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. Linda, Kansas City, MO

    If no Hillary I'm voting for McCain.The sweetie comment did it for me. I'm sorry but I don't excuse that. Even Bush the worst president ever never called a female reporter sweetie. Obama has more excuses...and more excuses. So he's a racist and a sexist. I had a funny feeling about...

    May 16, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  2. TonyNJ

    Mr. McCain is an honorable man who served his country well beyond the normal duty one must render to their country during times of war. It is a sad state of affairs, that our country now faces troubles, which compelled this warrior to serve his country once again. If Hillary Clinton does not receive the nomination of her political party, a party of which many are finding to ignore the people who have supported it in the past, both many others as well as myself will be casting our votes for Mr. McCain in the general election.

    May 16, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  3. 58 white old ladies


    May 16, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  4. Helena

    McCain was quoted as saying not too long ago: "The lives of the American troops that have been lost in Iraq were worth it because we got rid of Saddam Hussein". No more liars or warmongers in the White House!

    OBAMA 08

    May 16, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  5. Independent White Guy

    Now that it's obvious that Hillary has lost her bid for the Democratic nomination her female supporters are behaving like spoiled children. Stop being so snarky "sweeties" and join the winning team. Hillary would have had a chance at becoming the vice president if she hadn't been so vicious over the past couple of months. She is nearly gone from the news cycle. So much for a graceful exit.

    May 16, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  6. Don

    I wonder . . . would Obama go meet Amadididuwap with or without the flag pin. Better yet, maybe he'd wear an Iranian flag. Wouldn't want to hurt the guys feeling . . . LOL

    McCain 08 . . . all the way.

    May 16, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  7. Linda, Kansas City, MO


    May 16, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  8. patti

    I don't know what's funnier. Crusty old McCain, dumbazz Bush or the entire war mongering electorate.

    May 16, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    Yes, because we all want another warmongering president. I, for one, am sick of our troops dying in Iraq. Nope, we don't feel like trying to convince them to stop, so lets just shoot or capture/torture them. Sounds like Bush.....

    May 16, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  10. Hey ALEX

    For all of you freaking out about Hillary's supporters voting for McCain, we will do so because we are very MODERATE democrats. We do exits, and we do not agree with very liberal views. That's it in a nutshell. For instance, you can try all you want to scare us about McCain and Roe v Wade, but I'd rather have someone who will control late-terms. BO one voted that it would be ok to kill a late-term baby if it survived the abortion. That just seems to much like murder to me. If late-terms are allowed like that, we have a serious problem with our morality.

    May 16, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  11. KE

    "I want to negotiate," he said when there was no option left for him.
    In the cave he hid himself with stacks of American dollar.
    "I want to negotiate," he said. He was on his own this time, no friends and no guards. Even his dog by him looked scared when he was in power.

    A word "negotiate" to some people have very different meanings.

    May 16, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  12. informed voter

    Do you mean 'without preconditions'? I'm sure that's what you meant..

    Meeting with or without preconditions is still a far cry from being an 'appeaser'. Maybe,just maybe, he was not being a hypocrite, but instead realized that he didn't in fact say what he meant. I'm just saying the possibility is there.

    But it is really ridiculous to parse words in this regard, I believe.

    On to the real issue, though. The foreign policy that ignores and rebuffs the very idea of diplomacy is not only reckless, it's dangerous.

    May 16, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  13. G from the A

    That's right John , good one. That beats the rest of the Republican platform of " Obama has cooties" argument .........

    Obama 08

    May 16, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  14. Chris, Silicon Valley, CA, USA

    Democrats: take a look at Nader.
    Republicans: take a look at Bob Barr.
    These are better choices than McCain & Obama.

    May 16, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  15. Trollmaster

    Didn't McCain support the Iraq war that created more terrorists and have the terrorists follow us into Iraq when there were none there to begin with?

    McCain needs to justify why he supported the Iraq war in the first place. Notice he never does in his speeches.

    May 16, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  16. shar

    Be careful Sen McCain, Obama or should we say, obaby, will have his people and the media, esp cnn say you are being mean to him and he'll go in the corner and pout!!! They'll say your playing dirty and Obama's above that...above that my foot – he's the worst offender...wake up democrats before it's too late!!

    May 16, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  17. Chut Pata

    The only reckless thing is supporting the reckless war in Iraq that had doomed this country.

    Bush sunk the economic superpower into recession, McCain would sink it into depression. That is reckless!

    May 16, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Yes, it was reckless to invade Iraq over faulty intelligence.

    Oh wait....

    That was the GOP!

    Unite, my fellow Democrats, no matter who you support, and let's take back this country from cowboy diplomacy.

    Democratic Unity '08

    May 16, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  19. informed voter

    Mike in Houston....

    What in the world?! McCain and HIllary are as different as night and day! How can one say that if they can't vote for her, they'll vote for someone that is against everything she stands for and has worked most of her adult life for??

    That makes so sense to me. If you so easily switch like that, maybe you should examine your real reason for supporting her, because it's sure not her platform.

    Terrorist sympathizer? SOmeone else says write her in? Don't compalin when McCain calls on you to make the ultimate sacrifice since you so easily thrust that upon others.

    That is totally sad and upsetting. No wonder world wide we are thought of as idiots...

    May 16, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  20. Linned

    Senator McCain changes with the wind. You ask him the same question next week and he will give you a different answer. Let's hope that he doesn't become President.

    The Karl Rove storyline had closed before I could get to it. He need not comment on the bitter comment or flag pin – as he may be arrested if he doesn't willingly go and testify in the Don Siegelman case of Alabama. So, he has absolutely no room to talk.

    May 16, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  21. Te

    Is it safe to say that Pastor Hagee will be driving the straight talk express in order to run over the latte liberals ??

    May 16, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  22. John

    No what is reckless is voting for a war lead under lies and deception. Cutting taxes for the rich when the middle and poor are struggling, lying on the to the less educated American people for the past eight years when they are too dumb to know you are working against them. John Mccain almost had my vote in 2000 but this is a different person altogether. He's given into the evil emperor.

    May 16, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  23. Obama Supporter




    May 16, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  24. Ron

    It's too bad the Rev Wright clips have eclipsed the Rezko dealings at least for now. I'd like to know more about that real estate deal, but guess we'll have to wait until after the convention, when McCain's forces will bring out what they've learned from months of investigation. It makes me really expect there is more to it, because they've not been talking about it, as if they are saving the Rezko ammunition for the general election campaign.

    Oh well, Democrats have self destructed before, what's four more years of Repubs? What's a few more tax breaks for wealthy corporations? Another decade or so of Iraq & its Republican contractors milking us of tax dollars we don't really have to spend on it? I am resigned to it happening, if McCain doesn't make huge mistakes.

    May 16, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  25. Ellen from New York

    Fellow Obamanians-we've got a problem-Al Qaeda is not going to go away-so we have a choice of fighting them over there or bringing our troops home in which case we'll have to fight them here-let's keep the fight over there so we don't have to drive to work in armored cars--Let's hear from you on this!!!

    May 16, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
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