September 27th, 2008
01:00 PM ET
10 years ago

Kissinger defends McCain on Iranian relations

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger defended McCain's stance on Iranian relations Friday night.

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger defended McCain's stance on Iranian relations Friday night.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - In a response after Friday night's presidential debate, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger defended Sen. John McCain's attack against Sen. Barack Obama for Obama's willingness to meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "without precondition."

Immediately following the debate, the McCain campaign released a statement from Kissinger backing the Republican nominee's sentiments on structuring any talks with Iran.

"Sen. McCain is right. I would not recommend the next president of the United States engage in talks with Iran at the presidential level," Kissinger said in the statement.

"My views on this issue are entirely compatible with the views of my friend Sen. John McCain. We do not agree on everything, but we do agree that any negotiations with Iran must be geared to reality."

McCain and Obama sparred during the debate over how to best handle relations with Ahmadinejad, who has repeatedly threatened Israel. Both candidates referenced Kissinger's comments from a CNN forum last week in which former secretaries of states discussed several topics including Iran, and the
presidential candidates disagreed over what Kissinger had said.

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soundoff (138 Responses)
  1. cecil

    "I reserve the right as president of the United States to meet with anyone at the time and place of my choosing if I think it's going to keep the American people safe."

    As President Obama Continue To Be Your Own Man!

    Do What You Feel Is Correct To Keep The Peace!

    These Old Farts Are Still Living In The 20th Century!

    September 27, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  2. Kay

    I don't know why Obama brought up the Kissinger thing twice when it didn't even support his argument. Obama just sounds naive for saying he'd meet with any world leader for a photo op without preconditions, then suddenly changing preconditions into "preperations" and agreeing with McCain that there should be lower level talks first.

    September 27, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  3. Stacey

    lol I didn't know Kissinger was still alive !

    We want change in Washington, not the same 'ol politics that's been going on for 200 years. We need New blood !
    We need Obama !

    September 27, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  4. You Can Run But You Can Not Hide!

    Of course Henry Kissinger and other former Secretary of State said the same that as Obama! It is 21st century and all is on video and people could no longer be fooled as before! Is no longer word against word, the video is there and indesputable.
    Enough with McCains lies, fabrications and deceptions!

    September 27, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  5. Beto, Seattle

    Obama folks think the "old folks, decrepits, etc." should stay at home and watch the world go to hell, should give some thought to what type of "leaders" are leading the nations anymore. Just mention of Ahmadinejad, (Venezuelan President Hugo) Chavez, and (Cuban President) Raul Castro, then throw in Obama, and it makes my back shiver. The difference in America is if Obama is President, we would have only ourselves to blame because ours would be "elected" to that position, where those other thugs just take over. I would say that it is Obama and the democrats who "just don't get it."

    September 27, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  6. Mike F, Vancouver Canada

    If you look at the transcripts of what Kissinger said in the Secretary of State meeting, he did in fact say he approved of high level talks. Now for him to take back that statement AFTER the debate last night is TOO LATE. Obama is more consistent with his comments, although he has changed his stance since his initial reaction during the Democratic debate.

    What's with McCain not being able to look at Obama. Old man, old Republican views. Obama, new outlook, change guaranteed.
    What do you want? McCain certainly proved that he is stuck in the past, not nearly this agent of "change" he's been talking about.

    The independent line followed the Democratic line on the CNN tracker last night, far more that it followed the Republican line. Also the independent line was above 0 when Obama was speaking and below the 0 when McCain was speaking. Go to the tape.

    September 27, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  7. bk

    Bottom line Obama lied about Kissinger.

    September 27, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  8. American for obama------

    All five secretaries of state think it is wise and an act of common sense, good leadership, good judgement to engage in talks with Iran without pre conditions...........

    McCAIN on the othe hand does not want to meet with the spanish prime minister.

    Can America win the war on terror by alienating our own NATO alies?

    Just ask yourselves? Bad Temper wont help

    September 27, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  9. Palination

    D-–I-–P-–L-–O--M-–A-–C--Y what's so hard to understanding about that simple word John, oh sorry SANE-tor McCain

    September 27, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  10. alpha_nu_916

    "on an upper level."
    only after mcsame looked like an idiot disagreeing with one of his foreign affairs advisors, kissinger, does kissinger futher explain what he meant by agreeing that the united states should engage in talks with nations like iran, without mcsame's preconditions that he blathered on about ad nauseum.
    thanks kissinger for elaborating your answer after the fact. your canidate of choice, however, still comes off smelling like a man trapped in the past century.

