(CNN) - As part of John McCain's plan to maintain pressure on Barack Obama over Iraq, the Arizona senator plans to take aim at the Illinois senator over his comments to ABC Monday night suggestion he would still oppose the surge policy.
In an interview with ABC's Terry Moran, Obama - who initially opposed the surge of troops in the war torn country in January 2007 - said he would still oppose the policy, even though it has been credited with curbing violence.
"These kinds of hypotheticals are very difficult," he said. "You know, hindsight is 20/20. But I think that what I am absolutely convinced of is that, at that time, we had to change the political debate because the view of the Bush administration at that time was one that I just disagreed with."
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is increasingly becoming a prominent surrogate for McCain, aggressively targeted those comments Tuesday morning in an interview on CNN's American Morning.
Watch: Giuliani takes aim at Obama
"The reality is, that Iraq is now 80 percent safer than it was a year ago, before the surge," Giuliani said. "The fact is, everyone is talking about the fact that it is successful. And the reason that we can talk about withdrawal on success, rather than withdrawal with loss and ignominy, which is what we were talking about earlier, is because the surge was successful. It would seem to be he would admit he made a mistake in not supporting the surge."
Obama defended the remarks Tuesday, telling reporters that it was unclear what would have happened if the plan he had advanced in January 2007 to push the Iraqis towards political reconciliation, and commence a phased withdrawal, had been adopted.
“I am pleased that as a consequence of great effort by our troops, but also as a consequence of a shift in allegiances among the Sunni tribal leaders as well as the decision of the Sadr militias to stand down, that we've seen a quelling of the violence,” he added.
“But as I emphasized a year ago, two years ago, and as I have to emphasize today, ultimately, whether or not we're going to have a functioning Iraq is largely going to depend on the capacity of the Iraqi people to unify themselves, to get beyond some of the sectarian divisions that have plagued the country, and to start setting up a government that is working for the people. “
He also said that he had not proposed “a precipitous drawdown.”
“What I've proposed is a steady, deliberate drawdown over the course of 16 months, and I emphasized that to them,” said Obama.
Meanwhile, Obama supporter and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson defended the Democratic presidential candidate's comments as consistent with his continued opposition to the war.
Watch: Richardson defends Obama
"Senator Obama has been consistent in opposing the war. I mean, what he basically said with the surge is it can be judged a success if it brought political reconciliation among the Iraqi parties," he said, also appearing on CNN Tuesday morning. "That hasn't happened.