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. Leslie in Colorado

    Hey, McCain! Huckabee is the one who is wreckless!

    May 16, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  2. Mike

    If I recall, President John F. Kennedy spoke directly with the Soviet leader, Khrushchev and stopped a nuclear war from happening on several occasions and gained respect from actually meeting face to face with him. So to say that Obama is being reckless is completely untrue. What he's being is actually caring for not just our country but for our enemy's country as well. He cares enough for the entire human race that he wants no war to strike any people, instead of thinking only about our own.

    May 16, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  3. leave the party

    If Obama is the democratic nominee- by hook and by crook- I will never vote for him.

    I will leave the corrupt Democratic party.

    May 16, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  4. karela

    The straight talker lies through his teeth and he knows it-–CNN knows it too. Why aren't they playing their own interview with McCain when he clearly says that U.S. should talk to Hamas? Let's see the same kind of saturation you gave the clips of Hillary when she fibbed about Bosnia and like you did with Obama's bitter. You don't even have to look hard CNN. It's your own video. Let's see some endless loops of McCain in his own words on talking to Hamas. McCain absolutely knows that Obama explicitly said that he would not talk to Hamas because it's a terrorist organization. Obama spoke very clearly on it just a few weeks ago when Jimmy Carter went to the mid-east. In case CNN doesn't play their clip, you can hear it on Huffington Post. Big story there. It's news after all.

    May 16, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |

    McCain to his handlers"

    "so....... the plan is...... to just LIE about what he said, right"?

    May 16, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  6. Tim

    As a canadian I find American polictics completely crazy every single word in spun to make it whatever they want to be regardless if it is true or not. Plus the media is terrible all they do is report all of these distortions as fact. Barack has in his mind that he wants to talk to friends and enemies a like. McCain just wants to talk to friends, That is it but because Barack wants to do that he is reckless and McCain is out of touch. The sooner all of you try to stop being so manipulative with the truth and actually try to get something accomplished the sooner the rest of the world won't see this whole thing as a complete joke.

    May 16, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  7. No Obama

    Heck... 17 million democrats agree.
    The democrats are doomed... unless...
    We all write in Hillary Clinton.

    May 16, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  8. Ardnuas

    McCain has a 20th century mentality.... Obama has a 2lst century mentality....McCain is FULL of hate and anger.... voters BEWARE!!!!!
    Obama/Hagel ( I want Chuck Hagel to be VP)

    May 16, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  9. Fed_up2

    Psssssst. Hey John........We heal by communicating. There's a crack in your crystal ball.

    May 16, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  10. HillarySkank on myspace

    Mr McCain, here is a question about being reckless......why would someone vote of questionable control of his mind. You voted for the war in Iraq, you continue to support the war and you predict we will be in Iraq for 100 years (except that some of the troops will be home by 2013....but you can't promise are only guessing. Putting the country in your deminished brain capabilities is a reckless way of improving our nation's health.

    You have bought in to the Rove/Bush/Republican lies and hate. I am now wondering what made you more of a hero than the least of the American men and women currently serving in the military in Iraq or other places today. Is it because you managed to get yourself shot down?

    May 16, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  11. Michele

    Reckless? HA! That's rich. Pot, kettle, I don't believe you two have met.

    May 16, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  12. Richard

    Obama is reckless and that happens when you do not know what you are talking about. Listen carefully to Obama's press conference today and you'll see that he is criticizing the same position that he is taking....negotiate with pre-conditions....the twist he made was in calling it 'preparations'.............I do believe Obama's strategy is to bamboozled and confused people with words..flip flopping all over the place..........I noticed that some of the reporters kept asking for clarification because they were too confused and unsure what the difference between what he was suggesting he would do is with Mccain.

    May 16, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  13. A CANUCK

    Poor old McCain .......he just can't compete with Obama's brilliant , young mind !!!! The debates are going to be amazing......I can hardly wait !!!

    May 16, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  14. pulled the wool

    Ironically, Obama is the most hypocritical, lying politician ever.

    Yet half of all the democrats have fallen for his lies and excuses.

    He has done nothing for his country.

    Yes, he's reckless.

    May 16, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  15. kayla

    mr.mccain, may i remind you that all you know about is war. that is the only experience you have methusela.

    May 16, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  16. enomisa

    Ask not what you can do for Obama, ask what has Obama ever done for his country?

    May 16, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  17. democracy lover

    The American people deserve an honest discussion about the issues. It's clearly "dishonest" what Present Bush said yesterday and wrong for McCain to repeat the same "tired rhetoric" again today. The facts are indisputable. We need a change from demonizing our adversaries both foreign and domestic. We need to do whatever we can to avoid needless lost of life and treasure. Both Republicans and Democrats should be working together. Our problems are too big for anything less.

    That being said, I appreciate McCain's service to our country, but I do feel like it's "Groundhog Day" whenever he speaks about foreign policy. Sometimes, the "toughest" thing to do is show restraint and talk with our enemies. Great leaders learn how to strike a balance between using force and diplomacy.

    After six years of endless war in two countries, inconsistent foreign policy, rising gas and food prices, not to mention, the lack of an effective domestic (education, health care, environment) agenda, I'm ready for a BIG change!!!

    OBAMA '08

    May 16, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |

    hey, (Never Obama)...

    obama doesn't lie... He doesn't change his story.... Just because you and the re-thuglicans are too stupid to understood what he said and he then breaks it down sesame st. style so you can....

    doesn't make him a liar, or a changer of stories...


    May 16, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  19. Deb, IN

    I Love how Obama is ready to DEBATE either George Bush or John McCain anywhere, anythime on foreign policy......LOL (just so long as he doesn't have to DEBATE Hillary Clinton on the same issues)

    What a SISSY!!!!!!!!!

    May 16, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  20. Michele

    Reckless? HA! That's rich. Pot, kettle, I don't believe you two have met.

    May 16, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  21. Jamie

    Oh dear, here we go again. Scott C is having a hissy fit because of criticism against Obama. It's called free speech – does Obama and his supporters want to use the race card or cry foul and say it's bias. All opinion is biased. How stupid are you? Grow up. People are entitled to their opinions and can state the facts as they see it. Obama is a cry baby and you don't have the right to deny anyone their 1st Amendment rights.

    May 16, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  22. ED FL

    The real Obama showed up at the press conference today and he was absolutley terrible .He looked great when he came out earlier with a prepared speech. He was real bad on his feet when he had to answer off the cuff non-rehearsed questions. He stuttered and was unsure of how and when to answer and the real inexperienced politician showed up. Mccain ate him up and that was only an example of what he will get from the GOP. Hillary never looked or sounded better. NO BAMA showed his inferiority in the political arena today in his first attempt to combat long time republican liars and cheats. LONG TIME UNTIL NOVEMBER!!!!!!

    May 16, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  23. Kim

    McCain is a clown.

    May 16, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  24. David Goldman for OBAMA



    May 16, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  25. Alex

    Im reading a few posts about how they would never vote for Obama even though they’re democrats. If you were truly a dem and believed in the values and principals we stand for you would vote for whichever dem was on the ticket. Are you really that narrow and pride driven to give your vote to mccain? Wise up..dont sink to the level of stupidity that most republicans dwell at. Vote for truth and change. Vote Democratic and for a positive future!

    Democrat's in 08!!!

    May 16, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
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