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.

Filed under: John McCain • Popular Posts
soundoff (380 Responses)
  1. Marcus

    oh and oone more thing.....he is just another Bush ....... ihope you like gas prices at 8 dolloars a gallon........get ready

    June 11, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  2. Taylor, NYC

    Yeah, here is one Hillary supporter that is a republican that is voting Obama.

    Abortion: If Roe vs. Wade is overturned it would not make abortion illegal across the board as implied. It would leave it up to the states. States like NY would never make it illegal. We protect the right to privacy.

    Would someone please explain to me how gay marriage effects anyone else except the two gay people getting married? If you don't like gays getting married, then don't marry a gay.

    Iraq: If you want to fight terrorism on behalf of 9/11 then sign up and go to Afganistan. Iraq is about oil...not terror.

    Iran: Good solution, let's start another war when we can't finish the first one.

    McCain = the collapse of the US economy and military...a bargain...a two-for-one!

    Go Obama/Clinton '08!
    or Obama/Clark '08!
    or Obama/Webb '08!
    or Obama/the guy next door '08!

    June 11, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  3. Michelle

    He is so pathetic!!!
    When is MColdtimer going to realize 82% of americans want this war OVER.... capishe!!!!
    Think of the 5 billion every month being spent on this war going to help the economy or
    More money to spend on US infratstructure
    More money to spend on Securing the borders
    More money to spend on securing the ports and airports
    More money to spend on HEALTH CARE
    More money to spend on EDUCATION
    etc etc etc
    not to mention the TOLL this is taking on the military and their families
    from repeated tours!!
    Down with MC-oldtimer the war monger!!!
    Vote for change or mire yourselves in 4 more years of Bush policies which =WAR WAR WAR
    Take your country away from the mindset of war!!!!!

    June 11, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  4. Peggy - Tx

    McCain does not sound like he has a firm grip in the complex issues involved in Iraq. McCain was a pilot, a PWO, but never a commander and, frankly, he is not very intelligent nor studious. He does not inspire my confidence in making major security decisions such as how to get out of the mess in Iraq.

    Obama also lacks military command experience, but his extraordinary intelligence will allow him to quickly evaluate input from experts to make the final decisions regarding the war efforts. Also, his strong diplomatic skills will allow him to effectively negotiate with our potential enemies to avoid war where reasonably possible.

    June 11, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  5. United America

    We should tell Mccain to put his Hands Up if he thinks he should be president

    June 11, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  6. Chi4Obama

    I think he meant the term "100 year war" literally.

    June 11, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  7. William, from Cali

    Look, this tic-for-tac; is getting a little to much.........let the people, who are "Protecting us"; from Ameria's enemies speak....Draft dodgers, college hiders, and the like; shouldn't have a say, in this "Equation", of such importance....I'm a vet, and I say.............."Stay til the job is done; no matter how long it take.......My freedom and safety; are not based on" timetables". Are yours?

    June 11, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  8. Dee Tee Gee Arlington, TX

    So the date of withdrawal is not important, huh? I'd love to see McCain go on the campaign trail & say that. I don't think he'd get a favorable response. I'd love to see him try to tell that to a soldier's husband or wife, a soldier's mother or father, a soldier's son or daughter, a soldier's brother or sister. Just because he's all gung ho about this war & doesn't care at all about the families it's destroying doesn't mean everyone else feels the same way. Why veterans would vote for him is beyond me. He doesn't want to improve their benefits. I'll continue to say this, if you vote for John McCain, I don't want to hear not 1 single whine or complaint from you when we're twice as worse off than we are now, & we're pretty bad off right now. Voting for McCain is simply hate voting, because you hate the skin Barack Obama is in.

    June 11, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  9. Won't Be Held Hostage by Clinton Supporters

