September 27th, 2008
01:00 PM ET
6 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. McCain is too old

    Kissinger is an old, dangerous man.

    Go away old men. The United States is ready for real leadership and an investment into the future.

    September 27, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  2. Sharon

    Kissinger actually did say negotiation with Irn should be held without preconditions. And this was just recently.. Referred imporession was meetings involved residing administration. FACT – Kissinger did not specifically say President should not meet. Kissinger is just using this as political attack it appears. Kissinger coming right after debate finished appears as if total set-up against Obama!!
    Kissinger did not clarify he did absolutely say US should met Iran without preconditions. So did other former Secretary of States. Kissinger now gives impression he never wanted negotiatons/meeting to be held without preconditions at all. This is false!!! He absolutely did and CNN has on tape as well as other Secretary of States. Other News Medias too!!! Kissingers points are now considered Republican biased!! I find this disgusting!

    September 27, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  3. Petro

    He is old too!!

    September 27, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  4. Rebecca

    Obama never said he was going to automatically meet with anyone unless there was a point and a purpose for it. Obama also clearly believes that the talks should start with diplomats first to test the waters and determine whether a presidential meeting would be helpful. So I don't see what McCain is crying about. Obama's worldview is frankly smarter and more realistic than Bush/McCain's cowboy diplomacy.

    McCain is spinning the truth again, and it's interesting that Kissinger's statement came from a "McCain campaign release". Sounds like McCain has been crying to his old buddy to prop him up.

    Either way, I can honestly say that I trust Obama's judgement for taking us in a better direction with 21st century diplomacy than either of these old geezers.

    September 27, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  5. Sue, Shawnee, OH

    Hey, America, watch the special on Link TV about how many people Mr. Kissinger had killed and then ask yourself about the judgement of Mr. McCain asking him about anything?? Mr. Kissinger makes Mr. Bush look decent, and that is sayong something. And I would not believe McCain OR Kissinger about anything that they say about diplomacy.

    September 27, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  6. DemocracyNow2008

    Remember Kissinger was in the Nixon era.
    Nixon was a crook I grew up in the 60's that whole bunch were idiots and liars to the American People .
    Kissinger must have a brain freeze going on at his age .
    Who cares what Kssinger thinks .
    He's still a Republican.

    September 27, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    obama uses his head mccain uses his hot temper.

    September 27, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  8. alex

    I could care less about these old fuddy duddies......What it comes down to is, will this loose cannon maverick have us fighting 4 different wars at the same time or, will we finaly focus on home...Please, stop policing the world and focus on your fellow Americans. Mc oldie lives to fight with millinos in his pocket, we fight to live with pennies in ours.

    September 27, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  9. Ron

    It is no lie that Mr Palin Kisser said the US should talk to our enemies, I heard him on the TV days ago. This is ridiculous. Ok you guy ask him how he said it

    September 27, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  10. s

    McCain claims to be a "maverick." Yet in W's terms he voted with him 90% of the time. Maverick? A 10% maverick. But a 90% Bush clone!

    September 27, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  11. Dan J

    Where's Obama? McCain flew to Washington due to this crisis, which Obama emphasized last night.

    Oh wait! He's in North Carolina, defending his debate responses. Country first? All talk, no action? Come on, Obama! Act Presidential if you want to be President!

    September 27, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  12. nadia

    exactly how does sitting down and talking give credibility to anyone??!! I would sit down and talk with Bush if I deemed it beneficial !

    September 27, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  13. bruja

    NJ: What's wrong with you? MUST you have a war?
    Do you really think the "untrustworthy" leaders give a s#%* about our way of living? Do you REALLY think Americans can punish a foreign country like China, Iran etc with not talking to them? Do you REALLLY
    think we should bomb Iran ? And Russia? And, and, ....
    Then you are not naive, you are sick!

