November 27th, 2007
06:50 AM ET
14 years ago

Back from Iraq, McCain hammers Democrats

McCain said Democrats "refuse to acknowledge the progress" in Iraq.

LEXINGTON, South Carolina (CNN) – Buoyed by an apparent reduction in violence in Iraq, McCain hit the campaign trail Monday and tore into Democrats running for president and in Congress for "willfully ignoring the facts on the ground" in the country.

In his first campaign stop since returning from a trip to Iraq over Thanksgiving, McCain told an audience here that there is clear military progress on the ground and "a dramatic shift in the attitude of the Iraqi people."

"Today it is clear we have succeeded with this new strategy," said McCain, who has supported the so-called "troop surge" since its inception. "The Democrats refuse to acknowledge that, they refuse to acknowledge the progress. They are willfully ignoring the facts on the ground in my view."

McCain said the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki "has got a long way to go" and said that "winning" requires political progress in the country, but he criticized Democrats for continuing their calls to remove combat forces from the country.

"There's a lot at stake here," he said. "I understand my friends the politics of it. I understand it when the Democrats stand up and fall all over each other to decide who can get us out the quickest, but I am grateful that we Republicans have stood fast, I am grateful that this president has stood fast."

McCain took on Sen. Hillary Clinton for comments she made in September to Gen. David Petraeus during his testimony on Iraq progress before the Senate. At the time, Clinton said that Petraeus' progress report required "a willing suspension of disbelief."

"My friends, any objective observer today would have to suspend disbelief to know that it's not working," McCain said. "It is working and it's working successfully, and the people of Iraq are far better off now than when we began this."

- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: Iraq • John McCain • South Carolina
soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Bob, Seattle

    Senator McCain could lead this country just fine.

    November 27, 2007 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  2. David, Dallas Tx

    I can't find CNN's story on it, but per the LA Times and USA Today, yesterday Bush and al Maliki signed a pact to insure that the US would continue maintaining troops and financial aid to Iraq beyond his presidency.

    That's the thing, Mac and Terry and others. It's not so much that we CAN'T win as the fact that it's killing too many Americans, stretching our military too thin, discrediting our country too badly, and especially costing too many tax revenues and getting us too deep into debt to foreign powers. AND it's committing us to more of the same for years to come.

    Whether or not we can win is almost incidental. The terrorists couldn't damage us as badly as we're damaging ourselves. That's the bottom line.

    November 27, 2007 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  3. Christopher, Madison, WI

    Democrats and the media are invested in defeat. They turned their back on their country at the first signs of hardship and manipulated the American people for their own political purposes. You have been lied to my fellow citizens but not by the current administration, it is the Democrats and the "mainstream media" who have misled you. Now it's time for them to pay the piper. History will remember these treacherous deeds and the people who perpetrated them. War is not easy but that does not mean that it is not sometimes necessary.
    Posted By Brian Tampa, FL : November 27, 2007 10:15 am

    This directly out of the mouth of Bill O'Rielly in his latest (last night) rant. Come on Brian be original. Your party just hates facts. Reporting facts is what the news groups do. Well everyone but FauxNoise.
    BTW Brian...why aren't you over there? Put up or shut-up...we already have one coke head boozing cheerleader in the White House.
    PS was Vietnam "necessary"? No, no it wasn't!

    November 27, 2007 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  4. roger, conway sc

    Convenant, Boston, MA...Do you really believe that the terrorists could not attack our soil if they wanted too, and the reason for them not attacking is because of the republicans...IF SO you are so brainwashed by the GOP and their underhanded tatics you are beyond help...I should not have wasted my time responding to your comment...VOTE DEMOCRATIC 08 stop the hypocrites who lied about the war in Iraq & have brought our nation so much shame....

    November 27, 2007 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  5. C. K. Justus

    McCain is nothing more than a me too Bush and we have had enough Bushes to last for at least 5 centuries.

    November 27, 2007 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  6. Mark, NY

    November 27, 2007 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  7. Arkay, MI

    "a democratic ally in the volatile Middle East that can (hopefully) demonstrate to Muslims that there is a better way of governing than Sharia law."

    -Brad, from the great state of Texas

    Do you know that the current Iraqi government has laws that are closer to Sharia law than those under the secular government of Saddam Hussein, the tyrrant we removed from power.

