August 10th, 2008
09:28 AM ET
10 years ago

McCain, Obama both speak with Georgian president

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili spoke with both U.S. presidential candidates on Saturday.

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili spoke with both U.S. presidential candidates on Saturday.

(CNN) - John McCain and Barack Obama both spoke to Georgia's president Saturday and continued to call for an end to Russia's bombing of the former Soviet republic.

Both candidates pressed for recognition of Georgia's sovereignty pushed for diplomacy in the conflict.

"For many years, I have warned against Russian actions that undermine the sovereignty of its neighbors," said McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, on Saturday. "Unfortunately, we have seen in recent days Russia demonstrate that these concerns were well-founded."

Obama also condemned "the violation of Georgia's sovereignty" and called for "an immediate ceasefire."

"Russia must stop its bombing campaign, cease flights of Russian aircraft in Georgian airspace, and withdraw its ground forces from Georgia," Obama said.

McCain said he has spoken to Georgian President Saakashvili twice since the conflict began. "It is clear the situation is dire ... I again call on the government of Russia to immediately and unconditionally withdraw its forces from the territory of Georgia."

He called the conflict a "threat to Euro-Atlantic security," and supported attempts by Western powers - including the United States, the European Union, and NATO - to broker a ceasefire.

Obama is receiving breifings om the situation while on vacation in Hawaii. He also spoke with Saakashvili, and in a statement afterwards direct talks between Russia and Georgia are necessary.

"Diplomats at the highest levels from the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations must become directly involved in mediating this military conflict and beginning a process to resolve the political disputes over the territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia," he said. "A genuinely neutral mediator - not the Russian government - must begin a process of negotiations immediately."

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (134 Responses)
  1. JIM

    Why would Obama need updates while on vacation. He's not the President but in trying to act like it, is just getting in the way of President Bush. Both candidates need to take a back seat to interfering with a unified voice from Bush; he is the commander in chief.

    August 10, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  2. Chicago Red

    CNN) – John McCain and Barack Obama both spoke to Georgia's president Saturday and continued to call for an end to Russia's bombing of the former Soviet republic. President Bush is Incharge and should be respected and making the calls !!!


    August 10, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  3. The Clear Thinking Independent

    There is currently one president of the United States and his name is neither John McCain or Barack Obama.

    I don't have much confidence in George Bush but he is the CHIEF EXECUTIVE ... he holds the OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENCY of the United States and I do have confidence in that institution, combined with our counstituional system.

    Obama and McCain will recieve a watered-down-version of the foriegn affairs reports that Bush gets on this conflict. However, neither of these two "candidates" should be acting like they are the president and be injecting themselves into the tactical execution of this conflict or it's resolution.

    John McCain can properly claim he has held an general "anti-Russian" stance. He can not claim he has provided any pro-active foreign policy stances or guidance about Georgia or the pre-existing tensions.

    The Russian's apparently fear Georgia becoming more closely aligned with the west, specifically NATO. We should probably further than alignment in the diplomacy that has to follow. It could put a damper on future aggression by Russia.

    We can not achieve this though with a belligerent tone. Although the circumstances are not exactly the same, we should expect Russia to sort of view in the same manner we viewed the USSR's influence on Cuba in the 50's & 60's. Our beliegerence will only frighten them. We don't need to frighten them to bring Georgia into NATO.

    August 10, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  4. Snerdboy says

    I laugh at you old man from town.

    August 10, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  5. Jimmy P

    The West should take note of how Russia deals with such situations. There is no such thing as proportional response when it comes to warfare. Whether they were right or wrong for going in to Gerogia, they did it in the correct manner. Because of proportional response, we may be in Iraq 10 years, if not longer. The West is a paper tiger, and non-western nations are fully aware of this. In addition, it's nice to see how we back up our allies! Abolish the U.N.!!!!

    August 10, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  6. Karen-phoenix

    Read this again! Obama is for diplomacy. A neutral mediator!!! McCain just condems Russia with solution. McCain LIKES war!! WE can not justify anymore wars!!!!!!! Go Obama! This is a BIG difference between the two men. I choose Peace and diplomacy. McCain will get our kids into a draft no matter what and he is NOT getting my grandchildren!!

    August 10, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  7. gary

    obamma and mcbush are such cowardly weasels. russia is defending themselves against georgian repression of the sout oessilan people. you weasels among weasels. this country is so full of cowards it digusts me to no end.

    August 10, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  8. Upon Further Review

    Looks like a case of "'monkey see monkey do".they might be saying ,"If the USA can go around and be a bully ,why cant we?We might get mad too, if say, Florida broke away from the Union and joined Cuba,we wouldnt be real happy either.

    August 10, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  9. jimmy


    August 10, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  10. VON BISMARK,Vienna.

    mcSHAME ,suddenly territorial sovereignty is now important to Georgia but not Iraq? Can you tell the world why Russia should withdraw from Georgia but not the USA from Iraq.Are you different from you clon Bush? The Russian have at least a justification.The US? Innoncents in Iraq?


    August 10, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  11. J.C.

    It's easier to talk with Georgian President than Putin, who is obviously in charge.