    September 27, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  14. E.C.Coleman

    TO: A NATION OF WINNERS FOR OBAMA
    ONE OF THESE DAYS YOUR SORRY BEING WILL BE OLD AND DECREPIT. IN THE MEANTIME, WHY DON'T YOU EDUCATE YOUR SORRY SELF AND LEARN A BIT ABOUT WHAT YOU'RE TRYING TO WRITE. WHO DO YOU THINK HAS PROTECTED YOUR SORRY SELF AND GIVEN YOU FREEDOMS TO LIVE LIKE YOU DO? YOU'RE THE VERY ONE WHO WILL END UP IN LOWER ETERNITY.....CERTAINLY NOT THE GREAT LEADERS OF THIS COUNTRY. WHO ARE YOU ANYWAY? YOU MUST BE TOTALLY IGNORANT AND COMPLETELY UNEDUCATED. WHY ELSE WOULD YOU VOTE FOR OBAMA? OBAMA IS A CROOK AND DISHONEST AND HAS ENJOYED A PAST FILLED WITH CLOSE FRIENDS WHO ARE CROOKS, LIARS AND THIEVES. OBAMA IS TRULY AN EMPTY SHIRT AND HAS NEVER ACCOMPLISHED ONE THING IN THE SENATE OR OTHERWISE. FURTHER, HE'S A WIMP.

    September 27, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  15. Bill

    CNN had five former secretary of state members on. All agreed with Obama's position that the US should start direct talks with Iran without pre-conditions. The fact that Kissinger would walk away from such a statement and get into the parsing words of I was for direct talks but not talks with the president. The fact is that when people sit down as an official envoy to talk with a foreign government, they are speaking on behalf of the President of the United States and the American people. It does not necessarily matter if it is the secretary or the president in such a situation. The real issue is are you for direct talks with Iran or are you against them? McCain is against talks and Obama is for them. Enough said.

    September 27, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  16. Chris

    So Kissinger is willing to change his position in a matter of weeks to support his "friend John McCain"?
    I wonder if McCain has special favours in line for Kissinger if he were to become President. Which he won't.

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 27, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  17. R.M.

    Common CNN, that is not what Obama defended. He said exactly what Kssinger said!! Don't try to spin what happened in yesterdays debate because I happened to see that debate!! Shame on CNN

    September 27, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  18. Chut Pata

    Kissinger lost his bearing long before McCain had lost his.

    September 27, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  19. Meku

    Monkey see monkey does, the new world is different than old McSame and Kissinger. Diplomatic talk is the way, not isolation.

    Obama '08-'16

    September 27, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  20. mohamed

    KISSINGER nothing old fart and crock

    September 27, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  21. Marie in NV

    Kissinger knows more about the history and steps through foreign policy, along with the covert operations, than anyone else. He deserves a great deal of respect and is a huge source of information.

    Now he's spanked Obama for trying to name-drop his name. It was a joke and now OBAMA IS PROVEN WRONG AGAIN!! Now, these whiners are jumping on the Dem bandwagon of trying to bash anyone who has real experience and knowledge. McCain clearly was the winner in this debate. He showed us that he is nothing like Bush and the dems can't keep using that line – it's been officially debunked now.

    September 27, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  22. sophia nyc

    Obama never said he himself would sit down with Pres. of Iran.. CNN check YOUR facts.

    September 27, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  23. Connie

    The reason McSenile does not want to meet with foreign leaders is number 1 , he can not pronounce their names correctly and number 2 how can he look them in the eyes when he can not even look a fellow senator , a co-worker , the person he is debating with in the eyes . Henry and John are just two old washed up has beens, face it. Obama/Biden 08
    Connie from Indiana

    September 27, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  24. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    This is the same Henry Kissinger that can't travel outside the USA because he's a wanted war criminal and risks being picked-up by Interpol!

    Fine man to be getting advice from, isn't he?!

    September 27, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  25. sophia nyc

    Bush has already sent people over to talk to Iran. It's already happening.

    September 27, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
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