May 16th, 2008
12:35 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama: Bush and McCain 'have a lot to answer for'


Watch part of Barack Obama's remarks Friday.

(CNN) - Barack Obama struck back hard at President Bush and John McCain Friday, accusing them of hypocrisy and of distorting his position on dialogue with nations hostile to the United States, telling a South Dakota crowd that “I’m running for president to change course, not to continue George Bush’s course.”

“I want to be perfectly clear with George Bush and John McCain, and with the people of South Dakota,” he said at a Watertown campaign stop. “If George Bush and John McCain want to have a debate about protecting the United States of America, that is a debate that I'm happy to have any time, any place and that is debate I will win because George Bush and John McCain have a lot to answer for.”

In his comments before the Israeli Knesset Thursday, Bush seemed to equate the Illinois senator’s foreign policy views with those of Nazi appeasers in the years before World War II, though he did not mention any names. Obama strongly criticized the president for the remarks Friday, calling them “the kind of appalling attack that's divided our country and that alienates us from the world.”

On Friday, Obama also fired back at McCain for saying Thursday that the Democratic senator was not qualified to protect the nation. “[John McCain] talked about elevating the tone of debate in our country. He talked about reaching out in a bipartisan fashion to the other side. Then not an hour later he turned around and embraced George Bush's attack on Democrats,” said Obama, who called the Arizona senator’s Iran policy “naïve and irresponsible.”

“He jumped on a call with a bunch of bloggers and said that I wasn't fit to protect this nation that I love because I wanted to sit down and negotiate with tough diplomacy with countries like Iran. Accused me of not being fit…[or] being able to protect this nation,” he added.

He said both Bush and McCain “have a lot to answer for” over the war in Iraq and the failure to find Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda’s continuing strength, among other continuing foreign policy problems. “They are going to have to explain why it is that Iran is able to fund Hezbollah and poses the greatest threat to America and Israel and the Middle East in a generation. That's the Bush-McCain record on protecting this country.

The McCain campaign said Obama’s speech was a “partisan rant.”

“It was remarkable to see Barack Obama’s hysterical diatribe in response to a speech in which his name wasn’t even mentioned,” said McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds. “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, the American people have every reason to doubt whether he has the strength, judgment and determination to keep us safe.”

Related video: Watch Obama take aim at McCain

soundoff (546 Responses)
  1. Ratgurl

    BRING ON a Dem v Repub debate!!!!! I can just see Bush stammering, trying to come up with an answer, then finally spitting out a joke (like he always does when he can't find the answer), and John McCain getting redder & redder, right before he blows his top! That would be some funny stuff, right thar!

    May 16, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  2. Crush Rush

    Go get the war mongers Obama.

    May 16, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  3. Oracle99

    Yes Bush and McSame have a lot to answer for but will their feet be held to the fire. In McSame's criticisim of Obama, he failed to remember the tape of him saying we should negotiate with Humas.

    May 16, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  4. An Agnostic Democrat

    Now, that's the kind of heat we need in our kitchen!

    Truth to power. Thank you.

    May 16, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  5. lol

    obama saying he'd debate mccain on foriegn policy is laughable. clearly obama's not experienced enough to realize you can't have a sit down with iran. you think the democrats would have learned this after nancy pelosi had a visit with syria, while they were making a nuclear facility. democrats like to say it's the politics of fear, no it's the politics of reality. people want to hurt americans, quit pretending there not out there obama and pelosi.

    May 16, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  6. Herman in LA

    Yep they should be Impeached...

    Obama 08!!!

    May 16, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  7. a REAL American

    Egotistical, are we Obama and Democrats? Nobody's name was mentioned in Bush's speech, but if you feel a guilty conscience then maybe it's because THE TRUTH HURTS!

    May 16, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  8. JP

    Hah! That's it...the Dems are running against "Bush-McCain" and the Dems will win easily.

    Remember how Bill Clinton brilliantly ran against "Dole-Gingrich" in 1996? People hated Gingrich and they hate Bush even more.

    May 16, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  9. Travis (in the real world)

    I watched the interview of McCain in 2006. Man oh man did he ever flip-flop. It seems that which ever is the best terms at the time for him to get elected he'll take. But he was interviewed and caught on tape, so please McSame try to wiggle out of this one.

    May 16, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  10. Jim

    You may not like Mr Bush, but he is very smart. Obama had to wait two day for his speech writers to tell him what to say because he does not have a clue, and there fore obama lost two days in which he could have been talking about the economy. This is letting Hillary's case get stronger, and stronger.
    So many people have been scrambling to spin Obama's naive debate gaffe early on when he said he'd talk directly to enemies. But the fact still remains, Obama had no idea what he was talking about, and he said nothing about preconditions or what he now refers to as "preparation" for such talks.
    Our country will be left wounded by the Bush administration only to be led now by an unqualified amateur. But at least, it will be a democrat unqualified amateur;I guess that's something. Just pray that he doesn't refer to some world leader's wife as "sweetie."And remember The flip flopper is Barack Obama. Mr Appeasment Obama was backing the Palestinians just 18 months ago, until one of his aides reminded him of the strong Jewish vote in Florida

    May 16, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  11. georgia

    Impeach Bush !!!

