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. Michigan Voter !!!

    WE Want A President Who Will Lead Our Country , Not Change It !!!!!
    America Has A Constitution !!!! .


    Obama , BEFORE you Go Playing " GOTCHA GAMES " With JOHN McCain , You Better Get Your FACTS STRAIGHT !!!! . LIAR!!!!!

    May 16, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  2. Mike from CA

    No more reckless then you wanting us to continue going into more and more debt with your 100 yr war McSame.

    May 16, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  3. eric, minnesota

    Obama is the wreckless one, huh? Well, I dont hear him out speaking to a group of people singing "BOMB, BOMB, BOMB, BOMB, BOMB IRAN!!!1" Now that sounds pretty wreckless to me. So McInsane should just take his meds and take a nap. He's the wreckless war mongerer, who has no shot to win this election. The Dems could be running McGovern with Dukais as a veep and they would still win. OBAMA 08

    May 16, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  4. Joe

    Obama is a bandwagon candidate, so why don't you all just jump aboard. It's the cool thing to do. You know, instead of reading the article and making decisions for yourself.

    Either Democratic candidate will wreck this country even more if elected. Wasn't a Democrat house and senate supposed to fix all of the worlds problems; make America #1 again? Oh, I forgot that it was too long ago, I guess its no longer cool to think about.

    May 16, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  5. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    Hillary is nice now.

    Rove is on Obama's back.

    Are they interchangeable?

    Wasn't Rove in Deliverance crawling up the hill squeeling? Or ……..

    Yep – that was him !!!!!

    May 16, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  6. Adam

    same old tactics, same old politics ... not this time Mr. McCain

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

    I respected McCain as a vet. However, he is now a GOP Marionette puppet. When GOP pulls a string, McCain barks. He lost my vote as an independent, as a maverick that he claims to be.

    NO to McCain and NO to Bush's third term!

    May 16, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  8. Sharon Minnesota

    There are so many people that agree with Sen McCain's position on National Security that will not vote for Barack Obama on this issue alone.

    Then you have the voters that have been insulted by Obama's elitist remarks who number in the hundreds of thousands who won't vote for him.

    Then you have the Republican right wing evangelicals that will fall in line come November and vote for John McCain.

    Then you have the ex-Clinton supporters that have had it with the Democratic party's liberal agenda with Barack Obama's nomination and the shameful way they treated their candidate of choice that will not vote for Barack Obama.

    The you have thousands and thousands of people who are fed up with gas prices and John McCain offered some relief but Barack Obama pooh poohed the tax relief offered because he looked down his nose at an 18 – 20 cent reduction in prices. Those people were willing to drive from Wisconsin to Minnesota, sit in line for 45 minutes all for a few pennies of savings at a gas station. Do you think they will vote for him. NO

    So, I don't get your point by calling Sen. McCain names and acting like teenagers on these posts. You did it to Sen. Clinton, it worked but not going to with the GOP attack machine. They do no care!!!

    May 16, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  9. Joe Reg

    The Bush Mcain with his temper will not go anywhere.

    The repubs are running scare.

    They are going down hill.

    May 16, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  10. B ESS

    It's become obvious that John McCain is just a blowhard, hot-headed, little want-to-be a tough guy, that consistently flip-flops on issues, and accuses opponents of doing his game.

    He said in 2006, that yes, it would be a good idea to meet with Hamas leaders, since they have been elected, Palestine.

    Now, he states that Barack Obama is a complete fool for wanting to meet with Hamas leaders, since they are terrorists.

    The World sees through your small games Johnny-Boy.

    This is only your most recent flip-flop, and many more will be brought to light, you small liitle man.

    May 16, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  11. Rich In Seattle

    This is great. The more McCain talks and walks like a typical dumb Republican, the more he will go down in flaims like the rest of them have been.

    When McCain was the outsider of the Republican he wasn't totally stupid, now pulling the party line doesn't fit will with him and looks awkward.

    I am so glad that Obama is running up against this old coot.

    May 16, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  12. Carolyn







    May 16, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  13. John

    Total chaos at the front-Obama,McCain camps are disintergrating.piece by piece! Wow what a difference a day makes?Hillary Clinton,is at a proximity to seperate the squables between the two.Tell me now. Who is more presidential? Hillary Clinton is,and will win the GE,when it comes around.

    May 16, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  14. Spider


    Another Obama "intellectual".

    I think I'll write in Hillary's name, not sure the election officials would accept her mane. Write ins are still legal in this country even when using a machine. Check into it.

    It's "feminists" I know the word female comes to mind, a strange thing for you I'm sure, but it is spelled differently.

    The Republican nominee for President of the United States does not spell his name with an "e".

    "Ice cream" not "iced cream". You can verify that next time you run out the door screaming and laughing when the "Good Humor" man comes by.

