May 16th, 2008
05:15 PM ET
14 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. kanly

    I do so love how CNN stories bring out you kool-aid drinking Obama-ites to defend your helpless and worthless chump of a candidate. He's not even going to beat Hillary out for the nomination and you think he has a shot at the Presidency?

    I hope you enjoy chewing on crow with your kool-aid.

    May 16, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  2. nick, sd

    What's funny to me is that this quote that Bush is using was made by a Republican senator at the time and no one has seemed to blast push about having to use the exclaimation of a former member of his party to try and jab at the Dems. Go Reps you must have it all figured out.

    Bush is an idiot and so is McCain

    May 16, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  3. HRC is best

    I agree.

    I prefer HRC's foreign policy position.
    I prefer HRC's health care policy.
    I appreciate everything HRC has done for children, women and minorities.

    Why would I vote for reckless, hypocritical, lying Obama?

    I will write in Hillary Clinton in Nov.

    May 16, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  4. Montana is Obama Country

    isn;t it... IRONIC.. coming from a man dubbed.. SONGBIRD McCain by his vet buddies..

    McBush has not morals and should be ashamed for giving confidential information to the enemy during the Veitnam War during his POW era..

    McBush is more of the MCSAME......

    May 16, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  5. Alex

    Is this guy out of his mind! Are ALL republicans out of their minds!!! Its unbelievable and incredibly offensive that any of them would have ANYTHING to say about foreign policy after committing one of the biggest foreign policy blunders in the history of the United States!

    May 16, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  6. Jeanne

    To McCain, common sense & good judgement might seem reckless but I think it shows poor judgement not to consider all the options. You might have a better chance of bringing change to Iran, if you appeal to the people of Iran, rather than threatening to bomb them. There's no quicker way to unite a country against you than to threaten it's people.

    May 16, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  7. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah

    I bet you the GOP wish they had picked someone else other eddie monster!

    May 16, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  8. Andrew

    McCain, Bush and the other Republicans, except for Hagel, Lugar, etc., just don't get it. It was in the past 8 years that Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran became stronger, and as a direct result of American policy. Iran has been the greatest beneficiary of the War in Iraq and it was paid with American blood and money. Al-Qaeda is regrouping and is stronger now than in 2003. Actions speak louder than words. This is a war of ideas and we're losing. Bush and McCain have no idea how to win.

    May 16, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  9. Obama sucks

    Obama is totally unqualified to be president.

    For the first time in 35 years, I will break with the democratic party.

    I will NEVER vote for Obama.

    I will remember how he stole the primary from HRC.

    He is reckless, sneaky, sleazy and sly.


    May 16, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  10. MT

    Crazy Oldman!!! Greatest flipflopper on earth!!!

    Mr. McCAIN: I think it's very appropriate that Colin Powell is going to Syria. I think we should put diplomatic and other pressures on them.I think they're–they're sponsoring and harboring terrorists.... but I don't think that that means that we will now resort to the military action. We–we can apply a lot of pressure other than military–than the military action. So what I'm saying, we're a long way away from it.

    May 16, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  11. Dr. Truth, Boston

    Deciding to bomb Iran before you are even president is reckless!

    Deciding to its a good idea to cut gas tax without having a way to pay for it is reckless!

    Having an affair with your wife is reckless!

    You are a MONSTER

    May 16, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  12. enomisa

    17 Million Democrats agree with you.

    We will not vote for Obama, either.

    May 16, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  13. greenfun

    McCain is right. Clinton is a better candidate for the general election. Mr lefty liberal with Wright and all his flip/flopping are going to take a beating.

    May 16, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  14. Maxine

    This coming from a man who stood by the President with WMDs. :Let's charge into all these countries and just blast the hell out of them. In and Out right MCCAIN.......100 years later we will still be in IRAQ, IRAN and the rest of the ME.

    May 16, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  15. Bob

    Invading a country on false pretenses and getting 4000 or your countrymen killed isn't reckless? Let's see how that strategy plays out against the much bigger country of Iran, I'm sure it'll work wonders. SMART people talk and reason, MORONS who are more concerned about looking macho bomb and invade.

    May 16, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  16. bruno

    The truth is Clinton is the best option of the three!!

    May 16, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  17. no longer voting democratic

    I have always voted for the democratic nominee.
    But not this time.
    If Obama is the DEM nominee, I will not vote for him.
    Hillary Clinton is better in EVERY way.
    I can find NO reason to vote for Obama.

    May 16, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  18. Spider


    Lose- the opposite of win.
    Loose- the opposite of tight.

    Sounds so stupid, coming from the "intellectual" Obominations, when they say something like, "She's a looser", or "you have nothing to loose".

    It might be correct to say "Obama will loose his mind", because it is wrapped so tight around the empty promises of "Hope" and "Change" it does need to loosen up and find room for some actually ideas on how to accomplish these things.

    May 16, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  19. Richard, St. Paul, MN

    More senile delusions from this creepy old Republican. Can't wait for the November vote so we can rid the government of all the corrupt and inept Republicans who've screwed everything up during the last eight years.

    May 16, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  20. Brien

    This is disgraceful! This is a well planned well orchistrated attack by the GOP in the most inappropriate way. The President is being used as a stone thrower and what makes it worse is that hes throwing stones at Americans in a foreign parliment. Then the rest of the GOP band wagon follows.

    How shameful! This sort of attack is BELOW the office of the President and anyone who seeks to hold that office!

    May 16, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  21. Michigan Voter !!!

    This Democrat Thinks McCain Is Right !!! . Obama Doesn't Have A Clue How To Handle ANTI- AMERICAN Foreign Goverments , Obama Just Wants Join In The America Bashing !!!!!!!

    Obama/Wright Idealogy !!!!!

    May 16, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  22. Beth

    Reckless? So what you'd rather subscribe to is "shoot em all and let God sort them out"?

    May 16, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  23. B - NY

    He is reckless.
    And... Highly inexperienced.
    And... Can ANYONE please tell us just three things that Obama has done for our country? His State?

    Did not think so...

    May 16, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |

    McCain should not use the word reckless because just him running for President is a reckless thing for him to do at his age. Yeah I said it, don't regret it, so don't forget it!

    May 16, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  25. Bad news for Obama

    The REALLY bad news for Obama is that more than 50% of the Democrats don't like Obama either.

    Many dems will not vote for this demagogue.

    May 16, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
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