May 31st, 2008
06:26 PM ET
15 years ago

Obama: McCain should admit he was wrong on surge comments

[cnn-photo-caption image=
caption="Sen. Obama campaigns in Rapid City, South Dakota, Saturday."]
RAPID CITY, South Dakota (CNN) - Democrat Barack Obama accused Republican John McCain Saturday of not owning up to what Obama calls his "mistake" - saying that the U.S. has drawn troops down to pre-surge levels in Iraq.

"We all misspeak sometimes," the Illinois senator told a crowd in Rapid City, South Dakota. "I've done it myself. So on such a basic, factual error, you'd think that John McCain would just say 'Oh, I misspoke, I made a mistake' and then move on. But he couldn't do that. Instead, he dug in."

Obama connected McCain's Iraq comments to President Bush's unwillingness to admit fault "when he was presented with facts that went against his views" on the war.

"Just like George Bush, John McCain is refusing to admit that he's made a mistake," the White House hopeful continued. "And that's exactly the kind of leadership that has got us fighting for five years in a war that should've never been authorized."

"We don't need more leaders who can't admit they've made a mistake, even about something as fundamental as how many Americans are serving in harm's way."

The McCain camp fired back with a statement from spokesman Tucker Bounds.

"Barack Obama is ignoring facts," Bounds wrote. "He irresponsibly refuses credible evidence on the ground proving American troops have surged toward significant gains in Iraq and it proves he is just not ready to be commander in chief.

"For over 874 days, which includes the entirety of the 'Surge' strategy, Barack Obama has refused to visit Iraq, see the conditions on the ground, and meet with General Petraeus, and it raises questions about whether his campaign is based on conceding defeat in Iraq, no matter what progress our troops make there."

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (149 Responses)
  1. aware

    We don't need Obama who can't admit he is a left wing nut who continues to make mistakes and obfuscate... 🙁

    May 31, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  2. Umpire

    Obama should forget the McCain-Cheney photo op trips to Iraq and leave our troops to carry out their missions without the distractions of visiting VIPs.

    May 31, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  3. @americans

    old mcshame can't own up and can't 'fess up!

    I'm not surprised. He has officially lost his "bearings"!

    A man that is senile and can't be honest with the american people cannot be trusted with the presidency of the United States!

    May 31, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  4. Anne

    Ive never been to Iraq and I can see its been a total failure and an illegal war. Dont need to sit in the middle of Baghdad to know that.

    May 31, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  5. icruise

    Not only does McCain's camp's response not address the actual issue at hand, it's just silly and insulting that they feel they have to end every response with "and this just proves that he's not ready to be commander and chief" or some variation on the theme. They did it with that dumb "gaffe" about Auschwitz, too. This is the "elevated" discourse that McCain promised us?

    May 31, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  6. KE

    The Obama campaign has no real solutions. They flip flop all the time. Their campaign is full of contradictions and hypocrisy. They only know how to tear down. Sen. Obama's only positive sound bites were "hope" and "change".

    I listend to Martin Luther King, Jr. speak. Sen. Obama is no MLK, he went to a church that promoted GDA and mislead its members for 20 years. Should they admit they were wrong?

    May 31, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  7. Elore

    Oh shut up Obama . Why don't you admit you know nothing and that you lie and lie until you get your way. Remember Palmer and the people you stepped on. Remember when you said you had never heard your pastor deliver a hate mesage just to admit later your had. No No NO Obama its enough we are tired of hearing you use the fact that you are black send us in a guilty trip .

    May 31, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  8. PATTY W

    How typical....McCain's camp responded to Obama by addressing a totally different subject.....McBush indeed

    May 31, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  9. mike in Houston

    I think Obama is right on Target.
    Mcsame needs to apologize and admits that he is wrong with BUSH.

    May 31, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  10. JD

    ...the so-called gains trumpeted by the McCain camp are in serious doubt, as the Iraqis are now pushing back against a permanent occupation by American forces...And still they refuse to admit that they can't count...When faced with actual indisputable numbers, they have no recourse except to attempt ignorant personal attacks...

    Perhaps the alumnus of the Keating Five has nothing better to do with taxpayer money than political grandstanding overseas, but Senator Obama is correctly focusing on the nomination process...

    May 31, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  11. Miles Long

    "Barack Obama is ignoring facts," Bounds wrote. "He irresponsibly refuses credible evidence on the ground proving American troops have surged toward significant gains in Iraq and it proves he is just not ready to be commander in chief.

    C'mon Republicans you gotta do better than that if you want to win in November.


    May 31, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  12. Timber

    SHAME oh Obama for trying to disenfranchise FL voters. He wants to be President? What a joke. More like dictator. The voters of FL should not be punished for what a few DNC bigwigs did. Obama is scarier than GW Bush.

