July 17th, 2008
04:20 PM ET
9 years ago

McCain presses Iraq flip-flop charge ahead of Obama trip

McCain is continuing to paint Obama as naive on foreign policy.

McCain is continuing to paint Obama as naive on foreign policy.


(CNN) -
John McCain’s aides may not like it, but they know it's inevitable: Barack Obama's trip overseas is guaranteed to generate a lot of coverage.

And they say while Obama is abroad, McCain will spend the week sticking to issues that voters care most about, namely the ailing economy.

But now, McCain is using every opportunity he can get to come down on Barack Obama's Iraq policy.

While at a Kansas City town hall Thursday, unprompted, the presumptive Republican nominee tweaked Obama for his upcoming trip abroad.

"I know that Senator Obama is going to Iraq," he said. "I was very interested that he articulated and announced his policies and [approach to] Iraq before he went."

Ironically, it was McCain himself who encouraged the Illinois senator to go.

"It's now coming up on 900 days since he last visited Iraq, since before the surge," McCain said last month in Pennsylvania. "I hope that he goes as quickly as possible, with or without me."

The Republican National Committee has a running clock on its Web site showing how many days, hours, and seconds it has been since Obama last visited Iraq.

Since the June 28 news that Obama was planning to make a trip to Iraq, the McCain campaign has been working up their response plan.

But aides say that when Obama penned an op-ed this week detailing his policies in Iraq and Afghanistan, followed by a speech doing the same, advisers re-focused their attention to one central theme: by introducing his war policies before leaving, Obama's trip has become more of a campaign swing than a fact-finding mission.

"I've been on a lot of trips around the world, usually at your expense," McCain said Thursday. "But I usually issue my policy statements when I get back."

Obama is expected to make the trip to Iraq this month alongside fellow senators Chuck Hagel and Jack Reed. While overseas, the presumptive Democratic nominee will also visit France, Germany, Israel, Jordan and the United Kingdom.

"This trip will be an important opportunity for me to assess the situation in countries that are critical to American national security," Obama said in a statement last month. It will also afford him the opportunity to "consult with some of our closest friends and allies about the common challenges we face."

As Obama prepares to go, the McCain camp stepping up its push to highlight Obama's apparent shift in rhetoric on Iraq.

Earlier this week, McCain declared Obama a flip-flopper for changing his statements on the surge's success.

"It's a particularly new level of flip-flop," McCain said on-board his bus, the Straight Talk Express, Tuesday.

On Thursday, the McCain campaign released an eight-minute video aimed at illustrating Obama's contradictory statements on Iraq.

One clip from 2004 shows Obama saying, "we should secure execute the rebuilding and reconstruction process effectively and properly. I don't think there should be an artificial deadline to do that."

Obama now has calls for all combat troops to be out of Iraq in 16 months.

The Obama campaign was quick to respond, returning to a common argument: that McCain has, for the most part, been in lockstep with President Bush on the Iraq war, and that his position now keeps troops there indefinitely.

But noticeably absent from the response: any defense against McCain's central charge - that over the years, Obama's Iraq position has shifted with the politics of the moment.


Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (169 Responses)
  1. Frank

    I, along with countless others I'm sure, am sick and tired of McSame claiming a flip flop on Iraq when there is none! Obama has always stated that he would take conditions on the ground into account. This is found on numerous video tapes, speeches and even in the debates.

    Why does the press not call him on his continued lies? Can someone answer that, is the press that much in bed with McSame? What gives?

    July 17, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  2. AR(NC)

    I will vote for a true American Hero. John McCain who sacrificed five years of his life for all of us, to be able to say the things you've all posted here. I want a candidate who has experience, vision and a deep love for this great nation and people, a man I am truly proud to call a fellow American. I am humbled, that he would grace us, to run for president. I'm sorry some of don't appreciate the honor it would be, to call him Mr. President.
    Thank you,
    AR(NC)

    July 17, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  3. Frank

    The surge name is another McSame lie. Lets call it by what it is, Escalation!

    If it was a surge, when we bring the "surge" troops home, we would have the same number of troops, or maybe less than before the surge started. Escalation is an increase of troops. So, after the "surge" troops are all home, we have 18,000 more troops than we had before the surge. Surge, Really?

    Escalation! Yet another McSame lie and still the press is silent about the Mcsame lies. When will the press start doing their job, or don't they want to. Is McSame some kind of a sacred cow?

    July 17, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  4. Nick

    McCain could really be about something if he would bother to show up to vote on anything. He is the most absent senator. For McCain to talk of anyone flip-flopping. This guy is the king. McCain has flip-flopped on everything but his name. The McCain pre 2000 would have little to nothing to do with the McCain of 2008. McCain The King Of The Flip-flop!

    July 17, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  5. Canadian black man for Obama.

    July 17th, 2008 8:19 pm ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Mccain have flip flopped on so many issues than we can imagine.

    Health care, house foreclosure asking people to go get a second job, now he share the pain of the people, flip flop on Bush tac cut, fli flop on evrything . If you not sure which issues Mccain haven't flip flop on visit youtube/mccain flip flops.

    I just sick to my tommy when i hear Mccflip floper accusing Obama.

    Mccflip flopper stop the negative attacks it doesn't look good on you.

