August 11th, 2008
05:30 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama moves closer to McCain on Russia stance

The conflict between Russia and Georgia is making waves on the presidential campaign trail.
The conflict between Russia and Georgia is making waves on the presidential campaign trail.

(CNN) – Barack Obama moved closer to John McCain’s tough position regarding the military conflict in Georgia on Monday, issuing a statement from Hawaii scolding Russia for the intensifying violence in the conflict.

“No matter how this conflict started, Russia has escalated it well beyond the dispute over South Ossetia and invaded another country,” Obama said in a statement distributed by his campaign. “Russia has escalated its military campaign through strategic bombing and the movement of its ground forces into the heart of Georgia. There is no possible justification for these attacks.”

The comments marked a departure from Obama’s initial statement on the conflict, released Friday, which avoided chiding Russia directly and urged restraint from both nations. He released a sterner statement the following day condemning Russian aggression.

Today, he focused his criticism squarely on the Kremlin, a posture first taken by McCain four days ago, as the conflict began.

Obama urged Russia to agree to a cease-fire and withdraw all troops from Georgian territory, and called for a non-Russian international peacekeeping force, along with a U.N. resolution rejecting Moscow’s actions – all demands put forth by McCain last week.

Still, the Democrat’s statement featured a note of optimism about Russian-U.S. relations: “Let me be clear: we seek a future of cooperative engagement with the Russian government, and friendship with the Russian people,” Obama said in the statement.

“We want Russia to play its rightful role as a great nation - but with that role comes the responsibility to act as a force for progress in this new century, not regression to the conflicts of the past.”

Meanwhile, on the campaign trail in Pennsylvania, McCain amplified his rhetoric against Russia in a Monday morning statement to reporters.

“Russian President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin must understand the severe, long-term negative consequences that their government’s actions will have for Russia’s relationship with the U.S. and Europe,” McCain said.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (96 Responses)
  1. Kevin,FL

    WWIII is around the bend!

    August 11, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  2. I'm In Charge Here at the White House.

    We only have one President of the United States and it isn't John McCain or Barack Obama.

    Neither of them should be getting in the middle of a developing situation. Commenting on this is far different than commenting on Iraq or Afghanistan where we are already committed and our soldiers are dying.

    This is no time for meddling / mix signals about what the America governments commitments are from two people that don't have the power or authority to deploy the the BOY SCOUTS.

    McCain spoke on the situation of Friday ... ok ... then Saturday ... then Sunday ... now Monday. At this point, STFU. You are not the President.
    - – - – - - – - – - – -

    If were weren't bogged down in Iraq, we might have the troop strength to respond in Georgia. Right now, the Russians don't worry about us because we can't respond militarily with conventional troops in a timely manner. If Barack's approach had been taken, we'd have the troops.

    If Bush had better relations with other world leaders, he might have been successful getting Georgia into NATO. That would have provided a deterent to Russia because, within NATO, an attack on 1 is an attack on all. Unfortunately, George Bush didn't have the diplomatic juice to get this done. I doubt that McCain would either.

    August 11, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  3. Griff

    That Guy's voice is Famous for being an Idiot... I suggest you find a way to disguise your Garbage Mr. Your voice is Iminent..............

    August 11, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  4. Jaun

    Nothing can be written in stone...not even how you will run the country...so we have to give the Presidential candidate the oppertunity to be flexible and make changes as is necessary. NOT BY THE TIME HE SAYS SOMETHING NOW WE HOLD IT UP LIKE A BANNER...WAITING FOR THE OPPERTUNITY TO POUNCE...HE IS NOT EVEN THE PRESIDENT YET.

    August 11, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  5. Tom

    I'm shocked (sarcasm). John McCain heard about the aggression, made a decision and went after Russia. Barack Obama (vacationing in Hawaii) received briefings for a couple days, then came out with a "position statement" and then promptly started moving closer to where McCain has been for days. Who do YOU want as your President? Obama is acting like a junior senator.......oh wait......that's because he IS a junior senator.

    August 11, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  6. Lesley

    After the debates showing McCain stumbling with names, facts, and his attitude and temperament being televised prime time, let's all talk about this again, shall we?

    August 11, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  7. Dan, TX

    I want to know what BUSH is doing. McCain and Obama can do nothing.

    Obama and McCain have been on the same page on this since the beginning. The only difference is that McCain is stupid enough to suggest we alienate the Russians. If Obama were president, we'd have 50,000 troops available to move into Georgia and stop this now.