    May 31, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  13. Julie from Nantuckett

    I'm so sick of hearing the name "Obama"-–he's the darling of the media and it's really getting on my nerves--can't the media act a little bit unbiased even if he is your Messiah.

    May 31, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  14. Illinois

    Obama, you should shut off your mouth!

    May 31, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  15. E. C., Houston, Texas

    Obama is such a 'small man with a small brain.' This guy is so unqualified and inexperienced to be the nominee. Perhaps McCain should take Obama to task and make him ADMIT that he has Rascist Religious Friends and apologize to Americans for hiding it.

    May 31, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  16. change??

    I’m saddened by the reality that the Obama supporters have been duped into believing that change will happen for the better if this man holds the keys to the White House. It’s easy to say out with “old politics” but the reality is – Mr. Obama is just like the rest – there really is no other way to get to the top without stepping on others along the way and campaigns are slogans to sell a product/candidate. The blogs I read from the Obamaites, represent hatred and prejudice. This person is you want to lead our country is a scary man and keeps scary company. I have read and heard your statements that the words are not his words coming from the “spiritual leaders” he has chosen, but they are – we are held accountable for our friends for they are images of ourselves. Obamaites have slammed Ms. Ferrara for her comments, but the reality is – blacks were given the right to vote before women and times have not changed…Hillary is trying to make this change. Mr. Obama is trying to follow the same old pattern…white man, black man….somewhere down the road women will develop a voice, unfortunately it will not be heard until the voice inside their head saying – I am not good enough goes away. You may not like Hillary, but is it because of her politics or because you hear the voices of bittered bigoted past saying – Women have no place outside the home? I guess if men hadn’t gone to war way back when we’d still be there.

    Mr. Obama’s campaign (which represents him) put the racial word in your ear – The Clinton’s time represented prosperity for America – doesn’t sound like such a bad thing to go back to. They also represented the African Americans and how quickly you turn on those looking out for you and turn into “white racists.” It is a sad time when the change the Clinton’s brought for the African Americans has been lost because what our country now faces is “white racism” and the sexism…well that was addressed. I will vote McCain and wait four years until Hillary runs again…or do we write her it?? All of the Hillary supporters need to make this clear – what do we want to do?

    Hillary supporters unite – spread the word – decision making time – we have the power to choose our next President…our campaign for 2008 – Choose McCain 2008 – Hillary 2012!!! MAKE THE SIGNS – sorry Pelosi, you’re too late – Oprah sewed the seeds, now may she weep.

    MCCAIN – 2008 – HILLARY – 2010!!

    May 31, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  17. Jim Irving

    I find McCain's rebuttal ridiculous and I'm sure that the rest of America does as well.


    May 31, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  18. Foreign observer

    It´s not a strength of the current GOP people to admitt faults. Reagan has been different on that.

    May 31, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  19. LQ Rochester MN

    Further proof he is just McSame. Bush never admits to a mistake either.

    May 31, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  20. Ed from Durango

    Gotta admit, when the republicans lie, they darn well stick to it.

    May 31, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  21. Proud American

    Obama you can not take away the one thing that Republicans are actually good at "lies and deception".

    May 31, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  22. ME4O

    You know,I am for Obama for a couple reasons.I see him as having been caught being at fault or "misspeaking" fewer times than the other candidates and about more trivial things.He has been attacked and, it seems, held responsible for other peoples statements.Lets not forget Clinton's statements or the fact that her campaign organizer left earlier for less than respectable reasons. Also, I think it is better to show the world a new face.Not a Clinton or another hard headed Republican. But I get tired of "Oh, they're not ready to run this country". You know, it's not like we'll turn a kid loose in a candy shop. They will have advisors and a cabinet.They will only have veto power which can be overridden by the house. I don't know why people don't realize, still, that it is Congress who runs this country. It is not the President. HE is merely a figurehead.

    May 31, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  23. Pete

    The man means business!

    May 31, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  24. jason

    is that going to be the republican's angle? "he hasn't been to Iraq." That's a silly way to question everything he says about it.


    May 31, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  25. Thomas E. Barnes

    Why is there so much emphasis put on Sen. Obama's church activities( that he has no control over ) when it doesn't affect our country's progress. When Sen. McCain criticism of Obama's leadership as it relates to the War in Iraq, qualities that Americans want to know about that would have a direct affect on our country's progress are no spoken on by CNN and others. Seemingly it's because Sen McCain blundering of information of facts about the War in Iraq has been discovered. Far be it for CNN's (GREATEST POLITICAL TEAM ON T.V. ) to bring out negative character traits on Sen McCain.

    May 31, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
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