    May 16, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  12. Independent for Obama

    Agreed. In the words of a great man, "There was no Al Qaeda in Iraq until we went to war with Iraq."

    And frankly, it is looking like we have some serious problems in our own hemisphere since Venezuela has now been proven to have FARC ties, and is our fifth largest oil supplier.

    May 16, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  13. y


    May 16, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  14. sacto joe


    A lot of Repubs posing as Democrats are posting hate mail. They're trying to drive a wedge between us!


    May 16, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  15. Obama Supporter

    Come on everybody and unite with the Obama Campaign!

    Hate Hate Hate 2008
    Hate Hate Hate 2008
    Hate Hate Hate 2008

    Hate Hillary
    Hate McCain

    Hate Hate Hate

    Obama '08

    May 16, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  16. Politically Incorrect

    it's ridiculous, stupid and naive for McCain (the Rhinestone hero) to even align himself with any such policies of George Bush. He is the worst President in US history. Even Republicans know how bad a President he is, he should be distancing himself from Bush instead of backing him... it's almost shameful.

    Barack is right to want to atleast sit down and try to be diplomatic related to our enemies, especially since bombing ppl seems to be working so well... Americans want peace.. not WAR!!!..

    Besides, McCain is a liar.. he was never even tortured over there in Vietnam.. He's a traitor and a hypocrite.. And the American Ppl would be wise not to elect a traitor to office.. look up Rhinestone Hero John McCain.. know the truth about this awful man!!!

    May 16, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  17. Kevin

    The Democrats are such hypocrites. They claim the Republicans use scare tactics but that is exactly what this is. Obama is trying to scare uninformed voters into thinking that McCain has all of the same views as Bush. If you actually examine their positions on issues, THEY DON'T

    May 16, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  18. Jeff

    Who is a more qualified leader:

    a) The guy who sings "Bomb Iran", at a time when the nation is spiraling rapidly into bankruptcy while fighting an ongoing war stretching our military and our budget incredibly thin; A war with people who want to destroy us because we aim to destroy them.


    b) A guy who believes we may well be able to solve these problems through diplomacy, at a much lower cost in lives and dollars, quite possibly resulting in a more peaceful, cooperative middle-east.

    Since our current president as well as the Republican nominee are both 100% lacking in diplomatic and leadership skills, and we've seen the results of being led by a guy from the Northeast who likes to pretend he's a Texas Cowboy, I think the answer is abundantly clear.

    May 16, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  19. Peter

    This shows that Obama can be tough. This is good.

    May 16, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  20. Darius

    Obama just smacked Bush and McCain down big time... Go Obama... No more fearmongering !!!

    Obama 2008

    May 16, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  21. Sean S

    I cant wait for Barack to tear into McCain. I am appalled about what Bush said yesterday and John McCain continues to defend.

    May 16, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  22. Raphael Tx

    Obama keeps on playing the blame game and avoids answering questions. The reason Obama has no chance on winning the White House is because America is still unclear what this mans positions are? One Day Jerimiah Wright is like an Uncle and the next day he is dispicable.
    OBAMA STOP AVOIDING QUESTIONS AND START ANSWERING THEM. We are sick and tired of hearing your eloquent speeches of change with no direction of your own?

    Go Hillary, if not Hillary Go McCain

    May 16, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  23. NoMcSame

    Seems like the gloves are off. Get on them Obama. War crime charges for GWB. We won't be fooled again. Obama don't have to take that stuff from them. Let them have it. Sick Joe Biden on them. Time for the Dems to let the BIG DOGS out. Sickem Boys.

    May 16, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  24. sacto joe

    George W. Bush shot his mouth off (although you can bet it was carefully orchestrated), and McCain stupidly followed up. Now it's time to roast them slowly in their own stupidity.

    The Neocons have proven themselves both arrogant and incompetent, and consequently are making really dumb mistakes.

    Let's hit 'em where it hurts, Dems!

    May 16, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  25. theresa in Prattville, AL

    Yes Bush-McCain have to get right with God instead of engaging in Politics. They have murdered over 4000 people and then some since this war started. I can't believe McCain would agree with anything Bush has to say giving the fact that Bush is not like by anyone in this country. He is selfish. He is dumb. He can't hardly even read a speech. He is a drunk and everybody knows that. When he got that 3AM call, I just bet he was hung over and vomiting at the time. He probably told the caller to blow up whatever.....right now. Dumb idiots. McCain will have to pay for joining up with Bush. McCain flat out lied about not being a typical republican and that he is a different kind of politician. He's a freakin OLD joke.

    May 16, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22