    August 11, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  8. Obama Supporter VA

    GET REAL PEOPLE!
    1. THE QUICK WITHOUT FULLY UNDERSTANDING THE PICTURE MCWAR, JUST CAME OFF WITH WHAT HE THOUGHT EVERYONE WANTED TO HEAR. POLITICALLY......
    2. BOTTOM LINE, RUSSIA (PUTIN) ONLY FOLLOWED WHAT HIS 'SOUL BROTHER' BUSH DID IN IRAQ.

    WHAT BUSH HAS DONE IS MADE OUR COUNTRY NOT BE IN A POSITION TO BE THE PEACE KEEPERS IN THE WORLD. ALL BUSH AND MCCAIN KNOW IS WAR. SEND YOUNG PEOPLE TO FIGHT.

    OBAMA IS RIGHT TO SIT BACK AND SEE WHAT THE REAL SITUATION IS AND GET WITH LEADERS IN THAT REGION AND FORM COALITIONS. YOU CAN'T JUST CONDEMN WITH RHETORIC AND NOT EXPECT PEOPLE TO REACT AS RUSSIA IS DOING.

    REMEMBER, BUSH AND THE 'WITH US OR AGAINST US STATEMENTS' ... THE REST OF THE WORLD SAID GO IT ALONE IN IRAQ.,

    BARACK IS SMART ENOUGH NOT TO START SPEAKING RHETORIC BEFORE UNDERSTANDING THE SITUATION.

    August 11, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  9. Larry Buchas

    Russia gained their leverage thanks to Bush's Iraq blunder. We lost support from our allies and whatever coalition was gathered. Bush has restarted the Cold War and McBush has threatened to escalate it. Maybe Putin is attempting to remake the Soviet Union? Did they plan this at the start of the Olympic Games? And we're also in the nuclear age.

    Now we cannot afford another war and even Afghanistan remains a challenge. Our volunteer army has been stretched to its limits.

    Odds are McBush will bring back the draft. These are tough times indeed.

    August 11, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  10. proud army and navy mom

    Obama once again has no position so what does he do, he says what McCain says. I bet he is on the phone with Ploufe and Axlerod screaming send my Teleprompter to Hawaii ASAP, where are my 200 foreign experts, this question wasnt on the quiz today

    HAHAHA

    August 11, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  11. Tjaye in LA

    I don't get it. First he is accused of being arrogant for acting "too Presidential" and now folks are accusing him of not being Presidential because his answer was not direct and hard enough like a President's should be.

    August 11, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  12. Bush is SOFT

    Bush is soft. He wont start anything with a super power. Bush is just a bully. He fought with Iraq wants to start with Iran but will run from North Korea and now run from Russia. Who is the softy here.

    August 11, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  13. Obama Supporter VA

    CAN YOU SAY.,..
    RUSSIA, CHINA, IRAN AND KOREA AGAINST THE REST OF THE WORLD...BECAUSE OF BUSH AND CHENEY'S IGNORANT COWBOY FOREIGN POLICIES.

    MCCAIN IS JUST TRYING USE THE PLIGHT OF GEORGIA FOR POLITICAL GAIN. HE READ EVERYTHING FOR WIKAPEDIA...

    IGNORANT AND OLD GRAY HEAD MEN SENDING OUR YOUNG MEN TO FIGHT WARS BECAUSE OF THEIR COCKINESS.

    August 11, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  14. Doesn't like Kool-aid

    Besides McCain thinks Russia is bombing Atlanta, Georgia.--–
    -------------------------------
    You are a genius!
    You Obamaphiles have nothing. Gimmicks for energy, gimmicks for economy, scared when something bad might happen.
    You are worried about someone's appearance or that someone mispronounces a word. Get real. This is real stuff we are dealing with. We don't need Peter Pan or a figment of our imagination running the show.

    August 11, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  15. jacq

    Some people seem to forget that America's standing in the world is not that great. The WAR HAWKS are always out there first. Did you notice the McCain was out of the block with a hard line, the OFFICIAL PRESIDENT hadn't even weighed in yet. Worse yet McCain plagerizes his speech from Wicopedia. Who knows, Pres Bush may have said something negative to Putin on opening night at the Olympics for him to basically tell Bush to tend to his business. But the BIG secret is " thars OIL , OIL, OIL at stake".

