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. RB

    Any democrat who wants to leave the party or not vote for Obama if he's the nominee....knock yourself out. Just stop crying about it on these blogs as though the loss of YOU will change reality! Stop your whining. It's over. Deal with it. Move on. Get over it. Grow up. That's life.

    Vote for McCain? All I can do is echo John Wayne: Life is hard...but it's harder if you're stupid!

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

    SCOTT C.--


    we know they need one and two word slogans and insults...

    May 16, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  3. Rich

    John McCain, your straw-men arguments are PATHETIC. Of course Obama understands we have enemies. You must think your supporters are pretty stupid, like they won't ever hear Obama say again and again that we need to talk to our friends AND our enemies.

    But no, John thinks the silent treatment is our best policy option. Fantastic. Well, my options in November couldn't be clearer.

    May 16, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  4. Bill, Streamwood, IL

    At least Karl Rove showed respect for the NRA when he limited his comments about Senator Barack Obama to issues important to the NRA membership.

    Senator John McCain, on the other hand, showed his disrespect for the NRA when he used his appearance to launch an attack on Obama's foreign policy position. Something that, while interesting, has little to do with the NRA's goals and purposes.

    McCain is a sleazy campaigner. He'll smile and stand next to someone who was resposnsible for impliying that Mrs. McCain had drug problems; he'll say he won't go negative and then just that. He also, until 2004, earned only a C+ from the NRA. Since then, however, he has racked up an A rating.

    Why do I believe that his sudden interest in gun-owners rights is a matter of political expediency and not genuine conviction?

    May 16, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  5. joe




    May 16, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |

    good luck writing in Hillary's mane with your diebold machine...

    (geez..... hillary supporters really ARE stupid)....

    May 16, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  7. sandy

    McCain calling Obama reckless is like the pot callling the kettle black as my Grandmother used to say. The Bush Administration and all those who support it are the ones who are reckless. It's really sad what politics have come to in this country. I'm sorry, but John McCain is the reckless person. He is the one who stood on a stage and sang "Bomb,bomb,bomb,bomb,bomb Iran. Now who's reckless?

    May 16, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  8. mike (houston)

    Time for us Hillary supporters to give strong support to McCain. So no to the the terrosist sympathizer Obama.

    May 16, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  9. Hillary

    Must be nice and easy for BO to criticize everyone who has actually spent years working for our country and gotten so much done through their lives, and sit back with little to go after because he HASN"T ACCOMPLISHED ANYTHING! Oh, wait, he was a "community organizer in the south side off Chicago" My kid's PTA president is a community organizer, too. Doesn't mean she's ready to be president!

    It will be interesting to see what the reps bring out from now on. BO better be careful, the more he overreacts like he did today (Bush didn't even use his name) the more the reps will just keep throwing things at him. He will constantly be on defense and look like he's just reactive and guilty of something. The man doth protest too much, methinks!

    May 16, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  10. voice

    What are the results of his prundent "non-reckless" position? More dead, more debt and more suffering! I'm sure by the end of this election year, McCain will prove himself to be a war foot solider, no more no less.

    May 16, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  11. Adam from Mt. Clemens MI.

    Yeah- Lets listen to "flip-flop" McCain about foreign policy.
    There is still a chance we could find ourselves in a worse position in the world. While Bush and company hold hands with Vlad Putin and Prince Abdullah, and call others "evil". It makes me sick.

    May 16, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  12. David, Newport OR

    comments like this will guarantee his loss...I call that reckless on his part

    May 16, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  13. DB

    To all the Baby-Boomers and people over 50.

    This isn't your country anymore it is ours, thanks for leaving it ruined and in debt.

    Think about your children, children's children and the future, instead of when gas was .25 a gallon and stop complaining how life is not fair, a little planning (and LEADERSHIP!) goes a long way.

    May 16, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |

    to the femanists....

    Hillary lost...

    The general election has begun...

    go have a N.O.W. rally...

    In the case of the few of you who are married.. (poor husbands...) have a "not N.O.W. rally . have a stiff drink... burn your bras, and go vote for mcsame so you can stupidly lose your right to choose.

    May 16, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  15. Comedy Central

    Barak has a lot to learn and McCain has a lot to unlearn. Neither one of them will be able to handle world matters. I do not feel safe.

    Write in Hillary 08

    May 16, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  16. Rich

    MICHAEL, I believe the nuance you are missing is that Iran is a recognized nation...terrorist groups are not. Saying you'll meet with the leaders of the former is NOT the same as the latter.

    May 16, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  17. Tech Recruiter

    The GOP is taking Obama's policy out of context once again. The Bush/McCain foreign policy has been disastrous. Not only is our country less safe because of GOP policy but the entire world is less safe. Bush’s “cowboy mentality” has exposed his zero respect for other countries and their leaders. Their “either you’re with us or against us” motto has proved to be not only ineffective but extremely immoral. We need change.

    Obama 08

    May 16, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  18. Lilly

    Obama '08

    May 16, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  19. Eileen

    Obama and his wife still have to answer for their comments. If she is going to get up and make negative political comments about our country then she is fair game. I bet they would like everyone to just drop it. Seeing her in the White House would make me sick. They should stop whining about it. Democrats are all a bunch of sniveling cry babies. Too weak and radical to lead this country. NObama.

    May 16, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  20. Patricia

    Who in the world can take this guy seriously?

    May 16, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  21. Kim, Dallas, TX

    McCain wants to talk reckless? What about his singing about bombing Iran. McCain is nothing more than a continuation of using fear to win an election and ignorance to continue our foreign policy. I want someone willing to use diplomatic means first and then if that doesn't work, go ahead and set consequences or use other strategies. I do not want someone who thinks bombing first is the best strategy. Bush, McCain, Cheney, Rumsfeld, you have made a mess of our country and WE WANT CHANGE!!!!!

    May 16, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  22. Hey BIFF

    BIFF. Go check out the lies in his books. I'll give you a start, look up "Selma got me born" ...."After reading an article in Ebony, no wait, Time" ......and lovely "The Kennedy's brought my father to America"
    If you want more, just ask 🙂 I'll be glad to direct you to many others.
    BTW, you sound very mean.

    May 16, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  23. Janel, St. Paul, MN

    From all I've read on these blogs, it is clear that the GOP is going to play even dirtier than Hillary in the upcoming election.

    I'm disgusted with McCain, Huckabee and that big mouth Rove.

    They are talking like junior high kids – cracking silly jokes and spreading slander.

    I can't imagine anyone with sense buying into all this garbage.

    May 16, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |

    Reckless??? are you kidding me???

    mccaine is incredible... he's one to speak....

    Every been around a 72 year old man after iced cream and geritol....


    May 16, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  25. Alex

    I was a diehard Hillary supporter but feel she just doesn’t have the #s for the nomination now. I’ve switched to supporting Obama because his values and principals are a lot more in line that McCain’s by a long shot!

    Don’t let the Republicans simple minded plan of divide and conquer work. We need to stand together and stand tall for a positive change in November 08

    Democrats in 08!!

    May 16, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
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