    Which of the two will be the better candidate to handle such conflicts any time? Either will probably do a good job.

    What I don't understand is why Obama doesn't want to debate McCain if he is so smart and effective with words. How much longer do we have to wait for a debate? The longer he waits, the less he can show us – undecided.

    August 10, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  12. Peter

    oh great, if McWar is president Russia is going to be our enemy #1

    August 10, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  13. JK Ashburn, VA

    How narcissistic can this get? The guy is literally fighting to keep his country alive and the two dufuses running for president bug him with nothing more than a useless audio-photo op. I am sure Putin is wetting his pants with worry about Obama's strong words. Oh brother!

    August 10, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  14. El Kababa

    Russia is still ruled by Soviet trained thinkers. The Russians are tough and merciless. They are a very intimidating force in this world and they are only going to become stronger as the rebuild their economy. The Russian social model, inherited from the days of the Czars, is to have a very small very powerful very wealthy elite governing a nation of very poor, powerless, serfs.

    America is powerless to deal with new problems because our military is stretched to the breaking point, their equipment is barely sufficient to serve the demands of the occupation in Iraq, the budget is hopelessly in the red, and the national credit cards (the national debt) are maxed out – thanks to the Conservative leadership most of us voted for so many times.

    Eastern powers – Russia, China, S. Korea, and India are on the rise. The United States is on the decline – again thanks to Conservative Leaders and naive Conservative voters.

    In short, Russia can do as it pleases.

    August 10, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  15. Watching from the sidelines

    cool, what shall we do McMoron ?
    Bomb Russia ? well, u know Russia aint no Iraq and most probably, the world will cease to exist.

    August 10, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  16. duhhhh

    did McCain also speak to the German President Putin?

    August 10, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  17. The Observer

    = = = So, Bush wants Russia to stop the bombing of a break-away country/state or province. hmmmmm. What a Jo, Jo. When he invaded the sovereign Iraq and starting an illegal war, does “Shock and Awe” sound familiar?

    August 10, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  18. MLH

    Watching CNN on Friday night, one would have thought that the only newsworthy item was a sad little man's extra marital affair. I am heartened to think that both presidential candidates appear to have spent more time on the situation in Europe than on the issue of John Edwards.

    August 10, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  19. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Perhaps President Saakashvili can get McBush to tell us when Cindy McBush will release her tax statements and how McBush got into flight school so quickly ahead of many more qualified graduates?

    August 10, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  20. John Howell

    As a military officer I am definitely interested in a country protecting its borders and promoting the power of NATO. My concern is this: Why isn't anyone speaking about the fact that Georgia made an artillery strike on a civilian neighborhood? Even if there were Russians and separatists present in the disputed sector shooting at Georgians, isn't using artillery and shelling a civilian area an abomination? Match violent force with like violent force proportionate to the threat, type and degree.
    I disagreed with the disportionate Russian response and also disagree with the disportionate initial Georgian response that started the entire incident. No goverment has the right to murder its citizens. I am aware of the racist Georgian Campaign "Georgia for Georgians" and want to know why no one is discussing the event that may draw the United States into a world war. This first heavy strike in a civilian area is not an action that any NATO country would attempt. What about the civilians that were killed? Does anyone care about them? Where is the outrage or is this just politics as usual? Russia needs to stop meddling in the affairs of sovereign countries and Georgia needs to stop murdering its citizens and promulgating racist policies.
    CPT United States Army

    August 10, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  21. Mario, Streamwood IL

    I hope the pacifists would see how important it is to have a strong military force, to be able to defend and deter against aggressors.

    i also hope that they would learn that just because they believe in peace does not mean any aggressors will respect their views.

    since adam and eve, there has always been aggression. and it's always been the weak and the meek who are conquered, killed, and raped.

    as we speak, there is another terrorist, dictator, criminal, or devil being born. it does not have to be a lot of evil people...just one hitler, one stalin, one osama...charismatic enough to lead his/her followers to such atrocities as to wreak havoc and bring death upon thousands.

    history will repeat itself for as long as mankind exists.

    August 10, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  22. Rocky

    I agree with both candidates stance on this but I think they need to remember they are not the President.

    August 10, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  23. bob

    i think both MCCain and Obama are very naive if they think they can talk to Russia like a small country i think they have to be very care full not to interfere with any hard word or confront Russia wrongly I think this is not our business to tell the other world leaders how to taking care of they on things i want them to back off because i didn't want to see any American forces fighting in this war let's take care our own business

    August 10, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  24. Cherie

    None of this would have happened if the USA(George Bush) had not taken the law into his own hands, invaded a country and taken his eye off the international theater. He has made us look like fools. Now the proof is here in Suskinds book. It has also been verified by Conservative papers. We have to regain intl standing again and Obama clearly has the ability to interact as a diplomat. Right now McCain can only use his cell phone per permission of the campaign. They found out he has no discipline-do we want to babysit another president that can do even more harm.

    August 10, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  25. Mr Republican

    Hopefully we will take our own advice and come home from Iraq. Too bad the aticle doesn't mention the oil/gas pipeline that runs through this territory. This is info that was conviently left out for some reason.

    August 10, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
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