August 9th, 2008
04:00 PM ET
10 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 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. jrm

    way to go McCain, I loved your commercials during the Olympics. Show Obama he is NOT ready to be commander-in-chief. He is just a pander-in-brief!!!

    August 9, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  2. Bosworth

    Like most Democrats, Obama did what (little) he could to stop the Surge in Iraq. Like most Democrats, he later decried it as a failure, even before it had a chance to start working. And, like most Democrats, he clung to the "failure" of the Surge as though it were religious dogma even after it was clear it had succeeded.

    It is only after the results were irrefutable and polls started to suggest the public was perceiving the success that Obama – unlike most Democrats – actually took credit for the Surge by promoting his 16-month Withdrawal Plan. A Plan, which, of course, couldn't have possibly worked unless the Surge had successfully stemmed the violence, and advanced Iraqi political milestones.

    I feel it is absolutely astonishing that someone who spent so much monologue on sabotaging progress in Iraq would actually attempt to take CREDIT for it. Politics is politics; and I know that no politician is above politics. But, at least try to keep a straight face, for Heaven's sake, if you're going to try to jerk us around with a totally fraudulent claim. The political arrogance of his campaign is breathtaking.

    I realize McCain is also a politician. But at least I know what we can expect from him. Obama remains an stubbornly indefinable entity that may or may not be good for our country. Given the situation of the world today (widely acknowledged as dangerous – even by Democrats), I think I'll go with the politician I know over the politician I'll NEVER know.

    August 9, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  3. zago

    McCain is angry

    August 9, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  4. Len in Washington

    Maybe if McCain knew how to operate a computer he could find out a LOT from but.....he doesn't.. so he keeps lying to cover it up. His campaign is getting disgraceful.

    August 9, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  5. Lee/Vet

    If Senator McShame had used judgement, we would not be in this illegal war; not to mention who was against the New GI Bill, If I recall it was Senator McShame who joined G.W. in saying it was too generous. Old man loosing his mind like he lost his judgement before the war. Why haven't they called the Bush Admin. to the Hague for war crimes? And will someone please tell me what we are winning, because I to this day still don't know why we went into Iraq and why we are still there and what we are trying to "WIN".

    August 9, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  6. Monica for Obama in Indiana

    mccain lies so much. This is the reason, he doesn't want the media to cover him, just so he can continuing lying and get away with it.
    The main media is getting tired of this.

    August 9, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  7. Otto

    And John McCain did not vote for health care for the Vets. McCain is only interested in the SURGE and nothing more.

    Give the guys and their families what they need and all the help they deserve as they are the ones dying and having pain daily.

    Politicians from either side have nothing to loose as we all know. George Bush kids are not there, neither is Cheney's.

    Forget about John McCain's kids, they will never go to war as they are not from England.

    Politicians launch wars but their families are not participants and that is not the way it should be. If you can plan and execute a war; you and your kids should be a part of it, that is called leadership.

    August 9, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  8. What's Up CNN

    John McCain accused Barack Obama Saturday of blocking funding for the troops McAttack is just an Old White Haired Wrinkly Dude LIAR!!!

    August 9, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  9. Bob

    John McCain is all about action, whereas Obama is making a lot of promises without backing them up with details of how he'll do it. John McCain has served our country, not only when putting his own life on the line, but also as a public servant every since. John McCain stands for America, obama stands to raise our taxes and make a name for himself.

    McCain for President '08!

    August 9, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  10. Morgan

    Obama means "Change" as in "Change parties if you're a Democrat!

    August 9, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  11. Lou R

    McCain is a sick and desperate man with no interest in having integrity. His misrepresentations of the Obama record seems to go on without end. In the end, McCain will have no idea what he is talking about. I await the three Presidential debates; by then McCain should have his distortions in high gear.

    August 9, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  12. s.positive

    someone should tell Mcbush that he has already lost the election.

    August 9, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  13. Grandma

    McSame could care less about American jobs, so long as the war machine keeps humming. McWar only wants investment in war, death and destruction. McCain does not have anything to say even on his add. We know him always crying about media attention and when he has it he talk about Obama. Media putting Obama under microscope and they can not find anything and now all I see McCain TV add for free in all the stations. McCain is follower and Obama is the leader. He had all week to talk about energy and all he said all the above is my plan he never give any $ or brake down on his plan he said “ALL THE ABOVE “he means Obama plans, More McLies by omission. Please ask him what his plans are about the war he just says we need to win just like a child not just like a leader. Senator Obama is a leader young like Kennedy and Celebrity like Ragan. But McBush promised a campaign of integrity.
    Surely we can trust McCain to be honest with us and keep his promises.

    August 9, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  14. J. Anderson

    Why doesn't McCain mention the "c" word (the one he called his wife) as often as he mentions the "s" word (surge - although he had no idea when it even started)? After all , he's been known to mention both words quite frequently in public.

    August 9, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  15. Jon

    McCain does not want to talk about how many Veteran's bills he has voted against. He is not a friend to Vets you need to look past his BS.

    August 9, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  16. Ravi Perera

    Mr. McCain keep talking about the surge, but why did he support the war in the first place? The reasons given to support the was was not substantiated and thus it proves that McCain was gulable to Mr. Bush's properganda. Is this a good leadership quality? This flipflop issue is taken totally outof context! If you decided to buy a house, but dicided otherwise because you lost your job, did you flipfolp! Com on America, get your act to gether. You have screwed up enough already! That is why you are the joke of the world!!

    August 9, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  17. dtk

    Mr.McCain, if you think this is wining, then you don't know what you are talking about. may be you have tried your best for the last 26 years in Washington, but still trying? Give us a break move to the side.

    August 9, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  18. JD

    (to the humming of a church choir)......


    August 9, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  19. Maritza

    Mr. Obama deserves a vacation/family reunion. He is a smart man and can handle working some on the side too. He is smart, truthful and God will accompany him and his family throughout his stay in Hawaii and the rest of his life!!!

    August 9, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  20. JA Cook

    Is this the same McCain with such a bad voting record on behalf of vets?

    Or does McLiar have some other story?

    August 9, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  21. Phyllis/ PA

    Dear John McCain, You are doing much better in you speech lately. You sill are not the celebrity but this is not necessary if you just do not make too many gaffs. Stay on script. I only hope that you review the script and it is something that presents how you truly feel.

    I will be honest and say that I am a Hillary supporter. Unfortunately the party is about to nominate Obama. He may be ok in the future but no way at this time when our counry is faced with so many major problems.

    If Obama wins the nomination, YOU MUST WIN. From my little circle the only real problem you will have is with my female friends on abortion. If you could say that Obama is such a risk that you will promise not to do anything to overturn the right of ladies to have an abotion . Play politics if necessary and find a way to stay neutral on this subject.

    he country can not risk Obama at this time. Maybe later.

    August 9, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  22. yala

    when will America learn you're dealing with a HOT HEAD" Ameircans beware of McDrill Here and Now, Be prepared for war with Russia and Iran.

    August 9, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  23. Naomi

    Sen. Obama, the next President of United states, Period!

    August 9, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  24. Republican trash

    Again more lies, the scary thing is there are people who will believe anything, he is going after the ignorant crowd and hoping there's enough of them...this is scary to see a presidential hopeful flat out lie to get in the seat of the white house, lie after lie...what has our country come down to?

    August 9, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  25. Obama supporter:White, 60 year old woman

    Once again the old tired, rhetoric of John McCain: full of negativism without any positive explanations.

    August 9, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
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