March 26th, 2008
02:05 PM ET
15 years ago

Blitzer: McCain speech parts ways with some Bush policy

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="McCain parted ways with President Bush on two foreign policy issues in his speech Wednesday."] WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senator John McCain strongly defended President Bush’s strategies in Iraq and the war on terror Wednesday, and sharply rebuked his critics - but he clearly deviated from the president’s national security policy on two major issues.

Speaking before the World Affairs Council in Los Angeles, he rejected the president’s determination to keep the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba open. He also said it was time to negotiate a new global warming treaty.

“We can’t torture or treat inhumanely suspected terrorists we have captured,” he said. “I believe we should close Guantanamo and work with our allies to forge a new international understanding on the disposition of dangerous detainees under our control.”

On global warming and the international treaty that President Bush abandoned after taking office, McCain said: “There is such a thing as international good citizenship.” He added: “We need a successor to the Kyoto Treaty, a cap-and-trade system that delivers the necessary environmental impact in an economically responsible manner.”

But on Iraq, the senator remained firm to the president’s approach. “It would be an unconscionable act of betrayal, a stain on our character as a great nation, if we were to walk away from the Iraqi people and consign them to the horrendous violence, ethnic cleansing, and possibly genocide that would follow a reckless, irresponsible, and premature withdrawal,” he said.

The biting criticism of his two Democratic presidential challengers was hovering over those remarks – as well as several other passages in his speech - even though he didn’t mention either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama by name.

Related: Watch Bill Schneider's analysis of McCain's foreign policy speech

–CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (116 Responses)
  1. Jon

    *crickets chirping*

    March 26, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  2. BK

    I guess I better pay attention to what McCain is saying as I will be voting for him if Obama wins.

    March 26, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  3. Independant

    McCain gave this same tired speech years ago. No new ideas today your yesterday. McCain let me know if you need a ride to the home for the ages.

    March 26, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  4. Grif

    Now He's SPEACH! What I heard of it....

    Really was something.....

    March 26, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  5. Steve

    Two outstanding ideas... Then a horrible one. Who do you care more about John, Iraqis or Americans? How many have to die, and how much of our resources have to be blown in that country before we can declare "success"?? I've been there twice John, at one year each–it ain't worth it.

    March 26, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  6. Thomas

    McCane is going to be the next president! He seems way more Democratic then Obama, and he is RIGHT about IRAQ you cant just leave without having a real good plan if that plan takes time then guess what it takes time!

    Hillary or McCane 08'

    March 26, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  7. Conan

    “We can’t torture or treat inhumanely suspected terrorists we have captured,” he said.

    I respect this man's thoughts on this subject since he was on the receiving end of real, honest to God, bone cracking, medieval type torture and not fraternity pranks that we saw at Abu Ghraib.

    March 26, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  8. Terrence W

    Yes, Bush says 50 years of war, McCain says 100 years. BIG DIFFERENCE. YAY!

    March 26, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  9. Tex

    Honestly, who cares about McCain?

    March 26, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  10. Bayou Joe

    Spoken like a True Leader of the Free World. This is why Democrats will switch over if Obama is the Candidate of the Left. Obama is toast and you Dems know it. Save your party vote for Hillary. Your only hope.

    March 26, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  11. Franky

    Well, Senator, since I'm the first here, what should I say???? I gotta say, it as an O.K speech, but not great. I'm not gonna lie Senator, I wanna help you personally and make you look good and not like what people claim you are but guess what? Yeah, your peeps. And yes, I'm sure they have some ideas and solutions(if that's what you guys call it) but you know what? I wish you the best Senator but you're on your own.....

    March 26, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  12. The Austrian

    It means little to say he's deviating slightly from Bush policy when he remains within the realm of Keynesian sohpostry. In fact, all three candidates belong to the same general economic philosophy; they only difference is how much emphasis they put on certain aspects of that philosophy,

    Learn Austrian economics people; have peace AND prosperity AND freedom AND security.

    March 26, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  13. Thomas

    "According to a Gallup Poll released Wednesday, 28 percent of Clinton supporters may break ranks to back McCain in November should Obama capture the Democratic nomination.