    November 27, 2007 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  8. Alex Chicago

    We could "win" tomorrow and it was still an obscene waste of maen lives, men's limbs and our and our children's fortune as a huge debt has returned for every man woman and child.
    And this doesn't even count the profound damage to our image and power throughout the world, as well as destroying 60 years of our effort in promulgating international law and human rights.
    We are now known as an international law breaker, with leaders who are habitual liars, and a country which condones torture.
    But we are not "winning" tomorrow. No shining beacon of democracy allied with us will emerge. Instead we may stay and bleed at a lower annual level for DECADES and it will end up to be a client state of a nuclear armed Iran if and when it ever functions and unites.
    Even the best "victory" turns out to be a defeat. Thank you Karl Rove. You thought this war would get Bush elected in 2004, and it did, but in your effort for a permanant Republican majority, this war of choice doubled the mess that is the middle east and bleed us of our power and riches. Prosperity will flow to China and elsewhere.

    Posted By Lee, Mays Landing NJ : November 27, 2007 2:54 am

    Lee, I have never read more liberal garbage in my life...You are a hopeless small lil person. I would pray for you but your soul is already gone.

    November 27, 2007 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  9. Ron Allsapp, Cleveland, OH

    Its a pity that newscaster like Lou Dobbs was also commenting on the progress being made in Iraq and critisized Dems for not pumping another 60 to 80 billions towards this illegal war! I think people like McCain, Bush, Graham supported by Dobbs need a rubber stamp congress where no question is asked, no checks and balances when it comes to funding the war. I think these ignorants will only come to senses when Iraqis drive us out, gas prices hit $5/gallon, economy will tank and the country will go into record deficit by Bush's madness supporting this endless war. If you pump in another trillion of taxpayers money and deploy another 200,000 troops to curb the violence, you will definitely see some progress. Is it worth the cost especially denying the welfare of the american citizens?

    November 27, 2007 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  10. Adrian, LA, California

    Yep...McCain fails to realize that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, National Security, or even WMD for that matter.

    The real reason we are there is for war profiteering to benefit Bush/Cheney constituents. After all even Greenspan recognizes it was all about the oil.

    If the war is going so well...then turn over the security operations to the Iraqi government and bring in the UN as needed for back-up. Quit wasting my tax money on corporate welfare!

    November 27, 2007 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  11. JD Rugby ND

    "There's a lot at stake here," he said. "I understand my friends the politics of it. I understand it when the Democrats stand up and fall all over each other to decide who can get us out the quickest, but I am grateful that we Republicans have stood fast, I am grateful that this president has stood fast."

    You betcha. There is much more money to be made. There are many more Iraqis to kill. There are many more permanant bases to establish. American Empire uber alles!

    November 27, 2007 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  12. thehypocrit

    This just in: "The insurgency in Fallujah is over."

    Nope, no progress here..

    November 27, 2007 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  13. Brad, from the great state of Texas

    Arkay, MI... please elaborate your point.

    November 27, 2007 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  14. ds

    I love reading comments by drugged-up college students and arm-chair generals, especially the comments calling Senator McCain a "traitor," or the ones saying that McCain should be "smacked."

    Who in the hell are these fools? I know they exist, but I don't meet many of them in my daily life. My guess is that most of them are internet trolls who wouldn't have the guts to shoot off their mouth unless they were safely surrounded by their fellow leftists...

    Here's a tip: Just because you read a Howard Zinn book and watched a Michael Moore movie, that doesn't make you an intellectual. In fact, it most likely makes you even dumber. Examine the facts on the ground. Read some of the best reporting (both negative and positive) on the subject of Iraq (I suggest Michael Yon or Bill Roggio). Then, make an objective judgement about the war instead of trying to wish things true (one way or another).

    By the way, the next time you decide to shoot your mouth off about a man who spent five years as a POW, repeat the following mantra: "I'm not fit to lick John McCain's boots."

    November 27, 2007 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  15. Jim Cleveland ohio

    I listen to you Democrats and Republicans like there are two different parties. They are the Washington Party for Govt by Govt. We are 11 trillion in debt closet to 60 trillion with medicade and social security.

    The dollar is less than a Canadian Dollar we make nothing in this Country the taxes are out of control the two parties fight over the loser of the month club.

    Get a grip they are all worthless. One Party tries to scare us to death the other tries to give everything away like all we are is worthless and weak. Where are Americnas that had pride and did not depend upon the Govt for everything.

    The Middle East is buying our banks and our companies and you two parties fight over the same garbage every election, and the Country get's weaker.

    This is not s sporting event it is our Country at stake. The politicians took our Country away from us.

