May 26th, 2008
06:00 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama admits: I 'cannot know' what war is like

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sen. Barack Obama adits he doesn't know what fighting in a war is like."]
LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (CNN) – At a Memorial Day event in front of a veteran-dominated crowd, Democrat Barack Obama paid tribute to the fallen soldiers but conceded he may never have complete personal insight into the rigors of war.

"I speak to you today with deep humility," Obama said in opening remarks. "My grandfather marched in Patton's Army, but I cannot know what it is to walk into battle like so many of you. My grandmother worked on a bomber assembly line, but I cannot know personally what it is for a family to sacrifice like so many of yours have."

Presumptive Republican nominee John McCain said last week he did not think he needed to accept criticism of his handling of veterans affairs from Obama, who did "not feel it was his responsibility to serve our country in uniform."

Obama did not mention McCain, a Vietnam prisoner of war, during his Memorial Day town hall. But he heaped praise on veterans in general, both the fallen and those who've survived.

"I just want to reiterate that the reason we're here is obviously to honor our fallen soldiers. One of the best ways that we can honor our fallen soldiers is to honor those who came back, who survived."

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (440 Responses)
  1. Dems2008

    I served in the Army and I don't know what war fells like either–thank God!!

    This is not a weakness, this is a strength!!

    May 26, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  2. Smarter than that

    Obama is qualified to help war veterans. You do not have to be a war veteran to help war veterans. His plan is benefiting the veterans more than McCain's proposal. McCain is old and if he thinks he can justify giving less to our veterans because he is one, then he needs to get another opinion on his mental state. Barack Obama and the Commander of Military are in agreement. He said that more has to be done for our veterans and that is exactly what Obama is proposing. McCain is old and out of touch. He may not need more benefits, but all are not in his or his wife's financial position. McCain has no experience as president or leading the military. He is expert and he does not represent the views of the veterans or their families. They need more benefits and education and they deserve it. He cannot relate mentally or financially.

    May 26, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  3. Dr. Johnny Skeptic

    This is the only possible person to be our president. He will bring dignity back to this country. He will bring back strength and honor. He will bring out soldiers back home from Iraq. He will form new allies and mend the relationships with our allies which has waned due to the fault of the Bush administration. He will change this government, our country, our world.

    Amen, Barack Obama. I mean, Mr. President.

    God bless you.

    May 26, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  4. Dems2008

    If McCains has his way, those that choose to serve will not get proper health care, help with the mortgage crisis, a good, affordable education, and on/off war tours of duty.

    No thanks McCain!!

    Go Obama!!

    May 26, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  5. Bruce a USAF vet

    Convenient how the RNC and McCain have forgotten the 'war experience' of 2 of the last sitting Republican Presidents [we all know what they think of Bill].

    We have Dub who went AWOL, Cheney who dodged, and Reagan who confused making war movies, documentaries, and instructional films as being in uniform.

    Yep. Names the RNC speak in hushed tones, and not a one has ever gone in harm's way, yet Obama isn't qualified.

    Gotta love those Hypocrit-i-cans.


    May 26, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  6. Ab-Corpus Christi-TX

    I love to have a candidate with no experience !!!
    The fact that neither McCain nor Hillary has an experience as President of USA !!
    I do not want to have our President going to Mayo clinic just for checking his health every three months.... Wasting our money!
    I do not want to have our president where her husband was fouling around during his presidency.....I am afraid she will be revenged for her husband!
    Keep in mind that all the politicians are liars!
    Choose the candidate that least liar......that's Obama !!
    I vote for him...........and the world will be merrier..........

    May 26, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  7. titmouse

    why not?, I think it only took 1 year in the senate for Obama to see it was a kabuki dance and now he is showing up with The People, as their President ready to get jiggy and the True elite are loosing their minds! If
    Hillary had so much support why is her campaign in the red? The only people I REQUIRE to serve in the military are warmongers which makes McCain a smidge better than Bush in that regard. Obama did serve his country, his way, as a community organizer.That is what I want our President to do. Bring the right people together to turn this country around. Anyone who says they will vote for McCain, if Hillary is not the nominee cannot be taken seriously that's like saying If you don't have butter for my baked potatoe instead of sour cream, i'll have poop.

    May 26, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  8. DemocracyNow2008

    Hillary lied about sniper fire in Bosnia Obama said honestly I have no idea what war is like .I also have no idea what war is like Senator and I hope I never have to .
    Thats the difference between Obama and Clinton he did not say I have seen war and have had bullets shot at me .
    No Obama speaks the truth because the truth is more important then lying which Hillary has done so many times during this Democratic Primary season.
    Obama keep speaking the truth thats why I've got your back and will defend you on these Blogs .
    Vote for Truth Vote for Obama over McBush 08

    May 26, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  9. Terry

    Obama. You don't know what alot of things are like.. Being an effective President is certainly one of them! All you know is repeated speeches with over use of the word "change" and "Yes We Can!"

    No.. You Can't.. Many of us nonKoolaid drinkers haven't fallen for your feel good mushy speeches that carry no substance. Please drop out now so that you don't have to lose in November and have all us Hillary supporters tell the Koolaid drinker "We told you so!"

    May 26, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  10. Larry from TX

    Way to go Barack. I am not a veteran; however I do have sympathy for those who have served, and will serve in the military. I agree with your vote on revising the GI bill. Everyone in the military don't want the military as a career.

    May 26, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  11. Glen

    McCain, you are so FUNNY! Come on, just BE HONEST to people...American is SMART enough to think about the REALITY of LIFE here...LOL

    May 26, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  12. candoo

    Obama can't win in November without Hillarys supporters, so I guess he WON'T win because we will NEVER vote for obama.

    Hillary 08 or John Mccain 08

    May 26, 2008 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  13. joyce ohio

    Id rather of not served,than to have lied about my service like goerge and hillary.

    May 26, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  14. Jesus

    If I were to support John McCain, would you defame me as well?

    May 26, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  15. A Proud Republican

    Obama has no clue what war is like or how he will run this Country for that matter! He's a lost little puppy depending on all his lost followers to get him in the White House. Then what's he going to do? Have a party for all his you know whats! It's really sad what this Country has gone to for even suggesting someone such as obama be President of the United States of America. Over half of his voters are first time, uneducated, incompitent, unemployed, lazy people who are voting just because he is black. Face the facts America!!!!

    May 26, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
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