August 9th, 2008
04:00 PM ET
6 years ago

McCain skewers Obama's judgement on war in speech to vets

John McCain accused Barack Obama Saturday of blocking funding for the troops.
John McCain accused Barack Obama Saturday of blocking funding for the troops.

LAS VEGAS (CNN) - After a week spent trying to poke holes in Barack Obama’s energy and economic policies, John McCain returned to the topic of the Iraq war on Saturday, accusing Obama of “varying positions on the surge” and trying to “legislate failure” by voting against troop funding.

McCain told the annual convention of the Disabled American Veterans that his Democratic rival “tried to prevent funding for the troops who carried out the surge.”

“Not content to merely predict failure in Iraq, my opponent tried to legislate failure,” he said. “This was back when supporting America’s efforts in Iraq entailed serious, serious political risk. It was a clarifying moment. It was a moment when political self-interest and the national interest parted ways.”

The McCain campaign made the same charge against Obama in a television ad released last month in key states called “Troop Funding,” citing Obama’s vote against a supplemental appropriations bill in May 2007 during the Democratic primary race. Obama and other senate Democrats voted against the bill in protest because it removed language calling for a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq.

An Obama spokesman said the Illinois senator had voted for every troop funding bill prior to the May 2007 legislation, and the nonpartisan FactCheck.org noted that “Obama cast at least 10 votes for war-funding bills before voting against one last year.”

In his speech to a veterans' convention, McCain accused Obama of being a simple opportunist when it comes to the war, pointing to a recent interview Obama gave to ABC News in which the Democrat suggested he would still oppose the troop surge today despite its current success.

“Even in retrospect,” McCain said, “he would choose the path of retreat and failure for America over the path of success and victory. Behind all of these claims and positions by Sen. Obama lies the ambition to be president. What’s missing is the judgment to be commander in chief.”


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (157 Responses)
  1. Ted van Tol

    Milosovic, Karadic end up in De Hague for the international tribunal.
    The American politics in Iraq killed 4000 American youg man and woman and more then 100.000 Iraqis and no one wonders why
    Bush is not at the tribunal.
    McCain supported this war from the beginning, Barack Obama opposed it from the beginning.
    Barack has de judgement and is ready to lead the USA.

    August 9, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  2. josefromsantafe

    Reasons why Veterans, active duty personell, and anyone who cares about them should not vote for McCain:
    *AWOL for May 22nd vote on GI Bill. Expressed opposition to bill saying "it was too generous to Veterans".
    *Voted against Bill in September that would have mandated adequate rest for troops between combat deployments.
    *Voted No on $1.5-billion increase for Veteran Medical services (money would have come from closing corporate tax loophole).
    *Voted No on establishing a trust fund to bolster underfunded Veteran Hospitals.
    *Voted No in May 2006 against $20-billion allotment for expanding Veteran Medical Facilities.
    *Voted No in April 2006 to increase Veteran Outpatient care.
    *Voted No in March 2004 another $1.8-billion reserve for Veteran Medical care (again funded by closing corporate tax loopholes).
    Bottomline, McCain is more interested in taking care of big business then the men and women he wrongly sent to fight in Iraq.

    August 9, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  3. G

    Says the person who got a D from veterans while Obama received a B+ and not to mention that he took credit for the G.I bill which he never supported. Keep talking you two face liar.

    August 9, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  4. David

    McCain is a war munger just like Bush.

    McBush.
    We can sen them to Geogie to fight against the Russians.

    August 9, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  5. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    McSleaze at it again. He's chicken to say anything about himself. Always trying to belittle the favored Presidential Candidate.

    Too bad McWarmonger – did you remind the vets you voted against increasing health benefits for them? Of course not. You're too chicken to tell the truth. Just lies – that's all you know.

    We know you, Mr Low Road Express. Your out come November – count on it.

    Obama '08

    August 9, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  6. Donna from Colorado Springs

    Here we go again! McBush is dragging out the surge and the Iraq war in his daily attacks on Obama. Doesn't he ever get tired of whining about the same things day after day? But, I guess he has to keep going over the same things again so he won't forget what he's already said! McBush.........the country doesn't give a flying fig about your precious war,which you would keep us in forever if given the chance. Don't you read the opinion polls? We care about the economy, first and foremost. Get a clue, old man. You are so behind the times.

    August 9, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  7. Ronald

    Again a title that doesn't do the story justice. Also one paragraph that actually gives facts that Obama has voted against troop funding once. The rest of the story almost word for word is a McCain press release. Can I get some facts with my reporting? No mention that McCain voted against the GI Bill! Talk about not voting for our troops. Also that he is politicizing them to improve his self interests not theirs. If he wants to talk about history and not what his plan is for the future then thing was was the bigger error. Voting for a pre-emptive war or voting for a surge and taking credit for it. he Obama was playing political games he would not have spoken out against the war when the war was popular and he would agree that the surge worked and support it. Either way Obama is the maveric who has spoken out when it wasn't in his best interest to do so. If McCain wants to tell me about the surge something all he did was VOTE FOR he didn't create is the reason I should vote for then I will need to ask. Will your strategy for crime be to increase the police force, health care create more hospitals, Darfur, Iran, North Korea and Pakistan use a surge in force to overpower them. Just remember that the use of direct force is such a futile way of getting solutions that its mostly used by large nations and small children. Do yourself a favor vote for Obama or don't vote at all. Four more years of the same direction will drive the US into a third world nation.

    August 9, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  8. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    McSleaze at it again. He's chicken to say anything about himself. Always trying to belittle the favored Presidential Candidate.

