McCain: Obama should own 'abject failure' in Middle East
October 22nd, 2012
04:50 PM ET
5 years ago

McCain: Obama should own 'abject failure' in Middle East

Boca Raton, Florida (CNN) – Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a top surrogate for Mitt Romney, unleashed some strong words against President Barack Obama on Monday, hours before the presidential candidates face off in their final debate.

Asked if Romney should give Obama credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden, McCain said he believes all American credit the president with the raid but added Obama should also take responsibility for "the abject failure throughout the Middle East."

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"Al Qaeda is resurgent throughout Iraq, Afghanistan, all of North Africa, Libya, Mali. They're returning because we're weak," McCain said in the spin room at Lynn University, the site of Monday's debate in Boca Raton, Florida.

McCain's comments signaled Romney could take a similar line of attack during the presidential showdown and portray the unrest in the Middle East as a major failure for the president.

The 2008 Republican nominee said "everything is unraveling" in Iraq because of the president's policies, which included the final withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from the country late last year.

Obama's campaign, however, uses the troop drawdown as a selling point for the president on foreign policy. In a television ad released Monday, the campaign highlighted the decision, saying "it's time to stop fighting over there and start rebuilding here."

McCain, who's long been a vocal critic of the administration's handling of Syria, further blasted Obama for doing "absolutely nothing" to help protect citizens from the ongoing slaughter in the country.

"Just as many of us have predicted, it's beginning to spill over in to Lebanon, into Jordan, into the other countries in the region, and we are on the verge of a serious crisis," he said.

While Obama has spoken little about Syria, in August he warned the country against moving chemical or biological weapons, saying such force would cross a "red line" and "there would be enormous consequences" for Bashar al-Assad's regime.

McCain also questioned the president on Libya, saying the administration has failed to explain why it was not prepared for last month's attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, which killed four Americans.

"It's either absolute and total incompetence, or willfully deceiving the American people," McCain said. "How he thinks he can fool the American people on this one, I don't know."

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Filed under: 2012 • Florida • Foreign Policy • John McCain • Libya • Presidential Debates • Syria
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. Bill

    This, from Mr. Bomb, Bomb Iran. What a clown. McCain needs to retire.

    October 22, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  2. Joe Kenya

    Old Bitter fool who could have been president except it wasn't his time and he picked a dummie for a president: McCain know's the truth, in fact the Arab Spring is really a result of the Iran Iraq war which may not be the worse thing that could happen, when you look at the Break up of the Soviet Union to which Romney still thinks the cold war is taking place.

    October 22, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    Shorter McPampers: "Foreign policy is MY lawn, and Obama needs to get off of it!!!!"

    Yawn. Bitter old also-ran yammers bitterly about the guy who beat him. Story at 11.

    October 22, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  4. Hahahahahhahahaha

    All I can say is McCain picked.........PALIN!!!!!!!!!!!! Hahahahahahaahahhahahhahhahahahahaa

    October 22, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  5. v_mag

    Sure, President Obama should acknowledge any mistakes he may have made in the Middle East. Right after the entire Repugnant Party acknowledges and apologizes for 2 useless, unnecessary wars, failures on 9/11, encouraging Al Qaida to move into other Arab countries, and all the other blunders, all courtesy of the Bush regime.

    Well, I'm listening, Senator. Speak up.

    October 22, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  6. Zack

    For someone who chose Sarah Palin as his VP choice, I really don't think his judgement on any matter is actually worth noting.

    October 22, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  7. momandmedicare

    Why continue to give this guy more air time. The whole Libya thing continues to be just an excuse for wild and crazy comments on both sides. Can anyone please talk about Libyan developments beyond Benghazi? This is all just posturing so far and boring.

    October 22, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  8. Keep Colorado Blue

    If McCain had won the '08 election, no telling how many wars the U.S. would be fighting in by now. If Romney wins, we will be in war with Iran within six months, yet how many of Romney's own children will go off to war! None. Please keep that in mind.

    October 22, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  9. IRAYD84U

    Sit you're old tired senile ass down your last 5 min.of fame has passed long ago you chose sarah palin as a running mate do we need to say more.

    October 22, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  10. Valentina

    Sen. McCain is absolutely right to question Obama's incompetency on foreign affairs. He is also right to question Obama as to what exactly happen transpired in Libya leading up to the attack and the aftermath of that attack. Obama would want the American people to forget about it, but he owes us an explanation.

    October 22, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  11. the situation

    Yeah, this coming from a man that wouldn't go into a sovereign country to bring Bin Laden to justice. Both McShame and MItts were on the same page in not bring Bin Laden to justice. Same guy that didn't wanted to end the war in Iraq.

    McShame lost all any credit he had after he brought that hillbilly out of the slums of Alaska to be his VP running mate!