    Not one campaign promise has ever been kept. It is all crap it is about the candidate and their ego not the Country

    November 27, 2007 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  16. Kristy Sanborn Dixon, Mo

    The bottom line is that Mr. McCain is very correct, and the problem is not only the Democrats (and some Reps) that are and have ingnored the facts on the ground, is the fact that they are also ignoring the Generals who are over there on the ground.
    The Dems are going to be the death of America through their refusal to deep down inside FACE the true facts, of this war.
    The true facts are the dems are ignoring the facts of what the Generals have to say, when the Generals and their troops are the ones over there fighting this war and know best.
    Thank you Mr. McCain for supporting our troops and seeing first hand that progress is being made. The wise listen to the Generals, their troops, and their Commander in Chief, who truly support our troops.
    This article shows me that Mr. McCain is a very wise man, and there is much to be said for years of experience that he has. Fully capable of leading America.

    November 27, 2007 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  17. Henry, San Diego CA

    The Keating Five.

    November 27, 2007 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  18. Paul C, Palmetto Bay, FL

    How can you call 100 bombing a month a success? The Iraq people have virtually no infrastructure, 2.5 million displaced. If we had 1 bombing in 6 months in the U.S. the DHS goons would have everyone stripped naked and probed hourly.
    The surge was sold to give the Iraqi gov. time to organize. Has that happened?

    November 28, 2007 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  19. Dave, Atlanta, GA

    Did John McCain go to the Green Zone again?

    It's amazing how these people go to the Green Zone and think they are in the real Iraq. Like Jon Stewart said: That's like going to the Olive Garden and thinking you went to Italy.

    November 28, 2007 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  20. Tom Dedham, Mass

    Funny stuff Dave, too bad the closest you ever got to putting on the "uniform" was when you worked at McDonalds.

    You can't lick McCains boots (great line).

    And for you geniuses out there here are a few facts, we have foiled at LEAST 19 terrorist plots since 9-11 (google Deroy Murdock's recent "Post 9-11 security through vigilance" for a great read) so what this idiot Bush is doing is WORKING and since the surge took place the situation has improved dramatically.

    How can you tell, the media stopped reporting on it.

    For the record, I support Joe Bidens idea due to the FACT that these people have not done enough to secure their own freedom.

    If Hillary Clinton proposed Bidens idea, you would all know about it, but since he is not the media darling... she is not in HIS league.

    November 28, 2007 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  21. James Monroe NH

    McCain would be a great advisor to the president, thats it...we have tried the old man route already, they do not share the troubles of the current middle class...

    November 29, 2007 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  22. SGT Fort Carson Colorado

    Well Ladies and Gentleman I want you to know Mr MCain did not walk around the green zone he was no were near the green zone i wont tell you were he was that is all you need to know. And secoundly there isnt a single troop out there that thinks we are failing if you are a patriot which i hope you are you will quit squabbling and start supporting Mr. Busch has done right by our country. He is a excellent leader do i agree with everything he does no i dont but you know what he is a human just like me and you so yes he can and will make mistakes. If you think for one moment Iraq is not a better place and that the middle east hates us you better just take your butts to the airport buy a ticket and come over here and talk to them they love us a small majority dislikes us and they are know as the islam extremists and did you know that they will not stop untill they make islam the only religion in the world they believe that they are the ultimate power of god and they are not they dont even follow the quaran so i say to you go ahead and elect a democrat and see what happens 911 was nothing what will come if we pull out of the middle east will shock the world for hundreds of years. So please educate yourselves before you make assumptions from no more information then what the press gives you i hope you enjoy your holidays at home with your families i will be enjoying my holidays with my troops as we fight for your freedom to sit there and say our leadership is failing you good day

    November 30, 2007 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
  23. Tempe, Arizona

    Straight Talk
    Dry read but straight facts about Mr. McCain best read of the campain no suger coating virtues and vices.
    Nobody compares experience X knowledge that equals wisdom.
    I recently went to a wedding followed by a young groom leaving for Iraq. I explained the soldiers burden: we carry memories and scars so our family hopefully never has too. There is no guarentee of this it is only a soldiers prayer.
    President Bush carry's the presidential burdens so the soldiers don't have too. He accepts the blame the dogpiles lead by media and politics and the enemy, carries the heaviest burdens of our time. Unlike Vietnam explained in depth by this encyclopedia's portray of John McCain.
    Many cantidates have already been crushed by their lesser burdens in war, lack of support for what they voted for. When times got tough the weak got going, away from their convictions and principles.
    McCain is proven he has already handled worse. He accepted nomination for these burdens knowing full well what they mean on the deepest level. Few others seem to have a clue.
    If he's willing to lead I'm willing to follow.
    John McCain has gone far beyond any living US man in patriotic in duty, honor and service. and we never have to ask no John how do you really feel?
    I'de go back to war for him without doubts.

    November 30, 2007 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
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