way in hell that this race should be this close. Obama has proven to be superior to mccain in every way shape n form as a politician, scholar, and human being. Sure, obama has flip flopped, but so has mccain. Now Fox news and all the rest of the republican thugs are trying to do the same thing to him that worked in 04 against kerry who ened up losing to the stupidest, most incompetent president and human being ever. When the election comes I beg of you america. Let the race crap go and vote your conscious. Vote for Obama because you know that regardless of his being relatively new to the political scene that he is the right man to lead us in the positive direction we've all so yearned to travel for the last 8 horrible years.

    July 15, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  2. White folks please coming from a white man

    Yeah! McCain age is starting to show. Do America really want him as President.
    Hate vs Common sense for president

    Go Obama '08

    July 15, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  3. RJ, CA

    Geeze, CNN! What difference does it make if Obama said it in 2007 or 2008? Fact is HE SAID IT! THIS is why I no longer watch CNN - what a joke this news organization is!

    July 15, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  4. Know the facts

    Obama has always said that the surge would reduce violence. However, when Obama made the initial comments, which McCain is now misquoting and distorting for political gain, he was arguing that the problems in Iraq were largely political, not military; he was saying that there was no military solution to a political problem [research the actual quotes]. Obama was saying that more political pressure was needed to get the Iraqi government to stand up for themselves, and adding our brave American men and women would only cause them to not take more responsibility for their situation. In other words, the history on this matter is not as simple as McCain is trying to make it. Again, do your own research on this if you want the truth. It's harder for politicians to lie to us when we know the facts.

    July 15, 2008 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  5. Ron, Racine, Wisconsin

    McCain is just talking off the top of his head. He really doesn't know what he's commenting on. Just spouting words. This guy doesn't care about anything other than being president. He'll say anything, change any position, appease any demographic just to achieve his goal. This is the best reason not to vote for him. I just don't see what the Republicans see in him. They certainly didn't see anything in him before he started running for President and changed all his positions.

    July 15, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  6. RJ, CA

    "Czechoslovakia” – a country that officially ceased to exist in January of 1993.

    --------–

    So what the dickens is it now called in its various factions? Do you know? I surely don't, and it's still "Czechoslovakia" in my mind - and to innumerable others, as well. In fact, "Czechoslovakia" still provides a better image of that part of Europe for most of us than "Bosnia" or "Herzegovenia" or whatever!

    So what is the BIG deal!

    July 15, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  7. Pat in Cali

    McCain's aging memory is scary. His senior moments are happening more frequently.

    Is he the best that the Republican party has for a presidential candidate? They're de-evolving Bush, now McOld.

    July 15, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  8. tammy

    At one time, I thought about voting for Obama. Then I thought, if he selects Hillary, I will vote for him. Next I thought, I just won't vote. Now, I would much rather have McCain than Obama. I am tired of all the pro-Obama media. I turn the station everytime I see either him on the news or in a commercial. I have yet to hear anything of substance from him. (Except...Iraq, maybe we will bring our troops home...oops....there going to go to Afganisan.) All I hear is him preaching. If I wanted a sermon, I could go to church. My voice will be heard in Nov. It will not be saying Obama.

    July 15, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  9. NoBama

    Vote for Barack O-BAMA in 2008 if you want higher taxes, double diget unemployment and inflation, long and consistant recessions, inexperience, and half hearted patriotism. Four years in the senate with hundreds of "present" votes is'nt going to cut it when your the commander and chief. But hey if you like good speeches with countless endless promises vote for Obama and he'll take you to fantasy land.

    McCain 08

    July 15, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  10. Let talk about the truth!!

    Senator John McCain is having a senior moment. Congrats to you republicans you surly picked a winner..

    Can John McCain tell us what year he is in..... Now I don't want his hand on the button.. You think we are at war now... Just wait if John McCain Wins.... America will lose..

    July 15, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  11. Phil, FL

    Larry

    Truth is, Media choice was 1st Hillary, 2nd Mccain. They're white.