    Hillary Clinton's "staunch supporters" (because not all of you have completely lost your minds) make me laugh. I mean it won't be funny come November when Obama is the POTUS. I read the whole "Puma Pac" thing, and I'm laughing even harder. You all are ridiculous. I've never seen a nominee treated this badly before for winning fair and square. Mad about MI & FL? Thank those legislatures who created that problem? Mad about the media "bias"? Then stop writing on CNN blogs and watching these news channels in protest. Mad about how the DNC and Obama "stole this election?" How could he have stole it... if he won more of the pledged delegates? Why is it only big states count and the others shouldn't? He won more states, more delegates and ended up with more support of the supers. How is it someone way ahead ends up behind? Simple, they mess up and she did, get over it. This isn't some voting, freedom, woman's rights, I don't know what to call it. You're mad he won and you'll come up with any excuse, no matter how flimsy to support your irrational behavior. Anyone I've talked to a Clinton supporter in person who expressed how they're upset and what they think was unfair. I understood it and I spoke to her about my support for Obama and you want to know what she said? "I agree, and in my head I know you're right, but its gonna take awhile for my heart to catch up". You want to know why that was an easy discussion? Because not all 18 million of your are nuts. You can be mad, you can cry, whine and "protest with my vote" all you want. But the right to vote isn't a right of protest, it was a right of choice to make good decisions for you and your country. It is not to make purposedly bad decisions for the sake of petty spite. We Obama supporters don't owe you anything; to kiss your butt, Clinton's butt or anyone's butt. We worked hard, he worked hard and it paid off, the end. The whining is just unbearable and you know at the end of the day, you live with those decisions. Hopefully, eventually, you'll come back down to earth, at least most of you will, for the others, I'll pray for you, you really need it.

    Obama 2008
    If Not, NO CLINTON in 2012, 2016...

    June 11, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  10. Tommy

    He obviously would say the differences between Sunni's, Shiite's and Kurd's in Iraq don't really matter either! Also, spouting the idiotic phrase we are going to win in Iraq? If they can ever live in peace together, then we will have won!

    June 11, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  11. Greg, VT

    Mr. MacCain can't make it. He is losing his bearings.

    It sounds like the racists were suddenly surprised by Obama's victory. They are in pure panic. Let me tell you something. What God has planned cannot change its course like they use to do with the rivers. You'd better bow before it's late folks!

    June 11, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  12. Steve

    Don't bet on veterans for McCain. I am a Viet Nam veteran. I respect the sacrifices McCain made as a naval aviator and P.O.W. I will not vote for him. Politically, he's out of touch, and out of options. He is a wife-beater. He calls women all kinds of nasty names. He divorced his first wife because she became disabled and he didn't want to deal with it. He has voted against a veteran's benefits bill because it was "too expensive". He can't control his temper (has punched other Senators). Nope. I don't need a grumpy old man running my country. I don't give a rat's rectum if he IS a veteran. He's a basket case.

    June 11, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  13. Nicholas Mariniello

    "Here they go again!". The Democrats are twisting the spirit of what John McCain had said. Isn't it true that for many decades the US has positioned troops around the globe to insure stability in specific regions? Isn't it true that there is no greater regional instability than what we currently have in the Middle East? Isn't it true that if we were not sustaining casualties American's would have less negative feelings about being in the Middle East?

    No one person can be expected to have all the answers to the many questions that are being asked. America needs a President with the experience and wisdom to recognize the right answer when he/she sees it. Obama can't recognize a wayward preacher in his own church; never mind the answer to a very difficult international crisis that threatens the very freedoms we all enjoy and take for granted.

    Talk is cheap. The ability to focus and act on sound judgement is what separates effective leaders from effective orators.

    June 11, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    To all Hillary supporters:
    Hillary is a woman for sure, but she is not a good woman candidate. Choosing a woman candidate does not mean choosing a bad one. Now all of you do not sell yourself to Mcain for such a bad logical error. Stand behind Obama and I am sure you will get your voice heard.

    June 11, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  15. response to welcome HIllary supporters

    Hillary suuporters, come join the Obama Camp. We believe in equality where every person will be put on a solitary economic platform. Check your ideals and diplomacy at the door, we plan to take care of EVERYTHING. We have a five year plan, its brilliant, I won't tell you what it is but by the time you'll live to regret it, it will be far too late. We at the Obama camp are completely in touch with a majority of all voters, as we've never made a decision that beared a significant amount of responsiblity. All we expect in return is blind obidience while we, and our great friends Farrakahn, Franken, Wright and the KKK... you'll be in good company

    OBAMA '08 (the new RED STATE)

    June 11, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  16. randy

    I am sick and tired of people saying I am not voting for obama because he got the nomination rather the will vote for john well if that's the case why call your salf a democrat or indepent because obama and hilray policy is 95pecent the same so if you can vote base on policies and values then why are you voting?