    May 16, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  15. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    I'm thinking all the young folks, and some of us old folks, are tired of politics as usual.

    Vote the rascals out of the Senate and Congress –


    Time for a MAJOR change.

    May 16, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  16. ne, Pa.

    If anyone is reckless it's evil little McBush who wants to bomb everybody.
    The man is a mental case.

    May 16, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  17. Proudly Independent

    I am an independent. In the year 2000, I supported McCain over Bush and Gore. The 2008 version of McCain is not the same. I am supporting Barack Obama in 2008. The get tough, cowboy, United States against the world foreign policy has left the U.S. less safe than 8 years. I have been saddened by the fact that McCain over the last 8 years became lap dog to Bush. McCain has so much promise. Where is McCain 2000.

    The relationship with the U.S. allies is much weaker than 8 years ago. The terrorists are even more bitter and determined than 8 years ago. The Bush doctrine of going it alone and saying it is us versus them is a disgrace. Talking to your enemy is not appeasement. Obama has said that preparatory steps have to be made before he would meet with Iran or other countries that are enemies of the U.S.

    Meeting with your enemies can really clarify exactly each sides position. Reagan met with Soviet Union leaders. He dialogued with them and he stayed firmed in his direct talks. He did not cave in. That was real leadership. Obama should do the same with Iran and other rogue nations. Talk with them but stand firm.

    We do not need four years of U.S going it alone and getting our soldiers killed. The U.S needs to be rebuild allot of relationships across the globe so that there when armed conflict occurs there will be coalition of nations fighting with the U.S and not only U.S. soldiers.

    May 16, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  18. No McSame

    ..attacking Michelle Obama, is small. How about his drug addicted wife, and her hiding her tax returns, and her investments in Darfur?

    How about stating "100 more years would be fine...", "a timetable is a surrender".

    Now, "I will have our boys back by the end of my first term." How about it, Flipper?

    May 16, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  19. Thomas

    What else is the desperate GOP going to do? They've already tried to tie Obama to Wright, Hamas, Carter. What's next? Are they going to tie him to Adolf Hitler and accuse him of being anti semitic. The GOP is desperate because they know they put a 72 old man as their nominee that is in the early stage of Alzheimer that has 0 chance of winning. What else is next? Are they going to air attack ads in the South playing on the racial card against Obama. Or are they going to hire thugs to intimate young and black voters to stay away from the polls? This year they are going to do anything to win.

    May 16, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  20. Sonny

    Gee Whiz, with all the references to Bush/McCain you'd think he was already in the White House. What exactly is it about a president of one country publically calling for the ABSOLUTE destruction of another country that you all don't understand? Oh, yeah, that's right, the Holocaust never happed – right....

    Yep, the destruction of Israel would definately be 'change' alright.

    It's obvious most of you don't have a clue of what the middle east issues are all about and Obama is at the top of the list. I believe that Clinton and McCain very well may have at least a basic understanding, but none of them have the ability to 'change' any of this. Never will, just as it is in Iraq, change must come from within and that would require they stop hating each other – something that even the Islamic's cannot do within their own societies. it's been going on for 100's of years.

    I'm neither a Dem or a Rep, just a voter who believes both parties completely suck and could care less about us in reality. It's all about power. Period. Obama, Clinton and McCain are all the same, just different shoes.

    May 16, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  21. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    I think that PA and WV will vote for Rove for VICE ..........

    May 16, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  22. Gene

    This whole thing is ridiculous. We as Americans have 3 choices on how to deal with foreign crisis. We can A) Blow our enemies off the face of the earth, killing millions of innocent civilians. We can B) open diplomatic channels and try to talk to our enemies and work out some sort of agreement. Or... we can do like every other politician seems to want to do... C) Bury our heads in the sand and wait for real trouble before doing anything about it.

    Why is it reckless to talk to our enemies? Why would someone be called a coward for talking to our enemies. If anything... I think it's the smartest, and bravest thing we can possibly do... and most likely the most effective.

    May 16, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  23. Helen, NY

    I know that CNN will publish comments from all liberals who do not have any decency. They use some filthy words to criticize John McCain, Karl Rove and others. CNN likes to publish these comments while they moderate and reject our comments.

    Democrats including Obama are desperate. They do not know what to do so they want to attack John McCain and our elected president George W. Bush. Obama will go to any extend with his rhetoric. He has a big mouth but no substance and all liberals are getting carried away. These guys who comment here are ignorant with one track mind. They are saying Obama 08. I am sure Ameircan people are decent and they will throw him from the stage in November.

    May 16, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  24. tom

    can somebody check on Mcsane's health I am worried, let's be careful we might intertain a crazy old persom in the white house and we will all not want the out come he should produce his latest medical records this Mcsaine is insaine

    May 16, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  25. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    May 16th, 2008 7:33 pm ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    I think that PA and WV will vote for Rove for VICE ……….again

    May 16, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
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