August 20th, 2008
07:00 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama advisors paint McCain more eager for war than Bush

(CNN) – Top Obama foreign policy advisors Susan Rice and Richard Clarke said Wednesday that John McCain had a tendency to “shoot first and ask questions later” – accusing him of “itching for war” with Iran and Syria, and alleging that he pushed for U.S. military involvement in Iraq long before the Bush administration did.

The comments came after John McCain said Wednesday that he had not been questioning Barack Obama’s patriotism, as the Democrat’s campaign had charged, but his judgment. “Senator Obama has made it clear that he values withdrawal from Iraq above victory in Iraq, even today with victory in sight,” McCain said on the campaign trail in New Mexico. “Over and over again, he has advocated unconditional withdrawal – regardless of the facts on the ground.”

Rice shot back on a conference call with reporters that McCain was in fact attacking Obama’s integrity and patriotism with “Karl Rove ‘say anything, do anything’ gutter politics.”

She called McCain’s remarks “the height of hypocrisy” since “McCain has a long track record of supporting a reckless and extreme foreign policy. His tendency is to shoot first and ask questions later.”

Listen: Rice and Clarke slam McCain

Former White House counterterrorism chief Clarke accused McCain of calling for war in Iraq before 9/11, “even before the beginning,” saying McCain and his “extreme neo-conservative” advisors are one of the main reasons the administration invaded the Iraq.

Clarke added that McCain is arguing that the surge is “responsible for everything that has gone well in Iraq” but that overall judgment on Iraq was wrong.

“The greatest tests of national security judgment in the last decade have been what do you do about Iraq and what do you do about Afghanistan? And John McCain failed both of those two tests, the two most critical tests of national security judgment in the last decade.”

McCain’s campaign responded to the call repeating his words from earlier that Obama is pushing for withdrawal in Iarq “with victory in sight” and criticized Obama for voting against troop funding.

“Barack Obama’s own campaign is the only one talking about his patriotism,” spokesman Tucker Bounds wrote in an e-mail to reporters. “Criticizing these positions isn’t a question of Barack Obama’s patriotism, it’s a question of his judgment.”

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (234 Responses)
  1. MikeNJ

    First of all Betty...your an Idiot. Second of all has anyone seen whats going in in Georgia. Not the state for you liberals, the country. So NObama would go have a cup of tea with Putin to settle it. One lump or two. No Way he can lead this country.

    August 20, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  2. bruja

    To No Obama: Nobody wants to kill Americans. JUST STAY IN AMERICA! Do NOT go to Irak or Rossija... Stay home and fix your problems.
    BTW: The Russians d'ont like you in Poland. Can you blame them?
    Americans did not like the Russians in Cuba, remember????

    August 20, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  3. chas alabama

    How will McCain pay for a new draft? Higher taxes of course.

    August 20, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  4. Mario

    McSame is the same McSame for many years nothing in the head

    August 20, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  5. Joe Kiloz

    O B A M A-A D V I S O R S--D E S P E R A T E--S H I P-–

    W I T H O U T-–R U D D E R--

    H I L L A R Y--T O L D -– U S--W E --C H O O S E-–N O T ---

    T O-–L I S T E N

    O B A M A–C H I C A G O-S T Y L E–P O L I T I C S-–D O N T -W O RK

    August 20, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  6. Maritza

    Obama say bye, bye to all your little points one by one.... More Town Hall meetings , More debates.

    August 20, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  7. RB

    Of course he's more eager for war! Gotta win one before he drops dead!! Look out Americans with kids. If he wins, you can start planning for your kids to go to war (he'll reinstate the draft). But, a child is a small price to pay to keep the black...oops 50% white....guy out of office.

    August 20, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  8. Phil Newton Murphy, Oregon


    Yeah. I feel safe.

    OBAMA 08

    August 20, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  9. SH

    Way to go show this sleezy campaign these REPUB are running and go even harder after this cheater and so called someone sitting in cone of silence and than telling he was on the way to faith forum but he never listened to the questions. Liar, cheater on his wife and saying anything to win election. Please show his link to Keating 5 and flip flopp.

    WAy to go keep it going.