    Nothing more than that. By the way – all of McCains VP choices are white. Racism is still alive and well and supported by the media.

    THIS will never be posted.

    July 15, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  12. tammy

    At one time, I thought about voting for Obama. Then I thought, if he selects Hillary, I will vote for him. Next I thought, I just won't vote. Now, I would much rather have McCain than Obama. I am tired of all the pro-Obama media. I turn the station everytime I see either him on the news or in a commercial. I have yet to hear anything of substance from him. (Except…Iraq, maybe we will bring our troops home…oops….their going to go to Afghanistan.) All I hear is him preaching. If I wanted a sermon, I could go to church. My voice will be heard in Nov. It will not be saying Obama.

    July 15, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  13. Wisconsin

    "Whatever one's political leaning, McCain's memory is a legitimate issue and concern."

    100% right on! These are Major Mistakes to have and McCain is having them day after day. We can not have a President who is starting out making these mistakes. Where will he be in a few years from now?

    July 15, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  14. Jack from California

    Failed quotes, failed policies, John McCain is just an old time failure!

    July 15, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  15. Kate

    I am a McCain supporter but a flip flopper. Who the heck advised him to say that and who the heck fact checked the quote? Come on McCain's campaign fact check the information. As for flip flopping- what are we in middle school? Just attack his policies, lets refrain from name calling.

    July 15, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  16. BV

    I think McCain needs to take another trip. Things seem to go better for him and his campaign when he's out of the country.

    July 15, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  17. jimmy velman

    Give Obama kudos for brushing off the New Yorker Cartoon with elan.
    he was right when he said the American people have more to worry about than to pay attention to that kind of insult.
    Obama brushed it off like a duck rolls water off its back..
    that New Yorker employee who put that on the cover got nothing but
    ridicule from us Americans.

    July 15, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  18. M. Felder

    KE

    You must be having a senior moment. Apparently, you have not been listening to Senator Obama. Confused by your candidate, John McCain, huh!

    July 15, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  19. Sheri

    He's TOO OLD: being 62 you loose your memory noticeably but, at 72 you are mainly done. Now WHAT DOES THAT TELL YOU ABOUT MCCAIN? Now come on people.

    July 15, 2008 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  20. not important

    LOL McCain flip floped on off shore drilling and the Bush tax cuts. You are the real flip flopper mr Mcflipflop

    July 15, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  21. WISDOM

    I don't think McCain should be in position to talk about "Flip-Flop" unless he is admitting himself as the "MOAFF (Mother of all Flip-Flopers)".

    He is the one who changed his main issues: Tax cut, Energy Policy, Off-shore Drilling, Campaign Finance Commitment...You name it...all the important issues you think about...he changed his stance...Now he is criticizing Obama for a few minor adjustments? What a hypocrite!

    July 15, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  22. eric, minnesota

    I'm glad to see that not every media outlet is McCain's base. At least a few sites like CNN, actually question McCain on some of his issues. I mean last week McCain had one of the worst weeks ever, and hardly anyone talked about it. If it were Obama who had the week McCain had we would still be hearing about it, but since it was McCain who had the horrible week it just got brushed under the rug.
    John McCain keeps talking about countries that dont exist, yet nobody but CNN is talking about it. If it were Obama doing this, the McCain camp would be calling him naive and inexperienced. So, thank you CNN, for actually doing some reporting and not just giving McCain a free ride.

    July 15, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  23. WISDOM

    One more thing about John will do anything for the power McCain,

    How can you trust a man betrayed his own family for gaining some political footage? That's what he did when he betrayed his wife and kids and chased Cindy just because she had wealthy family.

    I'd never trust a man like this. Who knows what information he gave away when he was POW. Period!

    July 15, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  24. Black in CA

    Yeah, McCain is human. A really, really OLD human who is proving everyday that he is not sharp enough to hold the most powerful office in the world.

    If he somehow manages to defeat Obama in November, I only pray he remembers what office he was running for by inaguration day.

    July 15, 2008 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
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