May 15th, 2008
10:30 AM ET
14 years ago

Pelosi blasts, McCain defends Bush comments

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[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="McCain and Pelos reacted to the president's speech."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Speaker Nancy Pelosi blasted President Bush's comments Thursday suggesting that Democrats believe "we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals" and suggested Senator John McCain denounce them.

But the presumptive Republican nominee himself defended the remarks, said he intended to make Barack Obama’s willingness to consider dialogue with Iran an issue in the fall campaign, calling on the Illinois senator to “explain [that decision] to the American people.”

“It is a serious error on the part of Senator Obama that shows naiveté and inexperience and lack of judgment - to say that he wants to sit down across the table from an individual who leads a country who says that Israel is a stinking corpse, that is dedicated to the extinction of Israel,” said McCain Thursday. “My question is, what does he want to talk about?”

Pelosi, who is leaving later today on a bipartisan congressional trip to Israel, said there is a "protocol" of not criticizing the President when he is abroad, but then declared, "I think what the president did in that regard is beneath the dignity of the office of president and unworthy of our representation at that observance in Israel."

The California Democrat added that she hopes "any serious person would disassociate themselves from the president's remarks, who aspires to leadership in our country."

But McCain told reporters that Bush’s Thursday remarks made an important point. “It does bring up an issue that we are will be discussing with the American people and that is why does Barack Obama, Senator Obama, want to sit down with a state sponsor of terrorism?” said McCain.

“…I will make this an issue with Senator Obama throughout this campaign, I believe in peace through strength, and peace through strength is the way that we have succeeded in the past.”

Filed under: John McCain • Nancy Pelosi • President Bush
soundoff (330 Responses)
  1. arbab ahmad toronto

    Israel should not be a platform in the GE, US is the platform. Why are all these people going to Israel, it's not on the campaign trail is it? There are 145 other countries we can talk about. This is so because Israel controls a big part of the economy in the US and has their hands in politics also. This is a something our leaders have always had to APPEASE to win, lets change all this and do what is best for americans and americans alone..then we can look at the other countries.

    May 15, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  2. Heidi in Houston

    With yesterday's comments by the RNC Chair Mike Duncan about the bad brand the GOP has become, he has all but given McCain an open invitation to distance himself from Bush. I suggest McCain take him up on the offer or his chances in November are nil. The fear-mongering of the past won't cut it this time. The voters are wise to this game and want a positive message. BOTH potential democratic nominees give us this message.

    People have shown they are hungry for change in this country, not more of the same. I think McCain should begin realizing this or his chances to become the next president will diminish greatly.

    May 15, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  3. Heidi in Houston

    PS: McCain – there's a difference between 'peace through strength' and 'peace through stubbornness', the latter of which is the standard protocol of George W. that has led our country into the bad ecomonical and foreign policy situations in which we find ourselves.

    I've always heard the saying, "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer". While I don't agree with us meeting with terrorists groups, and although Iran's leader talks like one, he is still an officially recognized leader of a soveriegn nation. Constant bullying by the US will only embolden him. There's something to be said by "diplomacy first". Failing that, we can look at more extreme options. However, Bush's policy of "Shoot first, ask questions later" needs to seriously be reconsidered.

    May 15, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  4. Ramz

    ....peace through strength is the way that we have succeeded in the past.

    Yes, our nation has the strongest military in the world. Every soldier is a true American Hero in my eyes, but war alone hasn't brought about peace in Iraq.

    McCain truly is Bush III.

    May 15, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  5. Rohinton Rustomji

    McCain conveniently for forgets that Americans had to sit down with Vietnam to make peace; and that is after carpet bombing and killing between 2.0 and 2.5 million Vietnamese and Cambodians...

    If anyone votes for McCain, please remember that he was invoved in that war and was shot down. In my humble opinion, he wants his FAMILY name back.

    Roy R

    May 15, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
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