    Too bad McWarmonger – did you remind the vets you voted against increasing health benefits for them? Of course not. You're too chicken to tell the truth. Just lies – that's all you know.

    We know you, Mr Low Road Express. Your out come November – count on it. You see, unlike you idiot – we know how to use computers to check the facts against your lies – ha ha hahhhhhaaaaa

    Obama '08

    August 9, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  9. mrspeel

    John McCain said this about Obama: "What’s missing is the judgment to be commander in chief."

    Can somebody – anybody – show me where John McCain has shown any judgment during this Election? I'll give him that he was probably right about the Surge, and although I'm sick to death of hearing about it, it's really the ONLY thing he seems to have been right about lately. Where is his so-called judgment?

    Oh, silly me! I forgot, he's too busy making this election a referendum on Obama so he doesn't have to show the world that he really has NO judgment!

    August 9, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  10. ben-Lagos

    I fall off my chair laughing any time I watch McCain mock Obama. McCain does not need to mock or make a joke about Obama to make us laugh; his looks and moves are enough. He walks as if he is carrying a stone on his bottom. ………………..is he?

    August 9, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  11. Jorge

    McCain get out of the negative, been quite a few articles about you since yesterday. Trust is on word that can be used to describe you. What you have done to many with your uncontollable temper is getting out to the press. Heard your name in high school was MCNasty, for your temper fits. We do not trust our countrey in your recklees hands.

    August 9, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  12. Tish in NC

    I can't wait for the debates!! McCain is such a liar!!!

    August 9, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  13. Emma, San Jose, CA

    McCain distorts and out-right lies. He is not fit to be commander in chief
    for many reasons. He is out of touch and stuck in outdated ways of thinking. Geez, about the only thing we hear that is news from his campaign is his slamming of Obama. It is getting so old. Go ahead, McCain, help yourself lose the election.

    August 9, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  14. rhoward

    Seems hypocritical to me to slam Senator Obama for voting against 1 out of 10 funding bills when Senator McCain either has voted against or didn't even bother to vote for bills to help take care of our vets when they returned home. What happens to our vets when they return home is just as important to me.

    August 9, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  15. Mike

    McSurge has already been shown to be the fool. He had every intention of a permanant occupation of Iraq and said so several times. Now Bush and the Iraq Government are about to sign a treaty that requires American troops to leave Iraq. mcBush = wrong on the war.Wrong on the economy. Wrong on energy. Wrong for America.

    August 9, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  16. Brian J

    McGrouch seems upset that reality has overturned his view of the world and that Senator Obama was correct in a withdrawal timetable as the civil war in Iraq winds down. We certainly could use those troops in other hot spots-especially if the Georgia mess deteriorates even further.

    August 9, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  17. chas alabama

    I bet McCain forgot to tell those people about voting against a lot of the VA benifit bills.

    August 9, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  18. Suzanne

    Mc Cain chooses to spin the facts rather than show the integrity to debate issues honestly. To choose to protect our economy and stop the economic bleeding at a trillion dollars and to force Iraq to use its on 70 billion dollar surplus to support its own country is nothing but common sense. As Obama has already stated, once thrown under the bus, one can do little to steer it back on course. He had to fund the war so that American lives wouldn't be further in jeapordy than they already were being spread far too thin between two wars. I am surprised veterans attend his speaches. Has anyone shown the bravery to truly expose what may have actually transpired during Mc Cains POW days? Was he the "song bird"?

    August 9, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  19. me me

    5 years in captivity does not make anyone a war hero,capishe

    August 9, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  20. kel

    Why is it OK for McCain to so completely mis-represent the facts. One negative vote as a protest to 10 positive ones is hardly not supporting the troops. Why is no one asking hard questions of McCain . His track record hardly shows stellar judgement. He voted with Bush 90% of the time. He voted against his own anti -torture bill, and immigration reform bill. Are the American people so uninformed about reality? The Republican spin is getting very old.

    August 9, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  21. TG, Miami

    WHY is every, last, charge McCain makes against Obama totally wrong?? He and his campaign don't even seem to be interested in the facts, that are on record and so easy for anybody to verify. Doesn't he realize that the false accusations and distortions make him look (a) too stupid to understand Obama's positions, or (b) too incompetent to research and remember the facts, or (b) a deliberate, nasty liar??

    WHY does McCain spend so much time telling us what Obama has said and done, when Obama himself has done so much more clearly??

    WHY do McCain's ads say so little about what HE plans to do??

    WHY would anyone vote to make him the leader of the nation and our representative to the world??

    August 9, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  22. anonymous

    Mc Cain is nothing but a lame duck just like Bush, Stevens and the rest of those radical republicans the real question is "when will the media FINALLY admit it?"

    August 9, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  23. wam

    “Even in retrospect,” .............mr mccain would still invade Iraq today, knowing there were no WMD, no link to al Qaeda, and knowing we would sacrifice over 4,000 american lives. that is not "judgement", that is blind observance to a failed policy.

    August 9, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  24. Emster

    Does McCain really think that anyone is going to believe his lies after lies after lies? He so negatively distorts Obama's records and proposals. And in this case, he distorts his own actions to look more positive than they actually were – McCain has not been a strong supporter of the troops or veterans issues. McCain sure has abandoned his pledge to run with integrity – all he does is attack Obama, and in some cases he goes so far as to lie about Obama. I hope the veteran's group didn't fall for this nonsense.

    August 9, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  25. Ray

    Shameful attacks

    August 9, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
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