July 17th, 2008
07:12 AM ET
6 years ago

McCain admonishes Obama on Iraq, but praises Hagel

McCain said Hagel has made an 'informed decision' about Iraq.
McCain said Hagel has made an 'informed decision' about Iraq.

OMAHA, Nebraska (CNN) – John McCain said he's pleased Chuck Hagel is accompanying Barack Obama to the Middle East because the Nebraska senator - although "wrong" on Iraq - has military experience and has made "an informed decision" about the war.

McCain was peppered with questions about Hagel while campaigning in Nebraska Wednesday evening.

Speaking to reporters after meeting workers a trucking company, McCain again called it "remarkable" that Obama would give a major policy speech on Iraq and Afghanistan without first traveling to those countries or consulting with Gen. David Petraeus.

The presumptive nominee said he is "pleased" that Obama will be accompanied by Hagel, "who has military experience, who has knowledge of these issues."

"Senator Hagel is wrong," McCain said. But, he added: "Senator Hagel has visited Iraq. Senator Hagel has made an informed decision. Senator Hagel, although I disagree with some of his conclusions, the fact is that Senator Obama has never examined the issue carefully, at least from the standpoint of sitting down and discussing the situation with the commanding officer on the ground."

McCain also responded to speculation that Hagel could be tapped as Obama's running mate.

"Look," he said, "I don't know anything about that, except to say Chuck Hagel is a distinguished veteran and a very dear and close friend of mine, who I cherish his friendship for many, many years."

soundoff (184 Responses)
  1. Jimmy

    Obama opposed the war. Rather easy to oppose it when he didn't have a vote to begin with or access to intel. Yeah, in hindsight the intel was bad but people had to make a decision based on what they knew at the time. Don't forget that he wasn't a U.S. senator at the time.

    Obama is being pig headed like Bush with his stance and some of his comments are stupid. "Order the generals is to end the war." What the hell do you think they've been trying to do without creating a bigger mess. They may be military men but they're not war mongers and want to see more young soldiers die. Forget about the bad decision to go to war and live with the present circumstances to make things better. It's ironic about his comments about fighting yesterday's war. The decision to go war was yesterday.

    July 17, 2008 03:17 am at 3:17 am |
  2. BarryO

    The people working for CNN are getting annoying they need to stop removing inoffensive posts that do not suit their tastes. I wrote two legitimate posts with no offensive remarks but critical of Obama and in a heartbeat they were gone. How is this supposed to make CNN a worthy place to debate thoughts when they only accept posts that do not remotely offend anyone who is black in any way? Even if the information posted is factual or contains a link to other commentaries. Is this post offensive? CNN moderator please explain why you removed my posts about Bernie Mac referring to MichelleO as "a hoe" (his words not mine) and a link to racist statements by Obama. So CNN do you only keep pro Obama posts and maybe one or two truthful ones and only when people complain?

    July 17, 2008 03:28 am at 3:28 am |
  3. PG

    McSame you were WRONG from the beginning!

    July 17, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  4. whiner

    now,if mccain would make an informed position on iraq,or anything for that matter.apparently,his war experience hasn't taught him anything about birth control and health care needs for women as well as children.

    July 17, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  5. Filipina

    McWar don't know what he is talking about...He said he know how to win war, Vietnam was a lose, just retire old man and let the young Obama heal the country and get some respect around the world. Wake up America is been hated around the world because of GWB

    July 17, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  6. Von Bismark Vienna

    This guy is becoming a blood thirsty monster.Vote him into the WH and the next war(s) will follow.This is certain!

    July 17, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  7. Leroy

    Barack Hussein Obama is a terroist sympathizer...meeting with Palestine...and a coward for talking big on Iraq but being to scurd to go in the last 3 years, although The Surge has made it safer.

    McCain 2008 and 2012

    July 17, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  8. Reality Check Richmond Virginia

    so.......Hagel has visited Iraq, Hagel has military experiance, and Hagel is "wrong". so I guess none of these qualifications help? Everytime McCain speaks he makes himself look like the inexperianced one.

    July 17, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  9. Trill

    McShame is going to look like a fool once Obama picks Hagel as his VP (which I have been predicting all along). McLame just gave praise to the next VP of the US, the same one he's running against. How lame is McShame?

    July 17, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  10. IQ

    THE AMERICAN PUBLIC IS FOOLED TO THINK MCCAIN HAS ALL THE IDEAS ABOUT TACTICS AND STRATAGY FOR ANY WAR. LIKE THE SURGE THIS ISNT A NOVEL IDEA BY MCCAIN. THE FIRST GENERAL ASKED BEFORE THE WAR STARTED SAID IT WOULD TAKE 400,000 TROOPS BUT RUMSFELD SHOT IT DOWN......

    July 17, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  11. RJ, CA

    Good job, President Bush! We know the upcoming Iran "negotiations" have been in the works way before Obama started babbling about it. We know these things don't happen "overnight" - except for Obama's babbling, of course - there's a new set of that every day.

    July 17, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  12. doc stone

    the mainstream voter wants middle of the road leadership short of that i am going to vote a Demo congress and a repub pres. that is if mc cain picks a moderate repub. not romney he's a corp raider had enough of that type how about colin powell ;-)

    July 17, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  13. William J.

