May 29th, 2008
07:50 AM ET
12 years ago

McCain says Obama's Iraq trip would convince him of success

McCain said Friday that Obama’s foreign policy was displayed naivete.

McCain said Friday that Obama’s foreign policy was displayed naivete.

BEVERLY HILLS, California (CNN) – Before heading to a Los Angeles fundraiser Wednesday night, John McCain spoke to reporters about news that Barack Obama is considering a trip to Iraq. McCain said he is happy his likely Democratic opponent is mulling it over and believes Obama would change his tune after spending some time in the country.

“[I was] glad to hear that Senator Obama is now, quote, 'considering' a trip to Iraq,” said McCain. “It's long overdue. It's been 871 days since he was there and I'm confident that when he goes he will then change his position on the conflict in Iraq because he will see the success that has been achieved on the ground.”

Obama’s announcement follows days of McCain and his allies blasting Obama for not having visited Iraq recently. The Republican National Committee even went so far as to post a counter on their homepage displaying the number of days it has been since the Illinois senator’s last trip in January 2006.

“John McCain’s proposal is nothing more than a political stunt,” the Obama campaign told CNN Tuesday after McCain said he would be happy to accompany Obama on a trip to Iraq.

“More than 4,000 brave young Americans have given their lives,” McCain responded. “To say that my urging a person who wants to be president of the United States to go to Iraq for the first time in 871 days and see the situation for himself and to call that a publicity stunt is a fundamental misunderstanding of the gravity of this issue.”

McCain tiptoed around the news of the day, excerpts from former White House press secretary Scott McClellan’s forthcoming book that accuse the Bush administration of using propaganda to convince the American public war in Iraq was justified.

“I was not working in the White House,” said McCain, “so I don’t know, and I have not read the book so I cannot make an additional comment.”

McCain also avoided predicting how much President Bush would be seen campaigning for him leading up to November’s election. Bush attended a fundraiser for McCain on Tuesday night that was followed by a very brief photo-op, further fueling speculation that McCain is embracing the president’s ability to raise money but steering clear of being associated with his low approval ratings.

“I was glad that he was there, that’s all there is to it. There’s nothing more,” said McCain.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (334 Responses)
  1. John in Virgina

    If Iraq is so safe now, as McCain says, then 1) there should be no reason we can not bring the troops home, and 2) why is it that when he goes, we never see him walking the streets without an armed mob of US soldiers and a few armored choppers overhead. I'll believe his spin when he goes for a jog like he is able to on a sunny day at noon in Central Park. The truth is, troops are still getting killed and injured, and the region has not stablized. It is not going to no matter how long we stay. That is someone else's country and they are not going to welcome the idea of the U.S. effectively trying to stage a takeover of power. It isn't gonna happen. McCain says we've made progress and the conditions are great when it's time to convince people that we can win, but when it's time to give a reason for continuing this war based on a lie, he says things are unstable. Well which is it? He can't have it both ways. We need to be investing in the talent of American engineers to create new energy, and stop trying paint all Muslims as terrorists so that we may take oil that is on their land.

    May 29, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  2. fj johnson

    why we have bush and mccian comdy show

    May 29, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  3. OBAMA 4 President

    As a democrat, if you're going to vote for McCain instead of Obama, fine, SHUTUP about it, why must you keep saying it over and over like you have tourrettes!

    McCain is like a baby, a very old baby, always trying to taunt Obama but never works!

    May 29, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  4. Not Clinton

    Obama is not the POTUS yet. He has been too busy with Hillary to go anywhere. I am sure when he feels the time is right he will go. It is a little hasty to go now. He needs to wait for HRC to drop out.
    Let McBush do it if he must but it is a huge burden for our troops to have a candidate there. They are a little busy with other things.

    May 29, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  5. Shawna

    Obama can go to Iraq, but the fact remains the political situation has not changed. The leaders of Iraq still have no plan or structure, they have not lived up to their part of the bargain, they can't secure their own territory, and neither can the U.S., We are using Iran and former terrorist to secure the country of Iraq. The same leaders the administration and McCain call the Axis of Evil. This problem was created by Republicans they should be in Iraq, not Obama. Additionally the security risk and plans to bring a presidential candidate are extremely important, they have greater things to deal with rather than a following candidates around the base. It sounds like McCain is looking for Obama to go to Iraq so that he can get injured since he is aware of the dangers that remain in the country.

    May 29, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  6. Sheila WA

    I care about joblessness, homelessness, healthcare and if Sen McCain really wants to honor the troops, he can campaign on how he is going to help make their quality of life better when they get back home. He can start by explaining to the Vets (to their faces) who are missing limbs, eyes, etc...why he veto'd the very bill that would help them get an education and a better job. It's not likely those maimed vets are going to go back and re-enlist. Obama is for a reasonable withdrawl, McCain want's another 100 yrs..

    May 29, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  7. The Oracle

    For all of McCain's war record, he doesn't have common sense. Can anybody explain to me why the repugs think they can solve in a decade what centuries of war and strife could not?? I'm talking about the political, ethnic, and religious problems. Because until they do that, we just have a finger in the hole.

    May 29, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  8. No Obama

    Obama is not going to go anywhere as dangerous as Iraq. Just wait and see if he goes. NOT. He knows nothing about anything that is going on.

    May 29, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  9. Mike from Westchester

    Perhaps he is right. Senator Obama should keep an open mind about the war. If it is clear that we can do more good by staying the course for a limited period of time, so be it. A precipitous withdrawal that creates chaos is not in the best interest of Iraq, the region, our allies, the U.S., and the world in general.

    However, McCain does not appear to have an open mind on this. He wants to plow ahead toward a "victory" regardless of its probability of success or its cost. He is so concerned with "surrendering", which a pull out is not, that he becomes dangerous to our soldiers and everyone else involved or affected by this truly "dumb" war.

    What we should not do is stay in for an undetermined amount of time to pursue a marginal chance at a dubious victory that is more about saving (Republican) face, than about doing what is best. If we do mindlessly stay in Iraq then it is true that Iraq = Viet Nam.

    May 29, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14