    Canadian black man for Obama. July 17th, 2008 8:44 pm ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    McCain Flip-Flops on Everything

    in QuickListMcCain Flip-Flops On Tax Cuts

    in QuickListJohn McCain vs. John McCain

    in QuickListJohn McCain Flip Flops on the Confederate Flag

    in QuickListJohn McCain Flip Flops on Gay Marriage
    00:49 From: bravenewfilms

    in QuickListMcCain Flip Flops on Abortion

    in QuickListEthanol: The Inconvenient Truth

    in QuickListMcCain Flip-Flops on Iraq

    in QuickList08.03.07 – McCain Flip-Flops on Immigration

    in QuickListBiofuels & Ethanol: The Real Story

    in QuickListJohn McCain on ethanol

    in QuickListE85 Ethanol Does not harm Non-FlexFueled Engines

    in QuickListMcCain on Ethanol

    in QuickListMcCain Flip Flops on Ethics Reform – Pandering

    in QuickListMcCain Flip-Flops On Death Tax

    in QuickListMcCain's flip flop express

    in QuickListMcCain Flip Flops – Sets Timetable For Withdrawal From Iraq

    in QuickListMyth: Corn Ethanol is Great

    in QuickListJohn McCain Flip Flops on the Religious Right

    July 17, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  6. M

    I'd rather be with someone who changes their mind and therefore is open to suggestion than one who is closed off to input and insists their ideal is the one we all share.

    July 17, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  7. Kevin in Chicago, IL

    Audacity of Hype.

    Hope he brings the Unicorn.

    July 17, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  8. Cynthia

    What is Senator Obama to do? First, Senator McCain had been counting the number of days since Senator Obama's last trip to Iraq. Now he's bellyaching because he made speech about it and is making a trip there.

    July 17, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  9. jimmy velman

    SENATOR MCCAIN WOULD DO WELL TILL AFTER OBAMA'S
    FOREIGN TRAVELS AND SEE HOW OBAMA FARES ALONG THE WAY AND IF WORLD LEADERS TALK TO AND ABOUT HIM . HE IS GOING ABROAD AS A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE AND AS A U.S. SENATOR.. ON THOSE TWO POINTS ALONT HE WILL BE ACCORDED DUE RESPECT AND COURTESY. HE IS ALSO AN
    AMERICAN AND AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT OF THE GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD.
    HE IS A NEW FACE IN AMERICAN POLITICS AND HIS ELECTION WILL BE HISTORIC. NOW, NO EUROPEAN WORLD LEADER IS GOING TO SNUB AN AMERICAN SENATOR AND PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE. IT IS IN THE MINDS OF EVERY NATIONAL LEADERS IN THE GLOBE, THEY CANOT AFFORD TO ALIENATE AFRICANS
    OR THE AFRICAN NATIONS WHICH ARE SYMPATHETIC TO OBAMA.

    July 17, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  10. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    McCain says we have succeeded in Iraq. LOL. Yes we have succeeded in Iraq's Prime Minister Maliki telling us to get out. In other words, the U.S. got rid of their dictator who controlled the oil, and now our services are no longer needed. A blind man could see this coming, but then again a blind man is only blind and not an idiot like McCain/Bush.

    July 17, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  11. A Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    I have to agree with McCain. We all thought Kerry would be the flip flopper of all time, but then we didn't know about obama. He is the King of the Flippers.

    He may surround himself with flags now but he spurned them a few short weeks ago. what a flipper

    He may sound like a preacher now, but a couple of weeks ago he spurned his own preacher. what a flipper

    He said he loved his grannie, then he pitched her under the bus. He pimped his own children for political purposes then he said he shouldn't have done that What a flipper

    He said he would unilaterally go into Pakistan. I am scared of this girlie man. What a flipper

    July 17, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  12. Boston For OBAMA

    Who ????? In their right minds wants McCain for President????
    What does he want Barack Obama to do..........go to Iraq or not.

    July 17, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  13. James McDouglas

    McCain is so sad.

    He's the perfect icon for the dismal state of the Republican party in 2008.

    Good riddance to old rubbish.

    July 17, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  14. A Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    Yes I do believe Obama Hussein is the king of the flips.

    McCain is aware of the situation and will handle it just fine.

    McCain will preserve our values while obama and a few of his supporters will trash our values. We cannot let that happen.

    Get one the Straight Talk Express and contribute to his victory in November. Please

    July 17, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  15. Sue

    Umm, hey, Pfil Gramm – is this what you were talking about – Whining?? Good Lord, the Rethuglicans are just pitiful, expecially their warmonering nominee!

    July 17, 2008 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  16. craig

    My mom always told me to be careful what you ask for because you just might get it. McCain demanded that Obama go to Iraq and now he is going. McCain is horror struck that the media is going to cover Obama's trip which means no one will be listening to his Bush policies.

    July 17, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  17. michael

    how can you justify "success" in Iraq when you have killed hundreds of thousands of your fellow human beings and totally ruined the lives of so so many others, left helpless children orphans without their parents or loved ones.. including all the young american men who have died and for what..to make George bush and the likes of McCain look good in the eyes of the world.????..McCain you have a really sick and pathetic value on human life and its preciousness to everyone..I hope you sleep well at night,,,I really do!

    July 17, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  18. vicki

    McCain. Just one word. You can't stand that a young, educated, charismatic Barack just get it a new century and you are jealous of him. Nobody accompanied you on your trips. With Barack ALL world follows. Your attacks will NOT work this time. Barack is the US and WORLD choice. Get a rest.

    July 17, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  19. Phil, FL

    What are McCains ideas? All I ever hear from him is how wrong Obama's are.

    He needs to retire.

    July 17, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7