    Meanwhile, 19 percent of Obama supporters say they will favor McCain should Clinton be the party's nominee. "

    Looking better and better every day for McCane

    Hillary or McCane 08'

    March 26, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  14. Terrence W

    I can't believe that Democrats are actually going to vote for this idiot all because they don't want to vote for OBAMA or CLINTON. Some people have the intelligence of a shoe. This shows us how far we've come in America. This has been a wake up call.

    March 26, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  15. @americans

    keep spinning McBush....your free fall is just begining!

    March 26, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  16. California Independent

    Good speech.

    If it isn't Clinton, McCain '08

    March 26, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  17. kathe oakland, california

    I want to know that any of you – WE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE think of a Presidential candidate democrat or republican, saying that he openly agreed with the terriorst who killed over 3000 Americans for no reason. Has McCain completely lost his mind.

    I am not a republican, thank GOD, but I am an AMERICAN and I think that statement just told me just how unamerican McCain really is. I am sorry, but for an American sitting United States Senator, a person running for the position of Commander-in-Chief of my country, USA – oh no that is not acceptable period.

    COME ON AMERICA what do you think about this endorsement of BinLadin, by of all people the war monger, John McCain.

    March 26, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  18. Joseph

    This is a perfect example why this man (if Obama gets the nomination) will get my vote. We need a mature leader that addresses urgent issues wisely no matter what their party stands for. Voting for McCain is like votting for a democrat anyway....

    March 26, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  19. Terrence W

    We wouldn't need to stay there this long if we HADNT waged war with IRAQ in the first place. Whatever happened to looking for BIN LADEN?

    March 26, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  20. Dorothy in Canada

    The Clinton's deny their connections with Rev. Wright and Rezko when there is a connection, like their is a connection with the Fanjul bros. donating large sums to control the price of sugar. The family runs sugar cane plantations in the Dominican Republic. The workers come from Haiti, their documents are confiscated at their arrival. They go to work hungry and without medicine if they get hurt.

    I thought slavery was abolished. They work from sunrise to sunset for 2$ a day and they need to meet a quota or they don't get paid.

    Hillary is for NAFTA. Changing her mind wherever the wind blows, how convenient and Naftagate was improper information according to the Prime Minister of Canada and unfair to the Obama campaign.

    She even blamed Canada for the August 2003 blackout according to Michel Juneau in charge of security.

    Shame on yourself Hillary Clinton, don't come to Canada, once again poor judgment like voting for the war in Iraq. Your foreign experience is questionable like the flying bullets in Bosnia.

    March 26, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  21. Bob Stephens

    Same old, same old, and I mean OLD!!! If McCain gets elected, people will wish that Bush was still in office.........

    March 26, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  22. Chris

    While McCain is hopefully against torture, he is perhaps more of a neo-con than Bush ever was, and is aligning a pretty extremist group of foreign policy advisors to his side. A little scary...

    March 26, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  23. Mary

    Really hard to take anything he says seriously...Apart from Iraq & Iran I have no idea where he stands on anything...Not sure he knows either...Too many 'senior' moments of late.

    March 26, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  24. An Agnostic Democrat

    That's right, John hug Bush, act like Bush, walk like Bush and talk like Bush, then run the other way when you start running for president. Now you need to decide if it is the middle you want to move toward in order to masquerade as a moderate or fake your way to the right to appease the fringe. Can't wait to see how you part ways with that one, Mr. Straight Talk Express. Maybe you can channel Moses and get some advice on how to part the Red Sea. Good luck, McSame.

    March 26, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  25. Shawn - Ga

    To all you who like to call him McSame and so forth, today you are just now starting to see what will be an increasingly obvious gap in differences between this great man and the currant administration. I still believe that history will paint this time in a different more positive light than most believe. However having said that I am not for a second naive enough to think that Mr. Bush didn't make mistakes and rush to actions.

    I am truly proud to be an American and work hard to support my wife and children in this great country. I am tired and long past annoyed at the infighting and wasted majority of the congress by the left.

    March 26, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
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