    June 11, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  17. Chuck

    South Korea, Japan, Germany are not Iraq. But I know how McCain thinks and why he says what he does. Stay in Iraq long enough until Iraq becomes stablized and there is no violence against Amercian troops, i.e. South Korea, Japan, Germany. But he is comparing apples and oranges. The complexity of the issues in Iraq are too much for McCain's brain. Now what if we said North Korea, Iran and Cuba. Do we have troops there? And if we did would the situations be stable and would there be no violence aganist American troops? And why is it we do not have troops in these areas. Because like Iraq we would not be welcomed and we would not be seen as liberators. We would have our backs against the wall playing policeman in streets that would errupt frequently and at will. The locals (partisans) would fight a terrorists war aganist the US until at some point, and not unlike Britain during the Amerfcian Revolution or Russia after their invasion of Afghanistan, we would say enough is enough and come home. But those with a brain and some common sense know we have already reached that point in Iraq. It is time to come home.

    There is absolutley nothing wrong hunting down and eliminating terrorists who threaten or do harm to the U.S. But to send Amercian troops into another country for the long haul in order to nation build and to police the population is insane (especially in countries where there are several factions that do not want U.S. presence in the area).

    In such cases (terrorists), hunt those individuals down who provide leadership and orgnaization to these groups, kill them, and then get the hell out of the location where they were located. Do the same with leaders of nations who can be proven support and train such terrorists. Target them and kill them with special teams or by way of CIA infiltration and then leave. To win a war against terrorists one has to learn to fight like a terrorists. Sending thousands of troops to expose themselves while patroling the streets of an unstable and violence prone nation is not the answer. If McCain does not understand that he has no business running for President of this country. Our only option is to get our troops home from Iraq, regroup and retrain special teams to infiltrate and kill terrorists, and stop these attempts to nation build in parts of the world where the people are not ready or prepared to create a democracy.
    [evertroops into

    June 11, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  18. carlo

    Wanted to post this on the other ticker, but my lunch break is almost over, so I'll say it here.

    BTW: Brian from Knoxville, Hitler called. He wants his swastika back.

    Okay, a couple of things:

    1. Romney lost, so go away

    2. Hillary lost, so all of her supporters who are still bringing her loss up, its over. Go vote for McCain and shut up.

    3. I was alive when Carter was in office and I know that the Republicans made a deal to have the hostages held until Reagan got into office. Carter inherited a mess from Ford and Nixon

    4. Reagan set the Civil Rights, Women's Rights, and Human Rights back 40 years. He cut any program designed to help the poor and caused what is known as "Reaganomics", the good ole trickle down theory. I often wonder why conservatives love him so much. He literally ruined this country and caused quite a long stream of inflation.

    5. The Republicans are desperate and will do or say anything right now to get elected, including saying that they love Hillary. Apparently, none of these people remember the impeachment hearings and Kenneth Starr.

    June 11, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  19. Roe v Wade

    A President can't overturn Roe V Wade by the way. That decision would be made by the Supreme Court

    June 11, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  20. DEX

    Poor fella he is just not to bright

    June 11, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  21. atypical

    Overall, McCain is in touch. . in touch with those that still cling to an old paradigm.

    Obama represents the beginning of a new era, but it is not so much because of the man as it is the collective we in search of a new path, a new way of relating, a new way of living.

    The scales are beginning to tip as more and more folks realize the need to let go of the dominant survival-based mentality.

    There is a new paradigm emerging, and depending on your perspective you'll either embrace it and take an active role in nurturing it and pushing aside obsolete boundaries or you'll continue to live in a state of fear and apprehension, and run from an opportunity to not only reinvent yourself but the world in which we live.

    "Don't be afraid to feel insecure."


    June 11, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  22. Bryan

    MCain has already admitted, point blank, that he doesn't agree with the majority of Americans on Iraq.

    So...let's see....he's admittedly out of touch on Iraq, admittedly doesn't know what he's talking about when it comes to the economy....

    How exactly is he still pulling down 44% of the electorate?

    June 11, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  23. Chi4Obama

    So a timeline for withdrawal out of Iraq is "not important" in John McCain's eyes.

    God help our children AND Grandchildren, who may get drafted into this war.

    June 11, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  24. Arnold

    Obama was ridiculous of negotiating with Iran,,,what President Bush said today 10 June in Germany....""Diplomacy is first choice in Iran standoff"

    And McCain was ridicule Obama, he should fire his Commander in Chief.....

    June 11, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  25. robert ga

    I mean, honestly what does win in iraq mean to mccain, establish a democracy or kingdom and eliminate Alkaida (or what ever). That should end all the hate we get from the middle east.

    What paralell universe are you on Mcsame, that is never going to happen, not in your or our life time. So quit feeding us that "air" about staying till the job is done. And stop using our presence in Germany or Japan as examples.
    If you have not got this by now, these are islamic states, they don't care what you do.

    Go Dem ,

    June 11, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
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