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. All American

    I beleive McCain said that troops are almost back to where they were before the serge. Well so much for the clean campagain Obama claims he has. Did anyone notice the he bulids you up to tear you down. And this is running a clean campagain, What a joke.

    And resigning from his church right in the middle of of the Democrat partys meeting thinking it wouldn't draw attention . Why didn't he do this before. Why wait till now better yet why wait twent years to act like an American. Who does he think he is fooling. Go McCain!

    May 31, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  2. Roberson in Georgia

    Sen. McCain is a Republican therefore he will never admit that he made a mistake. He feels that if he says it then the people should believe him.

    He says that the surge is working. How is it working. Soldiers and Iraqis are dying everyday. The Iraqi Government still does not have control of their country. The American people are still pouring more and more money in the Iraqi war. Soldiers are still being deployed to Iraq and now more soldiers are being deployed to Afganistan.

    Let's not forget that it makes since that if you add more troups to a fight then they will kill more people. It is like one person against three, well the U.S. added 10 more people with the surge against the three. What are the odds that the three will lose.

    The U.S. and Iraqi Government still do not have a plan to secure Iraq, so No, Sen. McCain the surge is not working.

    You said that number of U.S. troops in Iraq is below the surge level, but in fact there are 23,000 more troops in Iraq now. Sen. McCain you can not fool the informed people,. So if you do not admit your mistake, then we the informed people will just chalk it up to a Sen. McCain Lie.

    May 31, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  3. McCain Has Too Much Military Experience

    Dear John,

    You are not running for the office of "commander in chief." You are running for the office of President, which is a much broader position of service.

    Yours Truly,
    The US Constitution

    May 31, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  4. KE

    Obama wants to disarm America. I heard someone else talk like that in the other country when the young man got to the top. I thought how naive he was. Not only he became powerless in his position, he could not finish his term.

    May 31, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  5. Margaret

    Obama says McCain should admit his error and McCain's surrogate ... changes the subject. Um-hmm. He hoped we wouldn't notice, I guess.

    May 31, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  6. maria

    Mcbush, just like old bull headed bush.

    May 31, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  7. SMART1

    Mc SAME must have forgotten tha Barack has been trying to wi a nomination. He hasn't had the time on his hands that McSame has had, and nor does the troops want to have to take time out of fighting to protect an candidate that is only coming over for a political photo opt. McSame took up over 150 troops time and used thousands of US dollars to just be seen in Iraq for political reasons.

    Mc Same is a old man with a childs mind. " Look at me, I'm in Iraq. I care about the troops that I have caused to have to go fight an unnecessary war". Then what does Mc Same do shortly after he comes back? He votes against a better healthcare plan for them. He is a liar a phony and a HYPOCRITE!!!!!!!!!! I DON'T CARE IF HILLARY DOESN'T BECOME THE NOMINEE !!!


    May 31, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  8. Mike in Calgary

    I'm shocked that every day, McCain is getting more and more llike George W. Bush. I would have expected more from John McCain.
    When John McCain throws dirt, all he does is lose ground. He's certainly lost the moral high ground on the misguided War in Iraq.


    May 31, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  9. Jonny5

    I ABSOLUTLY AGREE WITH OBAMA! The united states cannot afford even another year of that kind of incompitance.

    OBAMA 08'

    May 31, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  10. Terry in Fl

    Nitpicking semantics. That's all Obama has. He's like the whiney little kindergarden kid raised with a silver spoon in his mouth.

    May 31, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  11. Laurel



    May 31, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  12. Natalia

    STOP BEING A CRY BABY OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 31, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  13. Stan

    Senator Obama – Say what you say and do what you say.

    Senator McCain – Say what, say what I say and do what?

    May 31, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  14. Pam

    Like his counterpart, BUSH. He will NEVER admit he does anything wrong. He will continue to lie, distort the truth and make this all about a war that should have never taken place.

    Hey, McCain, what about gas prices, food prices, home foreclosures, healthcare and our veterans.

    BTW, we don't appreciate your lack of support for the GI bill. It became quite clear that you'll continue to send our troops into combat regardless of health, ethics, and shear lack of human regard.

    May 31, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  15. change??

    So he finally resigned from the church huh? Most of us go to church to fill our spirit with love for God and mankind – I can't imagine that after listening to someone yell and scream white racist remarks for the last two to three decades that Obama has an easy task ahead of himself. The words seep into us and as some may slip out of our own mouths behind closed doors...still...relief can not be scars harden our hearts...and what is left of a boy that could have been shaped in one way...was instead shaped to lead a nation...from a heart of deceit.

    May 31, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  16. Cody in NC

    but should the troops even be there is the question...

    May 31, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  17. John

    So when are you going to meet the President of Canada Obama?

    May 31, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  18. mo

    ha, talk about admitting mistakes. Practice what you preach Obama, Oh I forgot You dont go to church anymore.
    BTW I realize I'm the first comment, leave it to the dems to rally behind their guy instead of who's Wright (pun intended, not a misspeak)

    May 31, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  19. Gerry

    Obama is allowing McCain to get off the hook, simply by amitting his mistake. It will beinteresting to see if McCain does that.

    May 31, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  20. No More McPain Again!

    My Canadian point of view will probably be dismissed, but here goes.

    It is a moot point whether the surge worked or didn't work ...the POINT is that you never ever should have gone in to begin with. There are a great many American people dead because of it and a whole lot more..I mean a WHOLE lot more, women and children, dead or mutilated because of it.

    Shame on the US people for not minding the store. Electing Bush TWICE??? How much more apathetic can you get than that??

    I see hope with Obama and I hope you do will be at least a little "Redemption" for the people of the United States of America.

    Hopefully they'll keep their eye on the ball from now on.

    May 31, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  21. Bill PA

    Obama stop all the crying already.

    May 31, 2008 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  22. Emily

    Hey, come on. Let the comments through..

    BTW. Doesn't Clinton look like she's the King of the World in those PR pictures from today.

    May 31, 2008 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  23. Get Real

    Here is a message to McInSane and his team. "Bomb Bomb Bomb" every country you don't like is not going to work in today's world. We need to resurrect our fragile economy and conserve our precious resources. Don't try to fool us in the guise of patriotism by using fancy words as "surge" and "winning at all cost". We all know that the puppet government of Iraq and most of the deployed troops hide inside the green zone while millions of civilians are butchered outside and have no access to even the basic amenities. Time to admit your mistake and bring our troops home.

    May 31, 2008 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  24. lol

    obama is anti american. he'll meet with irans crazy president, chavez, castro, is supported by hamas, and can't visit american troops in iraq. can't wait for hillary to run as an independent. she will beat mccain, and obama. hillary clinton independent candidate 08!

    May 31, 2008 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  25. dtown

    Maybe Barack should worry more about admitting that he made a mistake in consistently playing the race card in this very important election, and dividing the Democrats, irreparably.
    signed, a former Democrat

    May 31, 2008 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
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