    August 20, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  10. Biffington, Biff

    I am currently living in Arizona, and we, here have always known that McCain is, and has always been THE BIGGEST WAR MONGER IN CONGRESS !!

    August 20, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  11. PG

    What comes to mind when one mentions Panamanian McCain?


    People with brains this fraud is dangerous, very dangerous for America!

    August 20, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  12. chris

    i trust McCain more than Obama now. i don't think i'm the only Dem. who changed my mind. Hillary or McCain.

    August 20, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  13. janette

    Go McCain. We like you, Cindy McCain.

    August 20, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  14. Obama For President

    War is always the answer if you listen to McCain's speeches. He does not bring any real solutions just more war and how he can win a war. His supporters are delusional; they are attacking Obama for being pro-choice and pushing pro-life as a measure of morals and decency but .......If life is so sacred ...Why do we go to war where thousands of people are killed (innocents as well as the guilty). Where is the outrage for these peoples lives? Why do the McCain supporters want to continue the invasion of Iraq and yet criticize Russia for invading Georgia? Everyone of my conservative friends cannot answer these questions because they don't have a good enough answer. The Obama team should continue to hammer this point and those who want to listen will. But I'm afraid many will not because they would rather have an incompetent white man occupy the white house then an intelligent black man.

    August 20, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  15. Bill, Covington


    You are so right. This election is not about Obama, it's about me , my life, my children,geand children,great grand children, my country. Sixty four years ago I enlisted in the USMC and wound up on Okinawa defending this notion against the Imperial Japanese and protect this country for you. The least you could do is respect those of us who gave you your freedom and not turn the country over to this terrorist loving socialist from Chicago.

    August 20, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  16. J.T. Jackson in Michigan

    The flawed judgement of the republicans has cost us dearly!! This stupid false war has cost us billions if not trillions of dollars and caused our economy to crumble!! He can say Obama has bad judgement and would rather lose the war rather then win but, that sounds so stupid because it is the bad judgement of McCain that has us in this war to begin with.
    Common sense says McCain has the bad judgement and Obama had the better judgement to stand up and say NO to the war from the beginning. McCain could care less about Americans suffering with this bad economy he is rich and does not feel the pain. All he cares about is winning the war we are fighting on a line of credit funded by China.

    OBAMA 2008 and 2012

    August 20, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  17. Linda31

    Good! I hope they continue to slam him!!!!! McCain is not concern about us, only his ambition.

    August 20, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |

    Being a "senior" this election is about my children and their children.
    I have a period of time on this earth that I can care for myself in. I love this country and served in the military honorably. I worked my entire life
    to better the chances for my children knowing that they will do the same for theirs.

    We have been on the wrong path for almost eight years... the damage done to our country is inconceviable and from this administration an adject failure to be truthful.... aren't there laws about self incrimination.

    I, my children and my grandchildren ask each and every thinking American voter to please help take this country in a new and better direction. The world is looking for a new and honest leader to turn the United States of America back into the country it once was.

    Thank you,

    Yup its that old-retired white man from Ma.


    August 20, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |





    August 20, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  20. Scott Tucson

    Obama can't speak a sentence without tripping over his tongue and he's going to go eyeball to eyeball with the Russians, Iranians and other US foes and expect to get things done? He's way out of his league!

    August 20, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  21. Biffington, Biff

    Just noting...

    McCain raised $26 mil in July but SPENT $31 in July...

    Typical republican accounting......

    and oh yeah... he is STILL behind.

    nice investment.

    August 20, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  22. FlaDem

    I believe in solving problems through diplomacy. Obama is respected overseas, and has the ability to resolve any issue through negotiation. I believe he cares deeply about our young people, and would only put them in harms way as a LAST resort. McCain would put them in harms way as a FIRST choice. We need time to heal from the Iraq war, only Obama can lead us in this new era. GO BABA!!!!

    August 20, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  23. RRE

    Yea,,, how about Obama's wife, militant, marxist Michelle....she is a war monger!!!!!!

    August 20, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  24. RJ, CA

    Obama's starting to grasp at straws! Good! Means he's in trouble - no big surprise. Eventually the bubble of hype had to burst!

    August 20, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  25. McCain=the draft

    Will you still support McCain when you, or your sons and daughters are drafted? It will be too late then.

    August 20, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
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