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. Connie Jo

    I'd like to reiterate what FactCheck said.

    So let me see if I understand this, McCain referred to HRC with an euphemism for a "female dog" (rhymes with "witch"), once called his wife an euphemism for a female body part (rhymes with "hunt"), doesn't believe in equal pay for the sexes, seeks to overturn Roe v. Wade and Clinton supporters are STILL anxious to vote for him? I guess there's no better way to show support for your candidate by UNDOING what she'd spend the last 18 months putting forward.

    Finally someone with some sense, I love it, way to go!

    Obama '08

    June 11, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  2. Obama 08

    For people that are saying "MCCAIN 08" "HILLARY 2012" You guys have serious issues. You guys are obssessed and are like brain dead zombies. Hillary LOST get OVER IT. True Democrats will not Vote for McSame.

    Obama 2008, and 2012.

    PS: Even your candiate supports Obama, learn a thing or two and do the same instead of whining like bunch of 4 year-olds.

    June 11, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  3. Ray

    Just say "NO" to 4 more years of McBush!

    June 11, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |


    June 11, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  5. fojohnson

    Is McCain serious to say the date for the troop is not important. He has no idea what he is talking about. The press and McCain keep saying the causality for American soldier is less compared to four years or so ago. When I her such comment it makes me sad. What about the soldier and the family members who see their love die, wounded or going through trauma. Can someone consider does victim as one of those not important because the causality in the war is less. I don't care what happen in Iraq, losing one life is not worth fighting for in Iraq. As for McCain when I see him on TV he alway look angry and is his smile is has sad has his anger. II hope he will find a way to stop smiling and just speak. Hillary supporters I think you are so angry you don't care if we have the worst economy on earth. I'm a woman I don't care if have Hillary won will vote for her. However because she did not run a good campaign that is why she lost. Blame her not Obama.

    June 11, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  6. DAVE

    OBAMA 08 !

    June 11, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  7. Peggy - Tx

    Re: Vig - reality check!!!! No one cares if you write in Hillary's name in Nov. You might as well write in Micky Mouse, because it will not effect anything. As Hillary supporters supposedly flock to McCain, McCain’s support numbers continue to go down. The more McCain tries to cater to Hillary’s supporters and the more Hillary’s supporters rant about voting for McCain, the less credible both are.

    June 11, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  8. JS

    I was shocked when I heard McCain say "it doesn't matter how long we are there" this morning too. Just another reason why I won't vote for him.

    June 11, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  9. CB

    I predict the entire mess Bush has got us into, and the gaffes-a-minute from McCain will all be forgotten when people go to the polls. I predict that the majority of sheep who voted for Bush will be again frightened into voting for McCain because they will play into people's fears about Obama (aka Muslim, flag pin, bitter, Wright).

    voters are sheep. that's why we had bush elected for 2 terms. that's why McCain will probably be voted in. AND WE CAN THANK THE SHEEP FOR $10 a gallon gas! Worse health care crisis. More deaths in iraq and maybe even iran.

    June 11, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  10. Sabrina

    McCain you are right only a fool would pull out quickly, even Obama is coming around to the way Hillary and McCain are thinking. Little bit of flip flopping I would say, this is want inexperience does. Marcus, we are voting to send a message to the DNC, the news media,and the people who stabbed Hillary in the back from her own party. She can run in 2012. McCain is a moderate so it works for me. All Clinton supporters go to Clinton 4Mcain.com or justsaynodeal.com!!!!!!

    June 11, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  11. Independent Voter

    McCain's time has past. He let the Bush folks talk him out of running against Bush in 2000, so now he is too old to even think straight. This is too sad, because I was more inclined to vote for him back then. However, he now seems so out of touch, so stiff and so slow and just not someone who has the charisma to inspire the country. Maybe there should be an age limit for the presidency. I don't think anyone can argue that a 40-something year old mind is more agile than a 70-something year old mind. Look what happened to Reagan? He went into seclusion when he left the White House because he was already in the mid stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Americans must become smart enough to analyze everything...along with the issues at hand. McCain is McSame because at this point, he can only remember what is, not what should be.

    June 11, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  12. Proud American

    McCain wants to sustain this war so that he can continue lining the pockets of those that profit on our behalf. No More McCain= No More War!!!

    June 11, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  13. charles

    grandpa it is you who is more bitter. you made it clear today that staying fr 100 years is more important. cling to your100 years. by the time you let cling only you and your buddies wl be left.

    June 11, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  14. White small town for Obama !!

    OMG is the grandpa serious? SICK!!!!!! Meanwhile young soldiers are dying everyday, children with no parents, mothers without sons and daughters ... SO SICK!!!!!!!

    I can't believe that HIllary supporters will actually vote for grandpa!!!


    June 11, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  15. Teddy California

    One more thing. If American casuality goes down to very low in Iraq, then Aemrican public will support staying in Iraq. Do you remember the American zero casualty war against Serbia? The U.S. almost bombed Serbia into stone age destroying Serbia's all kinds of infrastructure and killing thousands of Serbia people. But Americans sufferred zero casualty. What was the support level of that war? I bet over 80%.

