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. Veteran for Obama

    McCain has horrible marks with numerous veterans groups and Obama has good marks. What does that tell you?

    McCain is a hypocrite.

    August 9, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  2. Tica

    Sen. McCain spends so much time talking about Obama that I'm beginning to wonder if he's compaigning for him!

    August 9, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  3. Veteran for Obama

    McCain = Bush with white hair

    McCain may be a military veteran but he greatly exaggerates his accomplishments. He is no better than the 4200 plus soldiers who have been killed in Iraq and sacrificed their life at the expense of McCain and Bush and their manipulation of facts in order to go to war. At least McCain survived and is able to walk around and tell lies and dirty jokes like he has been doing. He is sick.

    August 9, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  4. suzyku

    mcbush has been absolutely WRONG, WRONG, WRONG on the Iraq war, the Afghanistan war and everything else that comes out of his mouth. If the Vets believe him they have a problem, a big problem. He voted against the GI bill, he's NOT to be trusted by them or anyone else in this country.

    August 9, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  5. Phil Newton, Murphy, OREGON

    Get this, Senator McCain: no matter what happens in Iraq, it was a war for oil built on lies. Lies. Lies.

    Thousands dead, because the GOP president and GOP Congress (and YOU, my friend) started a war for oil based on lies.

    Lies, my friend.

    Live with THAT.

    August 9, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  6. Michael

    Was Republican Senator Chuck Hagel also trying to "legislate failure" in Iraq? This shallow rhetoric is not helpful to our country.

    August 9, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  7. Don Martin

    "Skewers" is biased; it says McCain is correct, which he isn't. And judgment has no "e." The headline writer would have learned this if that writer had read the story.

    August 9, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  8. Bob Leland

    Mc Cain is all for sacrificing American's lives for as long as it takes. This macho attitude is what got us into the Iraq mess. We need to get on with or lives. Let them duke it out.

    August 9, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  9. Pete from Las Vegas

    Many TRUE AMERICAN VETERANS have spoken out against McCain and his unwillingness to REALLY support the troops. I have heard many say that McCain is a phony when it comes to helping the troops. They go on to say that McCain is more concerned about big business and lobbyists. His visit to this state has had little coverage and many are waiting for him to leave.

    August 9, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  10. Chipster

    Sen. McCain shouldn't talk about judgment since his positions have been completely reversed over the last 4 years. Misrepresenting Sen. Obama's record won't win many points with voters who know that Sen. McCain has voted against benefits for veterans. Sen. McCain's post high school education was paid with the GI Bill but he voted against reinstating that benefit for todays veterans. He refused to support health care benefits for National Guard members returning from Iraq with the same treatment as other Iraq War veterans. Overall McCain's failure to support our veterans is disgraceful.

    August 9, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  11. gl

    Why is McShame telling all these lies about Obama. This man is sick.

    August 9, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  12. Mike

    Awfully hypocritical considering John McCain skipped close to a dozen votes on Iraq, and on at least another 10 occasions, he voted against arming and equipping the troops, providing adequate rest for the troops between deployments and for health care or other benefits for veterans.

    Why does John McCain hate the military?

    August 9, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  13. gl

    McShame have no economy plans for us Americas that why McShame continue to talk about an a poplur war. It have nothing to offer the America people by WAR AND SURGE!

    August 9, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  14. Democrat for John McCain

    This true that Barack is kid and he has no experience. We cannot trust his judgment. Sorry.

    August 9, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  15. CAW in MD

    Yeah boy, that Obama sure is a girlie-man. He didn't think the surge would work, and then - the gall! - he voted not to fund something he didn't think would work.

    Wow, that's just outside the pale - voting your beliefs.

    And for the folks who think that shows Obama has bad judgement - he was exactly right when he said that the surge appears to have helped, but a) there was other stuff going on before the surge that arguably had as much of an effect if not more, and b) nobody knows where we'd be if we'd tried his strategy.

    I can't believe Americans are falling for this tripe from McCain...

    August 9, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  16. JED

    Everytime I read an article or listen to McCain, I keep asking myself , is he is fit to be President of the USA? Is he fit to lead? How would he handle the Senate? This has nothing to do with age, just think Reagan.

    August 9, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  17. Valentin Hernandez

    McCain voted against senator Jim Webb's GI bill then with the help of George W. Bush took credit for it. Later when confronted by a Vietnam veteran about his dismal record on veterans' issues, he did the beltway two-step, shamelessly slammed the honorable Senator Webb and continued to lie about his support from veteran organizations. It does not surprise me that he would lie to my fellow veterans. What does surprise me is that any veteran would vote for him.

    August 9, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  18. FL4Obama

    Many Americans understand Obama's judgment has been correct on Iraq from the start.

    There is another way to look at McCain's misguided claim. In retrospect, McCain chose a path of failure and retreat for America over the path of success and victory from the original mission in Afghanistan.

    August 9, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  19. gl

    McCain is Insance! All this sick man can talk about is a war that will should not have been fighit in the first place. More on already McShame!

    August 9, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |


    August 9, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  21. Gary Preston, Annandale, VA

    Here's the problem. As a political opportunitst, noi one stands ahead of Sen McCain. Senator Obama has been absolutely corret on every vote, to include the new Gi Education Bill and the timetable for withdrawalk from Iraq. What really disappoint me, as a military veteran with over 25 years of service and two sons in Iraq, is that sen McCain is such a pathetic model for military and American citizens, I was an avid supporter of Sen McCain in 2000. I don't even recognize this facsimile of a McCain that is running for president today. And you be the judge. Do we need tyhe rest of the world lining us and looking up to us, or do we just continue to spit in the faces and go it alone. Eventudally, however, it won't merely be on the shoulders of our best, the brave men and women of the armed forces, eventually it will affect all of us. It's probably time to institute a national draft so that WE and ALL in it together!

    August 9, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  22. Hollis

    I'm afraid Mr McCain has become one tired, pitiful old man....

    August 9, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  23. Patriot

    How Many votes has McCain missed,
    He didn't support the GI Bill this time and how many other times has he voted against GI bills. He, Bush, and Former Defense Secretary were aginst our pay increases everytime, but it was the other house and senate congressmen and women that supported us! Someone ask him about that

    August 9, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  24. Tennisguypitt

    You need to stop lying McBush. Barack has been in favor of troop benefits, didn't you veto the GI bill?

    Obama '08

    August 9, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  25. braggingrights

    First, Mcain should explain why they wedged war on false premises. There is no way someone can win un justified war! Mcain should remember that over we have lost over 4000 souls of brave men and women. In addittion hes voted against every bill to help the ordinary veterans who were not lucky to have been born in the Admiral family. Mcain is the greatest looser in the 21st century no offence but we dont need yester war mongering ideas. So please just shut up Mcain or lead a decent campaign. In addition can you expalin to the American public whether Iraq war was just a war or just war?

    August 9, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
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