    October 22, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  12. nitromays

    Its mind puzzeling how the old still want to be the baddest dog in the kennel republicans think we should be the world police. thats the very reason that everyone wants to destroy America. The ones that are our ally hate us but need us and the ones that dont need us spend all their time trying to figure out how to take us down. They are so busy trying that they dont see that we are destroying ourselves.

    October 22, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  13. Nate84

    The truth is NO US President has control over what happends in the middle east! Especially it's outcome! We can assist and envade their lands but the middle east has been killing each other for centuries! Over Power and Religion! How can the US fight against History? Each country has it's own Destiny, it's up to them to resolve their own situation's weather it's from Civil War or Revoultion! The only power a US Presient can have over the Middle East and other countries is be an Enabler!

    October 22, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  14. I Voted Early In NC

    McCain said in 2008 if elected he would follow bin Laden to the gates of hell to catch him. President Obama sent bin Laden to hell. Syria is having a civil war, we don't get involved in countries civil wars do we? We never helped any African countries when they had civil wars. We are tired of fighting everyone's battles. History has shown us some of those areas have been fighting for hundreds of years and it won't stop. It is part of the culture in that part of the world.

    October 22, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |

    If McCain were President, we will still have troops in Iraq and he would have already started the war with Iran. These neo cons don't believe diplomacy. That's a dirty word to them just like compromise is.

    October 22, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  16. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "Abject failure"? Really? This from the prison camp songbird? Yes I said it.
    Tired of these people circling the wagons and speaking lies for the no-information, unibrow, share-a-tooth crowd to consume like so much candy. It is shameful
    They could not touch the President in regards to foreign policy...until the situation in Libya. They couldn't wait for the facts to come out before placing blame and trying to score political points shamfeully using the death of Americans to do so. The mother of a dead soldier had to tell Romney himself to stop using her son to secure votes and bash the President.
    These people are sick.
    We stopped living in fear when Obama was elected. No more Codes Red, Orange, Yellow etc guiding our everyday lives.
    The situation in Benghazi is currently being investigated, but nonetheless, Benghazi will NOT overshadow what our President has helped to achieve in the Middle East nor the sense that we feel safer with him at the helm than we would with trigger happy, blundering, ill-informed, not respected and less well-liked worldwide Romney.

    October 22, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  17. Phil

    "stop fighting over there & start rebuilding over here" what have you been rebuilding Obama? Every thing you say is meaningless. You ignored all the commanders on the ground that said it would be more harmful to Iraq & our foreign relations to withdrawl but your political agenda came first. And now the country is a mess. You're not rebuilding anything here you are just tearing down our principles and continue to burry us further and further in debt. Obama you are a joke, and your blind followers are an even bigger joke. Ignorance leads ignorant and you have a bunch of blind sheep following you.

    October 22, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  18. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Over 3,000 Americans killed on 9-11 resulting in over 5,000 killed in Iraq war and George W. Bush never owned it and told a lie about WMD's. Americans still are waiting for an answer on GWB's failures that happened over 10 years ago or has McCain and his GOP buddies forgotten about those victims. This is a slap in the face to 9-11 victims families and our military and their families.

    October 22, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    Gotta love this:

    "Obama didn't get us out of Iraq...that was all Bush and the GOP!!!!"

    *stuff goes down*

    "Obama is fully to blame for all Iraq policies and all policies in the middle east."

    Freekin idiots.

    October 22, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  20. Phil

    All these people above commenting wouldn't have the balls to serve our country like Mccain did. You pathetic spoiled little closet complainers would have given up your mother and more if you were captured in a war. Bunch of spoiled little brats that haven't contributed a finger to this country

    October 22, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  21. jw

    This bitter old man needs to take his butt back to arizona for good. then can sit on the back porch and tell his grand kids old war stories.

    October 22, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  22. PTNY

    Poor McCain...he doesn't get classified intelligence any more. Has no idea on earth what strategies Barack Obama is implementing.

    Republican voters foolishly picked McCain to run for president 4 years ago and tonight we'll all get to see the next bad choice the republicans have made when Mitt discovers..."He can't buy that" meaning the presidency of course!

    October 22, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  23. don in albuquerque

    I remember in the McCain/Obama debates when McCain got desperate he said "I know where Bin Ladin is, and I know how to get him." Interesting the old fool never shared that information with Shrub. Foreign Policy......go spend some time in another casino John because you do not have a clue.

    October 22, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  24. Darth Cheney

    This was the guy who said we would be in Iraq 100 years. Well, I guess he is intimately familiar with abject failure...

    October 22, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  25. Intruth24

    The middle east will always be a hot bed for years to come no matter who is president. But for McCain to try to insinuate that the middle east is somehow more unstable and that somehow Al Quaeda is on the rise is pure lunacy! Al Quaeda is more weak now thanit ever was under George Bush. In fact you can credit the Arab spring, among other things, as a result of a weaker Al Quaeda. McCain is a complete imbecile who got smacked by Obama four years ago and who will smack Romney this time as well!

    October 22, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
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