July 22nd, 2008
02:55 PM ET
11 years ago

Rep. Wilson calls Obama 'frighteningly inexperienced'

Rep. Heather Wilson, a surrogate for John McCain, called Obama 'frighteningly inexperienced.'

Rep. Heather Wilson, a surrogate for John McCain, called Obama 'frighteningly inexperienced.'

(CNN) - A leading surrogate for John McCain called Barack Obama "frighteningly inexperienced" Tuesday, the latest effort from the Arizona senator's presidential campaign to step up its criticism of the Democratic presidential candidate while he travels abroad.

Speaking on a conference call with reporters, Rep. Heather Wilson, R-New Mexico, sharply criticized Obama and his presidential campaign for suggesting the Iraqi government had endorsed his timetable for withdrawal from the war-torn country.

"He's not listening to the whole of what the Iraqi government was saying - he's hearing what he wanted to hear and what he thought would help him politically, which get backs to Senator Obama as a candidate for the presidency," Wilson said. "He has his finger in the wind, trying to figure out which way the wind is blowing, and he is not leading.

"He is no way sophisticated enough, I don't think - I mean he is frighteningly inexperienced when it comes to international affairs and national security policy," she added. "And he heard what he wanted to hear from the Iraqi government, without any context around it, and took that simple message and decided it helped him politically. That's the antitheses of what we should expect from a president of the United States."

Listen: Wilson slams Obama on conference call (15:15)

Wilson's comments come after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was quoted in German newspaper appearing to suggest he supported Obama's 16-month timetable for withdrawal from the country. Top Obama foreign policy adviser Susan Rice said the campaign welcomed the comments, though Maliki's office letter dialed back from them.

Speaking on the same conference call as Wilson, McCain foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann said the Iraqi government has made clear any timetable should be tied to conditions on the ground.

"There have been a number of statements from the prime minister and others about the hope that combat forces can be withdrawn by the end of 2010, but I will also point out the government has made clear in a variety of ways that that is based on an expectation of the continued improvement of the security situation and the continuing improvement in the capability of Iraqi security forces to provide for their own security,"


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (451 Responses)
  1. Ryan McCann

    its frightening how scared the republicans seem to be of barack obama, this seems to be a one sided fight in which the republicans are bashing him while barack is just doing what he should be doing, campaigning to win the election. obama 08'!

    July 22, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  2. Gregg

    More desperation from the McCain camp...and more non-news from the press.

    July 22, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  3. Jimmy in NJ

    Jeesh, these people get nastier and uglier the more things go President Obama's way. Oh well.
    At lease I know who FOX news will be giving air time to come January!

    July 22, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  4. no no no!

    boy whats funny is they keep calling Obama inexperienced yet Bush follows Obama's Iranian diplomacy, the PM of Iraq follows Obama's exit plan, McCain follows Obama's Afghan policy...hmmmmmm, i would rather have that kind of inexperience than the many years of bad experience from a man who in his "expertise" thinks Iran trains al Qaeda, that the boarder of Iraq is Pakistan and does not know about the economy or what he voted on regarding birth control...
    other than his constant crying about the media( his base) and attacking Obama what DOES Mccain have to say?......just what i thought, NOTHING

    July 22, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  5. SUSAN

    The Republicans love to use scare tatics. I for one can not wait to have someone intelligent lead our country. Today I found out John McCain graduated 894 out of 899. Another ignorant president. I don't think so. No wonder he makes so many gaffs!

    July 22, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  6. Mikey, Alpena, Mi

    Talk about frightening – look at that hair, that dress

    Frightening is only one of the candidates knows the difference between a Shiite and a Sunni, and it ain't Senator Lumpy Face

    July 22, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  7. Jann, Denver CO

    There is underlying code all over these statements.

    July 22, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  8. eric

    Are these people seeing the same reality we are? This person is criticizing Obama for thinking al-Maliki supported his withdrawal plan and saying Obama only heard what he wanted to hear. Are you serious? That's exactly what al-Maliki did! Obama's finger is in the wind? He's the one leading by giving us defined plans for every problem we face. All McCain can do is criticize everything Obama does without giving any details of his own plans. This person is clearly not sane enough to be holding office and should be recalled since she keeps accusing Obama of the exact same things McCain is doing.

    She also forgets that Lincoln had the same experience that Obama does, and he turned out just fine. Truman also had no foreign policy experience and was deliberately kept in the dark by FDR, and yet he guided us through the end of WWII, the beginning of the Cold War and establishing our policy of containment (which worked incredibly well), the Marshall Plan, the creation of Israel and the United Nations. So much for a lack of experience hurting someone.

