McCain and Rumsfeld clash, again
February 3rd, 2011
11:51 AM ET
7 years ago

McCain and Rumsfeld clash, again

(CNN) - The McCain-Rumsfeld feud continues with new jabs on both sides, fueled by the release of the former defense secretary's new book.

Quoting from Rumsfeld's upcoming book "Known and Unknown" during an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America," George Stephanopoulos asked McCain to respond to the charge that he has a "hair-triggered temper" and "a propensity to shift his positions to appeal to the media."

The 2008 Republican presidential nominee said "thank God he (Rumsfeld) was relieved of his duties and we put the surge in, otherwise we would have had a disastrous defeat in Iraq."

The two men famously clashed during former President George W. Bush's second term in office. Rumsfeld was the lead architect of the invasion into Iraq in 2003, with which McCain publicly disagreed. The senator was in favor of the war but felt more troops were needed for the incursion to be successful.

"He and I had a very, very strong difference of opinion about the strategy that he was employing in Iraq, which I predicted was doomed to failure," McCain said.

Filed under: Donald Rumsfeld • John McCain
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Margie

    Gee Rumsfield knows McCain well. He described him perfectly. Can you imagine how he would have reacted as president. We see how mean spirited and vindictive he is, after loosing the election. What in the world would he have done if he were president. Send the troops after people who disagreed with him.

    February 3, 2011 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  2. whoa!

    Rummy and "Johnny come marching home"... a ship of fools destined to run aground. Rummy is right about Johnny's temper and his inclination to change positions at will. I always loveed how McCain lectured Clinton during the Kosovo war about how he had to send in 100,000 troops to expel Yugoslav troops, saying, "you don't go into a war planning to lose it, you go into having planned to win it". Not surprising from a man who never shot gun or got shot at on the ground during war. Clinton and his people were brilliant because they recognized that you can win a conflict solely with airpower if: 1) your airpower is unchallengeable, which ours is, and 2) your adversary has significant economic infrastructure which your airpower can easily destroy, which we did. As a result the Yugoslav army beat feet out of Kosovo and headed home, Milosivich was arrested and sent to the Hague where he was convicted and died in prison, never to show his fascist face again. And, oh by the way, not one U.S. or NATO combatant was killed, something that McCain seemed not to recognize. Clinton did plan to win the war, he just used his brains instead of the McCain style cold-war anger.

    Enough said.

    February 3, 2011 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  3. texasnewbie

    Nice. All the jerks that supported the invasion of Iraq are now making big bucks from their stories. Maybe they should be required to use their blood money to pay off some of the debt they've gotten America into because of their poor decisions. May the fleas of 1000 camels infest Runsfeld's armpits.

    February 3, 2011 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  4. sparky

    Clash?!?!?!?!? They both supported a war for reasons they and their BOSS dreamed up.

    Proof, there's no honor among thieves

    February 3, 2011 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  5. LaCanne

    Poor Rumsfeld, a futile grasp at the fading tendrils of relevancy. History has enough to judge you on already.

    February 3, 2011 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  6. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    This is just more proof that GWB was incompetent and never listened to Colin Powell who first advised this administration not to invade Iraq. But no Cheney, Rumsfeld, McCain, et al silenced Powell to see it their way and he did leaving Powell with no choice but to leave this administration.

    February 3, 2011 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  7. aatami

    Both McCain and Rumsfeld represent the worst aspects of both humanity and america. Arrogance combined with ignorance is not a recipe for successful leadership and both of these pathetic excuses could serve as the poster children for the self serving dimwittedness that has come to represent american leadership.

    February 3, 2011 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  8. PalmReader

    Just when you think the adults are finally coming to the table, in walks Rummey ready to fuel the childish tantrums all over again. Not surprising everything came to a crashing halt in 2007. Seven years of economic inactivity and political ego power struggles was a bit much - our American Exceptionalism standards Palin is so proudly flaunts nothwithstanding. Unfortunately, GOPers never learn, and are hell bent on bringing us right back to where we were, ready to crash once again.

