May 29th, 2008
06:19 AM ET
14 years ago

Obama considers trip to Iraq


[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" McCain took aim at Obama over Iraq Wednesday."]
(CNN) - Barack Obama's campaign said Wednesday that the Illinois senator is considering a trip to Iraq before the November election, CNN's Candy Crowley reports.

Presumptive Republican nominee John McCain had strongly criticized Obama earlier in the day for not visiting Iraq in more than two years, and for turning down the Arizona senator's suggestion that the two should make a joint trip to the country.

“Senator Obama has been to Iraq once - a little over 2 years ago he went and he has never seized the opportunity except in a hearing to meet with Gen Petraeus," McCain said at a campaign event in Reno, Nevada. "My friends this is about leadership and learning."

Again raising the issue of Obama's willingness to meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, McCain also said of the Illinois senator, "he wants to sit down with the president of Iran but hasn’t yet sat down with Gen. Petraeus, the leader of our troops in Iraq?"

Responding to McCain, Obama spokesman Bill Burton said, "It seems odd that Senator McCain, who bought the flawed rationale for war so readily, would be lecturing others on their depth of understanding about Iraq."

Obama last visited Iraq in January, 2006 for a two-day tour of the country.

McCain's comments come the same day the Republican National Committee launched a clock on its Web site noting how many days it has been since Obama traveled to Iraq, and three days after his supporter Sen. Lindsey Graham suggested both the presumptive Republican nominee and Obama tour the country together. McCain later said he agreed that the Democratic presidential contender should accompany him on an upcoming trip, adding that he would "seize that opportunity to educate Senator Obama along the way."

Burton declined the invitation and called the move a "political stunt."

"The American people don't want any more false promises of progress, they deserve a real debate about a war that has overstretched our military, and cost us thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars without making us safer," he added.

Speaking Wednesday, McCain called those comments a "profound misunderstanding" of the situation in Iraq.

"That is a profound misunderstanding, a profound misunderstanding of what's happened in Iraq and what's at stake in Iraq," he said. "Because if we set a date of withdrawal as Senator Obama wants to do, there will be chaos, there will be genocide, there will be increased Iranian influence there, and we will have to go back with further sacrifice of American blood and treasure."

(Updates with Obama response)

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (473 Responses)
  1. Over the Hill(ary)

    Reading the posts from the radical Hillary fundamentalists makes me wonder what warped, fictional world they live in. Even after seeing comments like this from McAncient, they still want to flock to his side and support him over Obama, just because their "Entitled" one couldn't win the nomination (unless she somehow steals it with her pandering on and on about FL and MI). You "my friends", are complete and utter morons. But that's OK, because for every heartbroken, sore-loser Hillary supporter that votes for McCain, two more disenfranchised Republicans will vote for Obama.

    May 28, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  2. Cory in Little Rock

    Maybe McCain should be running for General rather than President....

    If our political leaders should be military men, why are we so hard on Musharef and Castro? Why not just let the military rule?

    Obama's been there once and apparently it was obvious that the situation stunk. How many times does someone have to go inorder to see that Iraq is a dumb mistake?

    As McCain demonstrates, it's about judgment... You can go there multiple times and still think it's a good idea... or, like most Americans, not go once and know that it was a dumb decision.

    J. McCain: "There's nothing like the smell of napalm in the morning."

    May 28, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  3. supporter

    Obama should go to Iraq and run for Prime Minister as well as be President of the USA then he would have both of his people with him in his perfect little world that the Kennedy Democrats are making for him.

    May 28, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  4. fairandstraight

    McCain is too old to be told where to go.

    May 28, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  5. Sick of Barry

    Obama cannot fathom nearly the extent of what is going on in Iraq properly without visiting it and by only hearing second hand news about it.

    What is so interesting is that one would think his going to Iraq would HELP him in his position...he could come back and tell how horrible it was and how he is going to save it or some other BS similar to a middle schooler promising free ice cream and soda every day.

    The fact that he REFUSES to go really says something, and not that he wont give in to a "ploy", but that he is afraid what he will find will not be able to be spun in his favor for this election.

    He'll ruin a country that's already going downhill.

    May 28, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  6. Michael Templer

    Why would he need to go to Iraq

    are you saying he can't count on the unambiguous reports of David Petraus

    a lie is saying something that isn't true like Sniper Fire you know
    confusing one Nazi death camp with Another isn't a lie i am sure the Nazi's were just horrible at Buchenwald as they were at all the others.
    Tell me Nobama can you even find Germany on a map.

    what will going to Iraq do

    he will have 1000 troops protect them instead going after AQI that doesn't exist anymore and only existed as a franchise.