    So now we need military experience to make an "informed" judgment on Iraq? Everyone who has an opinion on the war but who hasn't served in the military is just plain wrong? Take a hike, my friend. We don't need your condescending, talk-down attitude.

    Talk about elitist. John McCain is the most arrogant, self-centered, ill-informed man to run for national office in decades. The comparisons to George W. Bush are more than justified.

    July 17, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  14. Mike

    McCain has clearly been more inconsistant on more issues than Obama has been. Obama doesn't know much about war, which I personally think is lucky. Why does everybody think that the president will be making all of his decisions by himself. Do you think he sits in a room by himself and makes every decision. Obama will have a military adviser, just like we hope McCain will have an economic adviser. These arguments about who is right and who is wrong are stupid. Think about it...

    July 17, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  15. Obama 08: 60 year old white female

    Anna:Since when does sticking to a position make it right?? Now McCain is stating that the "surge" in Iraq has been a good training ground for what needs to be done in Afghanistan. Tell that to the Afghanis and Nato and American soldiers who have died and sacrificed there. This man is a warmonger with absolutely NO empathy or ynderstanding of the world we are living in NOW.

    July 17, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  16. Sam

    McCain hasnt visited Iran but he expresses his opinion about Iran, doesnt he? He's full of opinions about North korea without having visited the place, right?

    The nonsense of this man know no end. Though Hagel appears to have met the McSame standard of visiting Iraq, McSame still disagrees with him.

    Look, McCain had access to some of the highest levels of intelligence reports before the Iraqi war and he enthusistically voted for the war. Turns out he was wrong on all counts! Hagel had access to the same reports and enthusistically railed against the war. Turns out he was right.

    McCain should just acknowledge his bad judgment and stop with these cosmetic criteria for judgment ability!

    July 17, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  17. not important

    And what does Bush yes man say about the war in Iraq? First of all who is the enemy in Iraq McCain? Bush said enemy was Saddam Hussein and what is the definition of victory in Iraq? And why does McCain think that military victory in Iraq is even possible?

    July 17, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  18. Cyrus - NY

    Yes Sen. McCain...we, the public, have reviewed the facts and figures and turns out that:

    - The war-budget that you voted for was wrong
    - The war that you supported was wrong and genocidal
    - The surge that you supported only reduced violence in the occupied cities while Najaf and Sadr city are still under militia control
    - Al Qaeda and other fringe militias still have a stronghold in small towns and cities in Iraq (See BBC and AP reports)
    - The only way we can "win" this war is if we "out live" insurgents in Iraq and stay there for as long as we want to
    - The war that you proudly support also incited hostile relationship with countries like Iran
    - Your support for the dictatorial regime of Parvez Musharaf was wrong

    So, yes...we do like the judgment of Hagel and Obama because war-mongering idiots like yourselves have achieved nothing.

    How can you go on record and say that you know how to "win a war"? Which war have you won? Need I remind you that you were a POW and did not "win" a war and U.S. bailed out of Vietnam? Need I remind you that it was Clinton who pacified the Balkan conflict with sheer military force and intense diplomacy?

    Which one of these wars did you win?! Instead, until recently, you supported working with czar Putin when he was still killing people in Chechnya and establishing his autocratic power across the region.

    Sen. McCain, we the public do respect you for your long service to our country and as a public official, but your record of supporting dictators and global war machines makes us wonder about your judgment and intentions.

    Sen. Obama may not be a veteran like yourself, but he is smart enough and conscientous enough not to tout his "patriotism" and support a war that is deceitful, unnecessary, hegemonious, murderous, and a total waste.

    July 17, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  19. Scott Austin, TX

    Does McCain really believe anyone is listens to him? I wouldn't believe anything McCain said, even if he told me that day is light and night is dark.

    July 17, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  20. rumpusgoopus

    If all McCain has is that Obama hasn't been to Iraq yet, he's in even more trouble than I expected.

    July 17, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  21. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    Why is it that McCain thinks he is the only one who can make an "informed" decision about Iraq? Does he really think that Obama has been in an "informational void" for six years?

    Even we non-governmental folks can made an informed decision based on all the media coverage.

    Specifically, the war in Afgahnistan was a correct decision, while the war in Iraq is/was nothing more than W's revenge for his father's failure to depose Saddam back in the 1990's. Not to mention the oil thingee.

    July 17, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  22. James in NYC

    When is the world going to realize that McCain is a born warmonger who comes from generations of family embedded in the military. I'm tired of hearing that military experience automatically equals a great president. I think that Common Sense and a cool head are more important qualities in a president than someone who will attack anybody anywhere at the drop of dime.

    July 17, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  23. cedintexas

    to: terrydo

    why do people use the word "THUG" ,now is it to replace other words you want to say ?, be true to yourself call it like it is!

    Obama08

    July 17, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  24. Joe, Chicago

    Chuck Hagel has not been afraid to blast the Bush Administration for all their crimes and errors in Iraq.

    Hagel would be a great running mate to Obama. Bi-partisanship and sound thinking (not influenced by special interests and corporations) on foreign policy will bring us forward.

    July 17, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  25. Real Change

    Lisa! You're back!

    Where were you yesterday for the viagra vs. birth control blog?

    July 17, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
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