    July 22, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  9. MMN-Milwaukee WI

    Let the truth be told, we are paying the warring factions in Iraq of Sunnis, Shiites, and Sadr militias they did not just stand down for nothing, so their infighting (civil war) is on hold and that makes the surge look good. Take away the dollars and the surge will look like a joke.

    July 22, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  10. Peter

    "I mean he is frighteningly inexperienced when it comes to international affairs and national security policy," she added. "And he heard what he wanted to hear from the Iraqi government, without any context around it, and took that simple message and decided it helped him politically. That's the antitheses of what we should expect from a president of the United States"

    I'm confused: Reading this immediately brings to mind G.W. (Gutless Wonder) Bush.

    I'd say that these attributions by Heather Wilson are about the stupidist things I could imagine coming out of her mouth, but I won't. Because I know she open her mouth again.

    July 22, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  11. Lynne

    He is frightening. So many of us feel this way and the media just overlooks us. I think there are more against him than for him. The media is overplaying him way too much!

    July 22, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  12. Rocky

    Heather Wilson.

    The same politician who led a crusade against the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction while we had our brave men and women dying in Iraq for our leaders' illegal occupation.

    The same politician who decided that a breast was more damaging to Americans than the multiple caskets coming home from Iraq.

    The same politician who decried a brief shot of nudity while images of maimed people crossed our television screens.

    And now she's telling us how to vote?

    Based on her previous judgments, she just gave us another reason to vote for Obama in November.

    July 22, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  13. susie

    It is scary, Obama's friends are not that desirable. Staying in a hate filled church for 20 years and giving money to the church shows what he thinks about America. The pictures that the media puts out always show him looking towards the heavens. There is something wrong with that and a bit scary.

    July 22, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  14. Fromer HRC supporter

    Obama supporters want change and so Obama keeps changing his tune. Don't trust him!

    July 22, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  15. Chris

    The Republicans who want to "WIN" this war so badly, need to realize that sometimes Retreat is the better, more intelligent part of valor.

    July 22, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  16. old politics

    Republicans are frighteningly separate. They have just become a party of whinners. They whine and complain about obama, the media coverage etc... all day along.

    July 22, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  17. Matt, Minneapolis, MN

    Obama's strategy comes down to rainbows, happy thoughts and dafodils. Nothing more. He hears what he want's with no context, no words surrounding those other words, and runs with it...Very similar to bush/cheney. NO wonder I'm not voting for him.

    Change without substance is status quo....No to O.

    July 22, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  18. obamajunkie

    keep it coming,,,

    obama 08

    July 22, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  19. rak

    Isn't McCain's tying of the violence reduction solely to the surge an oversimplification for his political purposes?

    July 22, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  20. Dave

    I love the new headline on CNN. McCain steps up attacks. Thats right, don't bother to inform us on how you would fix the problems of this country, just keep attacking everything Obama says and does. No need for a solid plan as long as you can keep slinging the mud.

    July 22, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  21. Lisa

    She's Right

    Hillary 08!

    July 22, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  22. Fresh Start

    We had 8 years of very experienced politicians and look at what that proved for our economy, foreign affairs and the rest of the government. I am sure anybody can do the job now.

    July 22, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  23. Kevin, NC

    Oh poor rebublicans, they want to go down in Guiness book of World Records with the election of someone older than Methusaleh, in the bible and more airhead than Cindy Snow from 3's Company.

    McCain has no more experience than Obama, and if you ask me its frightening to hear him say that Soldiers dont come home unless the war is won. I say to that, here is a man who was so inexperienced he got shot down (unfortunately) but fortunate to have his life, and come home from the war in Vietnam that was certainly not won!! Yet he wants our brothers and sisters in the military to continue laying down their lives just to save face for the republicans who got us into the war?

    To me people that makes no sense what so-ever.

    July 22, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  24. Mark Dover, Delaware

    Another Cackling Christian Coalition REP

    July 22, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  25. McCan't

    What exactly all of this "experience" that ancient John is suppose to have? Please, list the exact experience with bullet points.

    Spending 20+ years in the Senate with extremely little to show for it? Is THAT the "experience" that Republicans are crowing about? Sorry, but as much as I respect what he endured in Viet Nam, spending time in a tiger cage has nothing to do with being the Commander in Chief.

    Yes, Obama is inexperienced. But guess what...McCain has led nothing but the rush to bail on his ill wife while cheating with a rodeo queen.

    July 22, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
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