    WHEN IS THE LAST TIME he has been to Afghanistan

    you know where Osama Bin Laden is

    May 28, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  7. DanW

    So what if he hasn't been to Iraq in more than two years. Anytime a VIP "visits" or better yet "surprise visits" the troops it is hardly a realistic picture of the way things are. All VIPs see are positives. All negatives are hidden.

    May 28, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  8. R-C from NC

    Hope everybody who votes Democrat remember the days the last time this Country had Democrats in control of the House-Congress and the White House!!! Unemployment 12-14%--Inflation 21 % and interest rates 16-18%. You fools who vote this way- the President doesn't make laws the House and Congress do!! We haven't built a refinery in the US since the early 70's!!!! Drill for Oil here and the price of gas will go down until the Democrats raise the tax on it to waste more. The downfall of a country is when 51% realize they can vote themselves money we are almost there -keep voting Democrat it will be sooner than you think!!

    May 28, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  9. Sandra from Miami

    That's Obama for you-ALL TALK-NO ACTION.

    Obama voted "present" over 100 times. He has no real conviction on anything other than getting elected.

    Over 400 people in Chicago (his backyard) have been gunned down this year and you haven't heard a peep from him.

    This is the kind of stuff you can expect from his presidency.

    May 28, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  10. Shangazi

    Is Obama going to gain anything by visiting Iraq! No!! He will be shown power-point presentation... visit safe areas... etc! Will gain nothing by visiting Iraq.

    May 28, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  11. Kool-Aid Remedy

    Obama can't even control the gang wars in Ill.

    May 28, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  12. JC

    You don't have to go to Iraq to see what's happen, just go to Walter Reed Hospital.

    May 28, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  13. Terrence (Winston Salem, NC)

    <---not McCain's friend

    May 28, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  14. McPirate


    May 28, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  15. Derek in Seattle

    Rebubliphiles are a dying breed and it makes me all giddy inside. Dems aren't perfect, but who in their right f-ing mind would openly claim they were a republiphile? Conservatives, get ready for a gay friendly, medical marijuana loving, no war, pro choice, Prius driving, latte drinking, diverse and green America with a fortified wall between church and state, complete with long hair and birkenstocks. Now thats heaven.

    May 28, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  16. Citizen's

    Heres whats really sad. This is MC CAin only arguement, he can't say anything about high gas, poor economy, education, health care. Things that matter, thats why Mc CAin will get blowin away . We are not stupid. But I think Republicans think we are. Mc Cain is predictve, he will stay on the war when in fact , we want it stoped.Mc Cain will fall , even with CNN backing his run he will lose.

    May 28, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  17. joaquin

    invading Iraq was a pure stupidity.

    Saddam was evil but those people need a dictator to be controlled. They are crazy; it is sad but it is the truth.

    We have no business there. Why does my taxes have to help rebuild a foreign country.

    I am sick of this; Obama take us our of IRAQ !!

    May 28, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  18. Dan G.

    There seem to be more enemies of America on this post than there are in Iraq.

    May 28, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  19. J.P. in Toronto

    Barack Obama has nothing to fear because he is less likely to be harmed walking the streets of any place outside of the USA (including Iraq) than the streets of the U.S. South.

    Heck, McCain would likely be better off having Barack with him in Iraq as protection!

    But McCain is better off with Bill Clinton in Kazakhstan. Or Toronto, where Bill knows ladies like Belinda quite well. (Don't tell HIllary, though.)

    May 28, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  20. Sally from Portland


    May 28, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  21. Jean D

    Give it a rest, we haven't had a draft in years. Is John McCain having a Senior Moment. Oh sorry we aren't allowed to comment unless we are pro-war. What about declaring "Victory in our Efforts" and withdrawing. This isn't about failure it is about common sense. Let them pay their own way. Bush got us into it, we have to get Obama to get us out of it...John give it a rest.

    Signed a former Republican now an Independent.

    May 28, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  22. T L

    It is a good argument for McCain cuz you cannot bring the troops home all at once. If you need to inspire, inspire the troops there to get things done quickly and come home!!!

    May 28, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  23. Chris

    So how is McCain WRONG that Obama doesn't really know anything about Iraq? Regardless of your opinion of McCain. Because unless you think, foolishly, that packing up ASAP is the way to go, there's still some things to do over there before the U.S. can leave.

    May 28, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
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