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. Belle

    Sooo...the spin continues.....

    August 9, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  2. gl

    Talk about judgement – We are fighit the wrong war. Afghan needs more surge right now.

    August 9, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  3. DR. YES

    mcC sure does try to twist everything to what people want to hear.obama tells the truth.

    August 9, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  4. Louise from Canada

    I'm sorry I don't have anything positive to say about McCain. He seems pathetic as he should be talking about what is good about himself instead of most often attacking Obama. Perhaps he knows, like most informed people, that Obama is the GOOD person for the United States of America and he, McCain, is NOT. I watched McCain on The View the other day and while he may be a nice elderly man, his ideas are not good and he should not lead your country.
    I say to our American neighbours, look for the good, and that good is Barack Obama. I have had many discussions about your election and the Canadians I spoke with were unamimous in wanting Obama as the next President! So vote smart, Americans.

    August 9, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  5. Rod

    It is just amazing how McCain continues to attacks Obama on this old fashion way, I hope the American public do not fall for the same old politics of yesterday, it is time to wake up and request our politics to act like gown ups, and worry about his/hers own proposals and about his/hers own campaign, it is time to change the way politics work, and by the way I am an independent and have not made my choice yet.

    August 9, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  6. Don Hiller

    OK, so let me get this straight. BO was AGAINST it (before his opinion had any national significance); then voted FOR monetary support many times; UNTIL his NEGATIVE 'surge vote' which as he had probably surmised MIGHT work; but NOT in his political favor. Yup, I think I've got it ALL figured out now......

    August 9, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  7. kennywest

    Obama makes me think , McCain just makes me think about getting old.

    August 9, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  8. ML - California

    The two candidates are fighting between themselves too much and with the conventions just weeks away, what can the people expect? Is this election just aout those two? What about the country and what about Americans?

    August 9, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  9. Itoldyouso

    Mccain is just another Republican I don't want in office. Same old story – Iraq was a justified military action based on Bush/Cheney lies. Both should be impeached for treason. And McCain is either too stupid to understand Middle eastern politics or he is just another war monger.

    August 9, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  10. Stephen in Red Bluff

    McCain may have cast a rare vote to fund the surge (where is the poll that asks Americans how tired we are of hearing him use this word??), but what about the GI Bill? What about help for those veterans who have finished their active duty and now require longterm help and support??

    How can he present himself to disabled American veterans and walk away unscathed??

    August 9, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  11. James

    Thanks to Bush and McCain's strategy, we have lost over 4000 of our best and bravest young men and women in the Iraq war. Over 1000 of those occurred after the famous "surge" of John McCain. He knows how to make war, but does he know how to make peace?

    August 9, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  12. dnick

    That's right, McCain knows what Obama doesn't, that it doesn't matter if you're losing, you never stop, never stop. Don't stop when they don't want you there anymore. Don't stop when your economy goes to the toilet (and theirs has a surplus). Don't stop when you realize that you're fighting a generation of people who hate us because we fight people who hate us. Don't even stop when you find out that the whole reason you started was a sham. Because, as long as we're still fighting, the person who sent us there isn't wrong yet, and hasn't failed yet, and we still have enough time to elect someone who will keep going until we're fighting every country in the middle east and people don't remember what started it.

    August 9, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  13. laurence

    this man really is senile!

    August 9, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  14. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    John McCain supported the Iraq war but didn't support our troops on the ground when the Generals asked for better equipment and Rumsfeld denied them stating you go to war with what you have. John McCain said nothing and thousands of brave soldiers died whose lives could have been saved. John McCain didn't support the GI bill, the stimulous checks for veterans and he sat in Washington for 30 years in the midst of disgrace of Walter Reed Hospital for veterans. A POW of all of people should know the importance of supporting our troops and veterans and not expect support just because he is a POW.

    August 9, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  15. Eric in Calif.

    Who the hell is McCain kidding?? Support for the troops means not putting them in harm's way which is what he supported. Obama needs to focus in on that point and keep repeating it. Americans have shown themselves to be that stupid and short sighted.

    August 9, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  16. Patriot

    You want to ask him about his Judgement and decision making on sending us in unequiped and trained for the second war. The first War we won against Suddam's Army, now we are fighting a second War (Civil War) that no one was prepared for.HUMVEEs with light or no armor, vest, etc..Where was his Commander and Chief Judgment in supporting us!

    August 9, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  17. Maggie VT

    I am so sick of listening to this guy tell his lies. He has no credibilty left.

    August 9, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |

    georgia is pulling out of Irag because of the recent escalation of fighting with Russia. what does that tells mccain? there is so much going on in the world.go nuts in irag and watch the whole world boil in pots of negligence.

    August 9, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  19. lovable liberal

    If we're going to hear John McCain's theme of the day every day even when he repeats himself, shouldn't we hear Barack Obama's theme of the day even when he repeats himself?

    Why is this a story? It's not new.

    August 9, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  20. Ian MacIsaac

    *Sigh* Lie all you want, McCain. But I warn you, when you lose this election–and all signs point to an Obama presidency–you're not going to have much of a reputation left.

    August 9, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  21. edm

    mccain represents an administration,not Americans.guess sending troops to die needlessly based on personal reasoning shows the quality of a good commander in chief.Antique mentality!

    August 9, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  22. Stacie

    What the fails to mention is that the original troop funding bills were vetoed by the president. Obama only voted against Bushes version.

    Unfortunately for McCain, it is also in Americas best interest to get our troops home as soon as possible. Meaning that McCain's political interests are opposed to our national interests, while Obama's are in agreement.

    August 9, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  23. Will, NJ

    The point was to block funding so they would have to remove troops, it was McCain and his wardogs that kept the troops in Iraq while they were unprepared.

    August 9, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  24. Paul in Dallas

    OK, Senator McCain. We've got it now, it's clear. Even to people like me, from Texas. All you know and can talk about is war, war, war. You want perpetual wars. You're unhappy if there is no war. But this isn't about the war any more. There is no money. We, as a nation, have never been further in debt. Many Americans are having difficulty making a living with sky-rocketing energy costs and the state of the economy. You've lost touch. I don't think Cheney even likes war this much. Well maybe just a little bit more. It's time to man up and belly-up-to-the-bar and talk about how your vision is better than Senator Obama's. Many of of us aren't desiring a future with continuous, perpetual war. And for God's sake hire some new PR people. The nanny-nanny poo-poo ads about Obama are incomprehensibly foolish-the Anti-Christ? That's an all time low. I'm just scared how low you will go. But, no doubt, you have a few tricks up your sleeve.

    August 9, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  25. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    Obama was raised on Chicago Liberal Politics so they are still of the Post Viet Nam Era Democrats who would rather "Loss a War" rather than fight to win because it is not politically correct to kill your enemies. You think the rules aof warfare are too restrictive now, our Troops will being dying by greater numbers under democratic rules. Do not stick Clintons actions in there because if we had to fight a ground war in the Balkans we would have lost probably more than we have in Iraq and Afganistan together. Look at the rules of not being able to kill a tank from the air because it is next to a house or school! McCain wants to do what it takes to win on the battlefield, Obama doesn't. I have seen it in thier speeches on the wars.

    August 9, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
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