    August 11, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  16. kim hussein taylor portland, oregon

    if the dems dont unite soon, the hillary people are going to send mccain straight to the white house. and that would be DISASTROUS!!!!

    i used to respect hillary. so far i havent heard her come out very strongly to get her supporters to come back to reality. on the other hand, we know who owns the american media so it wouldnt surprise me if they just didnt run it when she spoke.

    we KNOW for a fact that the repugs are liars and cheaters, and that's the ONLY way they can win. i know some seriosuly hard-core bushies and they are voting for obama. i think all this "Close race" stuff is nonsense. besides, all the recent polls say obama by 6-12 points. only a nut would vote for mccain, for 4 more years of this nightmare.

    August 11, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  17. proud army and navy mom

    *********This just in, Obama will be sending his teleprompter to Moscow for negotiations with Putin. Obama, has also said he will supply gum drops to use instead of bullets and unicorns will be used in place of Air Craft. Code Pink has just given Obama the green light**************

    August 11, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  18. michelle

    Please dont tell me americans are going to vote these morons(republicans) back in!!
    what a HYPOCRITE Bush is lol *Do not invade the sovereignty of another country*!!!!!!!!
    News Flash Bush : You did just THAT by invading the soveriegn country of Iraq and thought nothing of it
    Your credibility or opinion is NIL
    What are you going to do may I ask ,send your military after them
    OHH…. those noble men and women are fighting in the country YOU invaded with not even enough troops to fight the real war… You know … in Afghanistan!!

    August 11, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  19. Misha

    What's happening in Georgia is of no business to AMERICA. Its of no BUSINESS TO MCCAIN NOR OBAMA. IT'S A BUSINESS OF THE RUSSIANS. AMERICANS SHOULD EVACUATE ALL AMERICAN OFFICIALS AND CITIZENS IN DANGER. THATS IT! whats happening in GEORGIA, is none of AMERICA'S business. America has enough problems at home. so America , please let's mind our business. do u have gas money? I don't think so.

    August 11, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  20. Griff

    The way the Little-Brain thinks... Europe is twice as big as the USA. Walk away from this,and you will become what Europe said in 1942...
    'You only arrive for the Spoils'.... They never forgave you. Now you choose to prove, your all they said you were.. Jonhny-come-lately...

    August 11, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  21. Frank D

    If McSurge were president, US would probably have started war in Georgia with Russia before the UN comes up with a resolution on this crisis. The same old single-handed approach that have diminished American image across the board, talking tough is not actually a sign of strength. Though we live in a dangerous world, the US must be smart in its dealings to foster a tough approach to resolve this kind of crisis without rushing headlong into war. The way to deal with a tyrant is not by diving into the tactics the tyrant expects you would use. The test of the 21st century is for the US to get a handle on this kind of issue and to be able to resolve it speedily anytime it rears it ugly head. With Georgia, the Russians are testing US and the world to see how they would respond; this could set a precedent for the years ahead. Moreover, they know that Bush has lost a lot of credibility worldwide, so it is better for them to act now on Georgia before a new US president takes office. They have been looking for every opportunity to do what the are doing now and fortunately, they got it during this Olympic games.

    August 11, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  22. Indiana Bob

    Sure sounds like McCain has the better judgement. He is not afraid to make a decision. Obama has to wait and see what the polls say, or what McCain says, before taking a stance.

    August 11, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  23. TonyinKentucky

    McCain and friends trying to start WWIII and/or export some jobs.

    Why are you all so keen on less jobs and more wars?

    Obama has it EXACTLY right, say as little as can be said until you know what the heck is going on and where the world stands. There's no point in saber rattling off the bat.

    Tough talk with the Russians will quickly make you a paper lion as we have little to offer as far as sticks to motivate them. You get out her with diarrhea mouth that you can't back up and next thing you know you're a joke. Make no threats against the Russkies that you are not prepared to back up.
    McCain is running on throwing Russia and China out of the G8, do you think that puts them in the frame of mind to negotiate?

    Hawks are dangerous!

    August 11, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  24. The Patriot

    Flip Flop, Flip Flop, Flip Flop.

    But why am I not surprised??? Go Figure.

    Substance over Empty Suit.

    McCain 08

    August 11, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  25. Ex-Obama Democrat for McCain

    This is why I now back McCain....the fact that Obama is not only copying McCain's Ads, but is now copying McCain's stance on both off-shore drilling and Russia just confirms McCain is the TRUE leader in this race....Obama needs to go back to the Senate for about 10 more years THEN maybe he'll have some ideas of his own and truely be qualified for the job.
    John Framingham MA

    August 11, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
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