    February 3, 2011 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  9. ART

    I totally understand, I'am no fan of Rumsfeld but Mccain was a man I had respect for but not any more he is embarrassing not to mention he released that plague that is Sarah Palin upon our country

    February 3, 2011 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  10. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    McCain has the reputation of having a quick fuse. Trying to deny that is like saying an elephant only looks big.

    Interestingly now, all the Bush Liars are writing books, pointing fingers and accepting no responsibility for one of the great injustices of our time. I know of 4,000+ families that have a few questions for these PNAC apostles but they'll never be answered and the questioners will be labeled as un-American to boot!

    February 3, 2011 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  11. EddyL

    Gee I thought we had a "disastrous defeat" in any case in Iraq. Does McCain claim we had a victory? If so, I'd sure like to hear his definition of VICTORY. The Bush Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were based on LIES and McCain is as guilty as Bush and his henchmen.

    February 3, 2011 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  12. TM

    Really? Then tell us Sen. McCain, why didn't you SAY SOMETHING while this was going on?! I guess NOW we know what you meant when you said you weren't a "Maverick". Your silence then speaks far louder than your comments now.

    February 3, 2011 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  13. annie s

    Not sure which of these men I find the most distasteful. But they are both past their prime and need to go away now.

    February 3, 2011 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  14. bill486

    Yeah, ask the Iraqi people how they feel about our involvement.

    Rumsfeld ensured his special place in Hell when he refused to use active duty troops to evacuate New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, which should tell you how great his judgement was in something as big as the war in Iraq was.

    February 3, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  15. Scott

    Yes Margie,

    John McCain would have used troops to go after American citizens with whom he disagreed. If you really believe that, quit reading the HuffingtonPost and watching MSNBC. You'll be better off for it.

    February 3, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  16. Rick McDaniel

    McCain needs to recognize, that part of the reason we went back into Iraq, was that Bush senior, left unfinished business there.

    I knew that was a mistake, at the time, and if Bush senior had taken the right actions then, we wouldn't have had to return there, in the first place.

    February 3, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  17. Scott


    The federal government cannot simply deploy troops inside of the United States. They have to have the permission of the governors to do so. The governors in Louisiana and Mississippi refused to let them do so. Blame them, not the former administration for the lack of federal government support in the immediate post-hurricane tragedy.

    February 3, 2011 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  18. Jacob

    John McCain, "a propensity to shift his positions to appeal to the media." Well, NO KIDDING!?!? how could anyone understand what he stands for and believes these days!?

    February 3, 2011 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  19. StrategicBob

    McCain said Rumsfeld's Iraq strategy was doomed to failure and that he had to go before he did even more damage to the military and the nation. Rumsfeld said McCain has a hair-triggered temper and changes his positions depending on the wind. They are both right. But only one of them is a war criminal.

    February 3, 2011 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  20. rick

    I hope president obama is looking and listening, this is what happen when you go along with people that have their agenda.

    February 3, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  21. js007

    Ha, ha, just because Rummy got McCain's temper spot-on doesn't mean that McCain is wrong about Rummy's dismal strategy in Iraq. Powell told Rummy that 450,000 troops are needed (and not 150,000 that Rummy sent in) but hey, what does the winner of the first Gulf War know?

    February 3, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  22. Clwyd

    All I know is that McCain has the worst judgment when he picked sarah palin as his running mate and unleashed her ignorance on the American people! The sad part is that there are others out there like her who make sense of her stupid remarks

    February 3, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  23. mdn

    Nobody cares anymore what these old cronie white supremacists think. They are both incredibly evil people who will thankfully answer to their creator one day very soon (in these wrinkly old guys cases).

    February 3, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  24. T'sah from Virginia

    First Cheney came out to clear his name
    Then Bush soon afterwards tried to do the same
    Now Rumsfeld is SCREAMING but at his leisure
    Next we'll hear more from Condoleezza!!

    All of those named will DENY the crime
    McCain already started – who else is in line
    Their so-called GANG is about to decline
    In my opinion, THEY SHOULD ALL DO TIME!!!

    It’s only just begun!!!

    February 3, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  25. 100% ETH

    Scottsdale VS Irishdale


    February 3, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
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