June 11th, 2008
04:05 PM ET
15 years ago

McCain's latest Iraq comments draw fire

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/11/art.mccainiraq.ap.jpg caption="The Obama campaign is attack McCain over his recent Iraq remarks."] (CNN) - Barack Obama's campaign seized on an interview Wednesday by presidential rival John McCain where he said the date when U.S. troops can begin to withdraw from Iraq is "not too important."

The Arizona senator made the comments on NBC's Today Show where he was asked if he had an estimate of when a withdrawal process may be possible.

"No, but that's not too important," McCain replied. "What’s important is the casualties in Iraq, Americans are in South Korea, Americans are in Japan, American troops are in Germany. That’s all fine. American casualties and the ability to withdraw; we will be able to withdraw."

In a conference call with reporters Wednesday, Obama surrogate and former presidential candidate John Kerry said McCain consistently confuses facts about the war and is "unbelievably out of touch."

"It is unbelievably out of touch and inconsistent with the needs of Americans and particularly the families of troops who are over there," the Massachusetts senator said. "To them it’s the most important thing in the world when they come home. It’s a policy for staying in Iraq."

Later when asked if calling McCain "confused" could be taken as a shot at the 71-year-old senator's age, Kerry said that suggestion was "unfair and ridiculous."

Meanwhile, McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said the Obama campaign is launching "a false attack."

“The Obama campaign is embarking on a false attack on John McCain to hide their own candidate’s willingness to disregard facts on the ground in pursuit of withdrawal no matter what the costs," he said.

"John McCain was asked if he had a ‘better estimate’ for a timeline for withdrawal," he also said. " As John McCain has always said, that is not as important as conditions on the ground and the recommendations of commanders in the field."

UPDATE: In a conference call Wednesday afternoon, McCain supporter Joe Lieberman said he's dissapointed with the Obama campaign attacks.

“This is exactly the kind of partisan political game the American people are sick and tired of," he said.

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soundoff (380 Responses)
  1. Brian

    History has shown us that there are two things people will fight doggedly for: their religion and their homeland. The militants in Iraq are fighting for one, the other, or both. Most American’s in Iraq are fighting for neither. The sooner we realize that, the sooner we can bring our troops home to safety. In my mind, a quick withdrawal saving thousands of American lives is the only way we win anything in this war.

    June 11, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  2. Mike from Westchester

    "That’s all fine. American casualties and the ability to withdraw; we will be able to withdraw."

    If this is an accurate quote, does anyone have any idea what he is trying to say here? This is not the first time I have noticed that the words coming out of his mouth are almost unintelligible. Forget whether we agree or disagree with his ideas – sometimes it's just plain impossible to tell what the heck he's trying to say.

    Like Bush, but at least when Bush slaughters the English language, it usually has comedic appeal – this is just mud.

    June 11, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  3. Tammy - KCMO

    This guy is an idiot. I can't believe I once thought about voting for him in a previous election.
    The Iraqi people don't want us there and the majority of the US people don't want us there. Considering we never should have entered Iraq in the first place, and should have concentrated on finding Bin Laden in Afghanistan, we need to withdraw NOW!
    When are the Republicans ever going to get a clue that Iraq does not = 9/11? Although with all the enemies Bush has created for the Americans over there because of his foolishness and stupidity it could now unless the Democrats can put an end to it.

    June 11, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  4. MLG

    McCain 08

    June 11, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  5. Dave

    Hopefully all Americans can agree on one thing, impossible as that may seem. Everyone wants the war on terror and specifically the fighting in Iraq to end, being a proud Republican I know of no one who wants the war to contiue or who likes this war. However, the war on terror MUST end in victory and this includes Iraq. We are getting closer and closer to realizing this victory in Iraq, speficially having Iraq govern and manage it's own affiars without American involvement.

    That is what Senator McCain is sayng in the article above, the date we eventually leave is not as important as leaving in victory

    June 11, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
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