    If the American casualties go down in Iraq, then McCain will win the arguments. Obama should concentrate on economy, not Iraq war.

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

    I'm not saying McCain is senile. But he definitely is crazy if he thinks he's going to win, especially if this is the best he has.

    Maybe the press should cover his pitiful stances on women's issues.

    McCain opposed the Equal Pay Bill for Women, saying they "need education and training’ instead.

    He crippled the Family and Medical Leave act in 1993.

    In 2005, he voted against funding for programs to prevent unintended and teen pregnancies—and reduce abortions in the process.

    In 2003, he voted against requiring health insurers to include birth control—and, again, prevent more abortions.

    In his service as an Illinois legislator and a U.S. senator, Obama has earned a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood for voting in favor of sex education, counseling, and the right to choose. McCain? Lowest ranking senator at zero percent.

    Vote Obama—he DOES have experience. And it's the right kind.

    June 11, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  17. shadman

    There are still people (such as the one above (welcome Hillary Supporters) who have their fingers on the nuke button and Bush's mentality of lets go get them. They haven't learned anything from Iraq war, which was based on lies and looks like Bush is ready again to take us to another war, probably based on some more lies.

    In Iraq there were the WMD which they knew were North, south, east and west of Baghdad (according to Rumsfeld)....but the truth IS they weren't.

    Now its Iran today. What will be tomorrow? And for God's sake we should know that it is not easy to build nukes. Only 10 or so country that have it and most of them cannot deliver it far enough to reach USA. (Oh yes, there is one country that possibly has the capabilities but the world does not admit or even supervises it....Guess which one?)

    We must ask our politicians to think about America first and not base our policies to appease another country. We, americans must think of us first but as long as we continue to base our foreign policies based on how it will effect one small country in the ME, we will have problems at home and elsewhere.

    Lets get the trigger happy politicians out of washington.

    June 11, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  18. JON

    OBAMA 08

    June 11, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  19. James in Oregon

    McCain is so far out of touch with America .

    June 11, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  20. Esther

    Did you guys hear the latest news about Bush's pathetic administration – FEMA gave away just this year about $85 million in goods that were meant for Katrina victims years ago?! It was costing over $1 million for storage per year and now another group wanted to use the warehouses – thats why they gave them away!!!

    Vote for McSame and continue the pathetic Bush 3rd term, dumb voters as dumb as the person they voting for!

    Admit it – a lot of factors were behind such stupidity by the Bushes – race, politics and sheer meaness...as evident in the McSame policies

    '...those items never made it to people such as Debra Reed.
    "An honest person like me didn't get nothing," said Reed, 54, who recently moved from a tent beneath a New Orleans bridge to a home with the help of Kegel's group. "I'm gonna turn, 'cause I'm gonna cry. I didn't get nothing. I fought to get my money, but they wouldn't give it to me. So I ended up going under the bridge" .'

    June 11, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  21. Erik

    NOT TOO IMPORTANT??? What a Bush cultist. Those of you insist we will "win" the so-called war (that is, invasion and occupation) in Iraq shold define what a "win" is and decide what we really get for our 500 billion dollars and thousands of Americna lives.

    And why, oh why, do so many fools believe military service makes one somehow more ready to be President? We have a civilian leader of the military, according to the Constitution, for a reason! "Sir, yes sir!"

    June 11, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  22. heartlight 3, Maui, HI

    I don't see how anyone can think that we could stay in a place where they don't want us, and where the kind of anti-American sentiment exists as in Iraq for 100 years and not suffer casualties. South Korea and Japan want us there. Iraq does not.

    June 11, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  23. JALAL

    we love u obama....go obama go.........

    OBAMA 08 & 12

    June 11, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  24. TAHARI in CT 4 OBAMA

    Didn’t this guy just give a speech 5mins ago about how we where going to be out of Iraq in 2013?

    Was it me or was I hearing things? ROLL TAPE!

    This guy is ridiculous!

    June 11, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  25. Supporters for Hillary

    This is real cute
    This is definitely change the Hillary supporters could believe in

    I would also add

    Together we can also put a stop to the fair pay act for women
    who needs fair pay when we can vote for John Mccain

    June 11th, 2008 12:55 pm ET

    I'd like to welcome all the Hillary Clinton supporters to the republican party and thank you for coming to your senses and backing the best candidate, John McCain.

    Together we can:

    1) help reverse Roe v. Wade and make abortion illegal – let's stop the murder of unborn babies!

    2) stop gays from getting married – let's get a constitutional amendment to stop gay marriage and let them know they are not normal!

    3) keep fighting the good fight in Iraq for as long as it takes – remember 9/11 and what we are fighting for!

    4) get ready to invade Iran – we know they are planning to nuke us – let's get them first! McCain will make sure we do!

    Good to see democrats finally waking up and becoming more conservative!

    June 11, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
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