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. AMIGO

    Hey Lisa,
    McCain / Cindy – wanted back in the NURSING HOME !

    July 17, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  2. Maggie Muggins From Selwyn

    America is light years behind all of today's modern societies. Imagine the wealth of the U.S. but all spent on either killing or ways to kill. Why is it no one seems to care about the millions who suffer and die because of a lack of health care insurance yet they get so charged up when a lot fewer people are die as a result of an attack?

    This won't get printed because the media is controlled by the corporate elite but the fact still remains all the leading nations in the world today look after their citizens with universal health care programs although they only have a small percentage of the wealth of the U.S.

    July 17, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  3. Democrats Choose One Voice

    How can we be sure that McCain is really talking about Iraq here? His average for getting his foreign relation's facts straight have been reeeaaaalllllly bad lately.

    July 17, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  4. Doug, New Jersey

    It is sad that my fellow Americans want us to fail in Iraq and Afganistan. Their loyalty is liberalism over their country. All Americans need to see the hate and lies being spewed by liberal Democrats all over the net. I have to believe that most Americans have a shread of decency and integrity in their bodies so voting Democrat goes against who they are and what they believe in.

    July 17, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  5. Sylvia

    Mr. McWar is full of it. Instead of laying out his policy plans, he spends his time criticizing Obama's plans and then when he is asked, he agrees with Obama at the end. Do you call consistent and unwavering, i don't think so, anna.

    July 17, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  6. Willow, from Iowa

    McCain would admonish Obama for anything he could. He's grasping at straws, determined to make Obama look bad. Really, all he's doing is looking desperate.

    Why is it that all the things Obama said he would do, Bush and his cronies are now doing? McCain said Obama was naive because he was willing to talk to Iran. Bush just sent a diplomat to talk to Iran. Obama said we need to get out of Iraq and finish up the business in Afghanistan. Hm. Bush AND McCAin are now saying we need to take troops out of Iraq and send them to Afghanistan. It seems to me that Bush and McCAin are just a little bit behind the times.

    July 17, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  7. Frank from Peterborough

    McCain voted to invade Iraq with full knowledge it was wrong and nothing could be gained. What is a victory in Iraq McCain?

    Why would anyone have to go to Iraq to know the war is wrong and just a big hole for tax payer dollars to be consumed?

    Are Americans smart enough to figure out the lies used by the McCain campaign?

    July 17, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  8. Cyk

    I think Senator McCain and his cohorts have forgotten that the surge is not what is the issue . The iSsue here is what the war id doing. The so called surge was to fix a broken war. McCain and Bush want us to forget the war. If there was no war in the first place, there would be no surge

    July 17, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  9. Jonze

    McCain panders to whatever audience he is in front of. Obama's biggest mistake was not agreeing to more debates where the national coverage would expose McCain to the pandering liar he is when he isn't catering to the target audience in the room, but the millions of diverse Americans watching across the country.

    July 17, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  10. Sylvia

    If Obama becomes president, he will win again in 2012. By then HRC will be too old like McCain.

    July 17, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  11. Loretta from California

    Yes, Senator Hagel has done all of the above........and he still does not agree with you.

    DEMOCRATS UNITE!!!!

    July 17, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  12. Neil K, Lake Forest CA

    So, let's see if we have this straight: Sen. Obama says the war was a mistake, and Sen. McCain says he can't say that because he hasn't been there. Yet, Sen. Hagel has been there, and says the war was a mistake, and McCain calls that an informed decision.

    If Obama can reach the same conclusion as Hagel, how is his decision not informed? Also, since neither Bush nor McCain traveled to Iraq prior to the war resolution in 2002, doesn't that mean their decision was also uninformed?

    July 17, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  13. NCLaw441

    Doris– IF Obama were to win, he wouldn't be in DC until January 20, 2009, not January 1. Funny how when we nit pick we often mess up ourselves...

    July 17, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  14. Terry, Lakeland Florida

    -Secondly today the US formally announce plans for direct talks with Iran-

    Wrong. These are not direct talks. This will be a listen to what they have to say and leave event. No decisions will be made, we don't ahve anything to say to them but we decided to be nice and let them open their mouth and insert their foot.

    How about you Dems tell the truth for once...please I know it's asking a lot but just try it once.

    July 17, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  15. Texas Democrat for Life

    Vig,
    He doesn't have to. We all know that he was right on the war... Its ok to say it: Obama was right...

    Obama '08

    July 17, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  16. Foreign observer

    Hagel strongly disagrees with McCain when it is on Irak !!! Since recently McCain praises all people who disagree with him. So do we !

    July 17, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  17. Mike from Westchester

    Can we consider the Bush Administrations recent shifts moving troops out of Iraq to increase presence in Afghanistan, negotiating with North Korea, and beginning negotiations with Iran an endorsement of Obama's foreign policy positions?

    If Obama is way better on energy, environmental, and economic policy and now is being proven to have been ahead of the curve on foreign policy all along, is there any argument left for picking McCain over Obama?

    Yes we can! Obama '08

    July 17, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  18. Phil Newton, Murphy, OREGON

    Hagel, a Viet Nam vet, was RIGHT on Iraq and he still is.

    Hagel, unlike McCain, was a ground-pounder. He knows a quagmire when he sees one.

    OBAMA 08

    July 17, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  19. Neil

    Oh boo hoo, McCain, stop whining.

    Obama 08

    July 17, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  20. SIMP

    Who in the world cares what this old bag of bones thinks. We already know he an extension of bush, and we have had enough. He has his nerve to say he's glad Hagal is going with Barack because he knows more about the war than Obama. Well old geeser, just because you keep reminding us of you POW experience, that does not make you an expert either.

    I can't wait until Nov so we can shut this old dinosaur up.

    Obama all the way

    July 17, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  21. Barb

    I have never traveled to Iraq or talked to any Generals – I guess that means that my position on the Iraq war is uninformed as well...

    July 17, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  22. BruthaMANMD

    With all of McCain's "knowledge of these things" he fails to state that it does him no good. Iraq was a big mess before Bush invaded it remains a BIGGER mess today and Obama is correct, it has totally destracted America from the real "terrorist" threat.

    July 17, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  23. Michelle

    Obama did NOT vote against the war in Iraq.

    Obama was not a US Senator at the time and was not part of the vote.

    When asked how he WOULD have voted, Obama responded that he
    "DID NOT KNOW."

    This info is all backed up with newsclips and Obama's own words.

    July 17, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  24. Michelle

    Why is Obama scrubbing his Web site regarding his comments about the surge?

    Why can't Obama just be truthful?

    July 17, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  25. Theresa - Minneapolis

    Does John McCain believe that no one is able to make an informed decision without actually GOING TO Iraq? Is he saying that the American people are unable to have an informed opinion unless we go over there and see for ourselves, or just Senator Obama?

    July 17, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
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