    September 27, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  11. Ruthie

    I watched the program that CNN had with the five secretaries of state and Obama was right! Kissinger as well as all 5 secretaries of state agree in talking to Iran and the need of changing policies. CNN has the proof of this.
    OBAMA 08'

    September 27, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  12. Michael, watching from Canada

    Who won the debate?

    On judgment……Obama won.

    On experience……McCain won.

    But anyone withe any common sense will know that judgment ALWAYS trumps experience when good leadership is required. (There are many people with lots of experience, but have made poor decisions.)

    On attitude……Obama won the debate……

    Ever been to a party where someone continually namedrops (as did McCain in the debate) …….

    to show who they know and where they've been? ("I know this person", "I did this", "I did that", I, I, I)

    Its called ego……

    And quite often, no matter how many people someone might know, that does not mean that they have good relations with them!!

    I have met many people with lots of experience and lots of connections…..

    but with little wisdom.

    To the world, McCain portrays superiority.

    September 27, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  13. Sarah

    I saw the tape yesterday, and Obama is right
    If Kissinger want to change his mind, that is understandable

    September 27, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  14. Robert

    both mccain and kissenger need to take their alzhimer's meds and go sit in the corner....Leave the care of our country to forward thinker's not people mired in the past......

    September 27, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  15. Why Can't You Look Me In The Eye

    Wow, Ya think Henry is a bit biased, being a McCain advisor and all . . .?

    September 27, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  16. Karen, az

    Seriously, is there anyone still alive who doesn't believe that Kissinger is a war criminal and not worthy of consideration? Oh, except for Gov Palin who looked like a little girl in adoration at his audience. Let's look forward, not back a generation!

    September 27, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  17. Realistic

    Uh, who really cares what Kissinger, Eisenhower, or Alexander the Great said? We need solutions for this Century, not the last one.

    September 27, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  18. USA

    -----who cares??????

    September 27, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  19. E.C.Coleman

    Of course, Dr. Kissinger didn't say what Obama made up about his remarks. That's what Obama does...........tailors the remarks to his NEED. Everything that Obama does is based on "creative lies" that CNN backs up and tries to SELL TO THE PUBLIC. Just like the LIE that Obama won the debate. Funny....that no other poll shows that Obama won.......just CNN and the other lying networks. CNN cannot be TRUSTED on any front when it concerns the News or Straight Honest News.

    September 27, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  20. 12 HOUSES to 0






    September 27, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  21. Lynn: 60 yr old white Obama supporter

    Too bad McCain and Kissinger's "reality" is centered in the twentieth century thinking and an inability to grasp that America has lost its standing in the world.

    September 27, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  22. Mom for Obama

    He may support McCain but basically his opinion seems to support Obama as well. He favors negotiation on the level of the Secretary of State which could ultimately lead to talks directly with the President. I agree that the POTUS should reserve the right to have talks with any nation's leader if it means keeping the American people and those of surrounding countries safe. Logic should tell anybody that is the right way to go.

    September 27, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  23. Eve

    Henry Kissinger prolonged the Vietnam War in order to secure Richard M. Nixon a second term as US president. Now he doing the same thing to give a third term of George Bush, Jr. since I don't find that John McCain has shown nothing but rhetoric of cutting spending and wasteful spending. Just a quick side, that bill with the 3 millions dollar study of bears's DNA that he loves getting a laugh of it, he voted in favor of that bill. He hasn't shown any vision for the 21st century beyond and a return to 1980s where the rich got richer and the poor got poorer.

    Henry Kissinger is reversing a political position that he has state within the last week simply out of his misplaced loyalty to a politicians rather then to the interests of the American public.

    September 27, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  24. LB

    You say you're tired of the Iraq War. Get ready for an invasion of Afghanistan or for sure Pakistan if Obama becomes President he's ready to shoot first ask questions later! Who's is the Rogue Candidate now!

    September 27, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  25. andrew s. rostolder

    another old man county heard from. hank, tell the nice people how you kept the war in viet nam going so nixon would be re-elected. great adviser for mcsame........... he bombed obama last night for going with your advice about sitting down with "acmadinajad" and who ever he said was the new dude in pakistan. wolf blitzer couldn't even figure it out. why don't the two of you retire to the home and go fishing.

    September 27, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
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