May 16th, 2008
05:15 PM ET
15 years ago

McCain calls Obama's positions 'reckless'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="McCain said Friday that Obama’s foreign policy was displayed naivete."] (CNN) - Presumptive Republican nominee John McCain swiftly responded to Barack Obama’s foreign policy criticism Friday, calling the Illinois senator’s positions “reckless,” saying Americans had “every reason to doubt” he could keep the country safe.

“Senator Obama claimed all I had to offer was the ‘naive and irresponsible belief’ that tough talk would cause Iran to give up its nuclear program. He should know better,” McCain told the audience at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in Lousville, Kentucky. “I have some news for Senator Obama: Talking, not even with soaring rhetoric, [about] unconditional meetings with the man who calls Israel a ‘stinking corpse’ and arms terrorists who kill Americans will not convince Iran to give up its nuclear program. It is reckless to suggest that unconditional meetings will advance our interests.

“It would be a wonderful thing if we lived in a world where we don't have enemies. But that is not the world we live in, and until Senator Obama understands that reality, the American people have every reason to doubt whether he has the strength, judgment, and determination to keep us safe.”

Earlier Friday Obama told reporters that McCain was deliberately distorting his position, and that he was offended by the tone of President Bush’s controversial remarks before the Israeli Knesset.

“I don’t take what Bush said personally, but I was offended by what is a continuation of a strategy from this White House – now mimicked by Senator McCain - that replaces strategy and analyses and smart policy with bombast exaggerations, and fear mongering. And that is what we heard yesterday,” said Obama.

He also slammed McCain for suggesting that he would hold unconditional talks with the Islamic militant group Hamas, pointing to a new op-ed by Jamie Rubin - a supporter of Hillary Clinton - in which the former State Department official said McCain had advocated unconditional dialogue with the group. (The McCain campaign disputes the charge, saying that Rubin has not included the full context of McCain’s remarks.)

Obama said that any dialogue he would engage in as president with hostile nations like Iran would take the form of “tough diplomacy,” adding that he would “meet with them without preconditions – although with preparation.

“If they are willing to change behavior, then we would offer inducements and benefits diplomatically, and if they don’t then we will continue to ratchet sanctions and isolation on Iran,” he said. “That has been a consistent policy that I have presented throughout – there is no contradiction whatsoever - so I have no idea where it is that they are suggesting that somehow there has been a change in policy.”

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (236 Responses)
  1. The Truth


    May 16, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  2. steveda - poconos

    After the mess the Republicans have made of foreign policy what they thiink abou tthe porper way to handle things is completely irrelevant to me. After 8 years of Bush we are the most hated, disrespected country on the planet. Now the Republicans have the utter gall to say how diplomacy should be handled.

    I have a suggestion about the proper way to handle foreign diplomacy – let the democrats do it!!!!

    May 16, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  3. Doug, Kentucky



    May 16, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  4. Paul

    It looks like he soiled his Depends in that picture.

    May 16, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  5. Naomi

    "Old Man Mcsame and the GOP are officially DONE....They just don't get it. The times are so different today. All the old fear mongering and negative attacks won't work this time.

    May 16, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  6. jm, Hunter, NY

    yeah, what was Obama's wife thinking?

    Huckabee, Bush, Rove, McCain, ... these great statesmen of the 21st century should make us all proud to be Americans.

    The rest of the world must really envy us too. They're probably really happy that these are the men running the most powerful nation on the planet.

    lucky us.

    May 16, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  7. sheila johnson

    if obama, or hillary wins ALL women mays as well start turning in their drivers license, burn their college degrees and start 'burkah' shopping, because neither one of them really have the remotest ability, training, or experience to take on the powers that are determined to do this country in.

    it seems that the obama, in particular really miss the fundamental issue here, and that is that this country has enemies that truly mean to take us down. if osama bin-laden ever had a thought to come to 'the table' and talk things out, he certainly had every opportunity to do so, long before gw came to office. thankd bc.

    bin-laden, and those like him, recognized or otherwise, are not the type to sit down to tea and discuss the issues like reasonable people. that is why they are supporting terrorism, and if you think 9/11 was the end-all, just wait....

    that was a test run, and we are the fools if we think that we can or should glom onto the ideals of left-wing, 'pie-in-the-sky' ideology (that would be the democratic platform) that we can convince them that we can in fact 'all get along.'

    it ain't gonna happen, and it will get uglier for all americans if hillary or obama actually make it into office.

    i have never felt so afraid for this country's safety as i do now. i would vote mccain, as the mature( that does have it's benefits), experienced defender of his country (can't really call that into question, now can we?).

    Really, if you dems think that the older, war heroes have no relevant experience to bring to the table, then why don't YOU go defend this country in the most authentic way a person can, instead of just reaping the benefits of this country's hard fought for freedoms, then you come back and tell us all how to do it. If you really believe that war can be shut down, and never occur again, then i want to smoke what your smoking (can't promise i won't inhale), cause history, and reality...yes that ugly word 'reality' , says it is a neccessary evil, and the best we can do is always be prepared, and that just isn't on the democrats agenda......ever.

    May 16, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  8. amy

    Obama's foreign policy positions I believe will be reckless. Hillary is the best candidate for president and I'll stand with her till the end. She is tough, smart and has a vision for this country that she can
    deliver on. The media made sure a woman wasn't going to get that
    chance. WHAT A SHAME...

    May 16, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  9. gail

    Bush brought us into a reckless war. Cheney doesn't know how to use his hunting rifle properly. Sounds a little reckless to me. Personally, I think we need to have the courage to let somebody try to take this country in a new direction. I am a white, over 50 female, that is "bitter" about what has happened to our country. Let's all find the courage to give Obama a chance to try to bring some dignity back to our country.

    May 16, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  10. mclame

    you have no ideas...
    Bye Bye...
    you're obsolete.

    May 16, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  11. Maxx

    What about McCain's POW experience I read that he was a "songbird" to the viet-cong for special treatment. Is it true? What about Cindy McCains sale of Suden investments why? What about her tax returns? I think that there are too many secrets with McCain he has flip-floped when it suits him. I hope CNN can find veterns who know about his POW days.

    May 16, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
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