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. Rhae - Oklahoma

    McCain's right. If Obama thinks it's such a good idea I wish he'd go before November.

    May 16, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  2. Joe Reg

    I have republicans sickness.

    They need to be purged.

    The repubs are going down hill.

    May 16, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  3. Helen, NY

    One more thing. Can CNN or anybody tell American people why Obama's adviser was linked to Hamas? When it came to light, Obama sacked him. However behind the curtain Obama is still linked with Hamas. Wake up America before it is too late.

    May 16, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  4. Charles, Memphis, TN

    Typical Republican speech: fear, fear, fear, terror, doubt, fear, fear, uncertainty, fear, terror, terror, fear, doubt, fear, fear, fear, terror, doubt, fear, fear, uncertainty, fear, terror, terror, fear, doubt, fear, fear, fear, terror, doubt, fear, fear, uncertainty, fear, terror, terror, fear, doubt...

    May 16, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  5. 58 white old ladies for OBAMA




    R i i i i g h t.

    May 16, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  6. Relevant

    All Obama has to do this fall is stand there being the honorable man he is, and wait and watch while McCain self-destructs.

    McCain couldn't beat a one-armed man in a clapping contest.

    May 16, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  7. Hypocrit

    Obama is now lying about his position. He DID clearly state in a debate that he would meet with our enemies- without any PRE-conditions.

    Obama is dangerous because he is a clever and sneaky liar.

    He keeps reshaping his positions.


    May 16, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  8. Steve Sosebee

    The Rev. Wright was more right than most of us would admit! The USA has made more enemies with our failed foreign policies under this idiot Bush! Wake up before its too late and put someone with a brain in the Whitehouse, not the same retarded insane policies we have now!

    May 16, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  9. Linda

    Did you hear what he said? Obama's not just going to say " Hey, let's meet over cookies and milk and work this out". There will be talks and requirements before the meeting. He clearly listed the some conditions that have to be meet. The point is he's not going to go guns ablazing like others we know.

    May 16, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  10. Tony, Miami

    It must be scary to leave in your vicinity. wow. Have you ever been evaluated by a psychiatrist? If not you should the sooner the better.

    As Cindy cannot go against her husband openly she tried to prevent us by saying McShame is a rekless driver. Clearly she meant don't put him behind the wheel of the country.

    May 16, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  11. Appeaser

    Of course Obama is an appeaser.

    He tries to be all things to all people.

    Can't do that without lying and backpeddling on your own positions.

    Look at Wright.
    Look at Bitter.
    Look at his stand on meeting with our enemies.

    17 million democrats will not vote for Obama.

    May 16, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  12. DY

    I will NEVER vote for Obama. John McCain has my vote if Hillary doesn't get the nomination.

    The superdelegates should consider this seriously as this WILL happen for many democrats!

    May 16, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  13. Sue in MI

    1. The "fear" prophesies worked very well for Rove in 2000 and 2004.
    2. Rove thinks it will play well again.
    3. Fear/national security gets McCain elected.
    4. Congress is finally ruled by the Democrats, who indict the whole lot of them.
    5. President McCain pardons them all before they serve a day for their treason to this country and war crimes against humanity.
    6. VOTE DEMOCRATIC, and do it fast or bombing Iran will be the least of the crimes that continue in the US and abroad perpetrated by this government.

    May 16, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  14. Chris-AZ

    Yea McCain, I hear you. Not talking to these people has really helped us over the last 7.5 years. By not talking these people, we have made extensive progress. We have gained Middle East peace, Iran is now our friend, Iraq is a great democracy., Israel is no longer threatened by terrorists ..wait, who am I kidding.

    This is why I will not vote republican. A smart person would attempt to use every tool available to him or her to bring peace to a region desperately in need of it. And guess what, that includes dialog too. Let me ask this to any one who takes John McCain seriously; What has NOT talking to these people brought us as Americans? Ask your self's a little straight friends...

    May 16, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  15. oletu form denmark

    the world is tired of america and thier policies, they should know that things are not the same as in the past, it is time to be wise . the best way to make the world say is to talk with all friends and enemies, there is no harm in talking .
    time that the bully get things done is long gone.

    May 16, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  16. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    Hope all the kids in WV and PA and OH are too old to be drafted – here we go again!!!!!!!

    Rove is back for McShame

    May 16, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  17. Tim

    How to Sum up John McCain:
    Bush Policys
    Clinton Campaigning

    May 16, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  18. Sue in MI

    If Obama is "reckless" what does that make Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove, the Justice Dept., the CIA, Blackwater.?...I know...CRIMINALS!

    May 16, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  19. Jack

    Wow, he is losing his bearings, this is sad, i really admire this man McCain however either he is a bold face liar taking cues from the Rove tactical campaigning books or seriously losing his bearing as is evident each time he retorts..., and BJ, no, Obama never said that!

    May 16, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  20. nitro

    Do the republicans think speaking tough words in front of th NRA make someone affraid. By the time the american people get through with them they will need the NRA. Wheres Charlton Hestan.

    May 16, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  21. bernice

    Hey Clinton supporters, ever felt like your candidate is no loner relevant? That's because she is? Go join the idiots at the GOP!!

    May 16, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  22. Kentucky

    I can;t help feeling a little like an inferior being when I read the Roderick of the Republican party comments. Its as if I have been on another planet for the last eight years and someone is trying desperately to tell me in there version why everything is so screwed up in the world,I have news for the GOP, I was here and I know why. VOTE for OBAMA this November and maybe we will get things on track again.

    May 16, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  23. jafus

    Will someone remind Sen MCCain that President Eisenhower responded with dialogue with Khrushchev when he told Western diplomat Henry Cabot Lodge that we will bury you(talking about the US), President Kennedy responded with dialogue and negotiated with Khrushchev when it was learned that nuclear weapons were 90 miles off the coast of Florida, President Nixon responded with dialogue with China when they said they were going to destroy the US.

    May 16, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  24. Marco

    McCain and Bush are making us enemies! In the 80's Americans were viewed as beacon of the world! Now I can't even travel the world because McCain and Bush are making us enemies at every corner of the world. Get these neo-conservatives or more like fascist behaving people out and return America back to its great and wonderful people!

    May 16, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  25. J.W. of Mississippi

    McCain, America don't want you & the World don't want you. We have had enough of your kind.

    May 16, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
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