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. Franky

    Let me get this staright............we have the fewest casulaties in last month(I believe) than when the war started, right?? You know, something like that. So, I ask you, what else do we need to do??? Create a Burger King??? Create some bunkers??? We might as well have a Wal Mart........

    June 11, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  2. Loretta from California

    Not too important. NOW IVE HEARD ENOUGH. I'm sorry, but only the mentally UNSTABLE, unbalanced idiot would even consider voting for this man.


    June 11, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  3. Linda Esen

    McCain 08 : WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO WIN IN IRAQ>>>>DO U HAVE ANY IMMEDIATE FAMILY OR ANYONE RELATIVE WHO HAVE BEEN MURDERED OVER THERE. You should be concerned about a "leader" who was a POW, Senator for 80 years AND YET he voted for a war and continues to advocate it !!! Why dont you vlunteer for the military and go over to Iraq and WIIN WIN WIN .....

    June 11, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  4. 58 old white ladies for OBAMA








    June 11, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  5. A Moderate

    Yeah. Who cares when we leave Iraq. Certainly not anyone who claims to "hate war" like John McCain in his new ads.

    June 11, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  6. Debby

    Obama camp taking a shot when their chosen one hasn't even been over there to see for himself whats going on talk about an idiotic statement. Kerry commenting is like listening to bozo the clown with the big flip/flop shoes. I understood what McCain meant and I also heard troops might be withdrawing as early as Sept. its been on the news.

    June 11, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  7. Tejano

    McCain gets it right. You Obama idiots don't have a clue about Iraq and the war on Radical Islam. Elect Obama and you might as well be prepared for the destruction of Western Civilization. This is not about you or me it is about the future of our Nation and Civilized Society. We will not surrender.

    June 11, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  8. Mister Anderson

    DIdn't McCain say a few weeks ago that the war would be won by 2013 and the troops would start coming home?

    When will the DNC or Obama start producing a series of commercials with "Maverick McCain" debating "Republican Presidential Nominee McCain"?

    June 11, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  9. Kris

    Caption from picture "my friends" Withdrawing from Iran..Lieberman leans over and whispers in his ear.....opps I mean Iraq is not important right now. Please...This guy is wrong...very wrong.

    June 11, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  10. Teri

    You Obama lovers keep saying that McCain is the same as Bush- then keep in mind that in 8 years, nothing happened to Roe v Wade under Bush, did it?

    June 11, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  11. Von Bismark Vienna


    June 11, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  12. carla

    NO to McCain


    shall I say

    No to McCain't

    June 11, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  13. shelly


    June 11, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  14. Ian

    We have bases (that we know about) in over 130 countries. What's the harm in having a few more? Besides economic collapse.

    Ron Paul '08

    June 11, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  15. Paul, Riverside, CA

    McCain = The Manchurian Candidate

    June 11, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  16. McSame

    This guy has lost his bearings.... wink wink

    Bring our troops home.

    June 11, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  17. doc4nuts

    Maybe he did not "veto the beer" before the interview.

    June 11, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  18. Christian, Tampa FL

    There is no "winning" Iraq. This is not that kind of war anymore. We already won the conventional battle, and right now all we're doing is babysitting. I know a guy who's been serving in Iraq and he says that we can leave anytime. It's time to stop wasting our blood and treasure on a nation that doesn't want us there.

    June 11, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  19. Sean

    McCain is a realist and engages in plain talk. Obviously, Obama, who speaks out of both sides of his mouth, enjoys dissecting every word McCain says, taking it out of context, and using it to paint McCain as old, befuddled, confused. Voters with functioning brains know McCain's record and that he has a wealth of experience that will serve him well when he's president. The wanna-be, whippersnapper pup who'd like to muscle his way into the White House is no match for the old lion.

    June 11, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  20. Karen in Fla

    McCain is right. The DATE is not the issue.

    When you enlist in the armed services, you don't get to pick where you will go. You can't say "I want to be stationed in my home town". The concern should be the well being of the troops. Are we now going to start ranting about troops in Germany??? Or how about other places US Troops are stationed??? The goal should be safety and stability for the troops. If their tour is not up – they aren't coming home if they leave Iraq – they are going to another posting.

    I'm not saying I agree with all of McCain's positions – I don't. There are a lot I disagree with. But this is not one of them.

    June 11, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  21. Paul, Riverside, CA

    John McCain is about as good for Americans as a cigarette is for a 3 year old.

    June 11, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  22. Doug

    Thank god the article wasn't about abortion! No telling what we'd be talking about.

    When I picture the average republican president (and most republicans are pretty average), I picture a guy playing with the little green plastic army soldiers on the desk in the oval office, acting like an 8-year-old. Trouble is, the army that the president "plays" with is comprised of real living, breathing people.
    McCain WANTS war. This occupation of Iraq is his quickest way there. On to Iran, Syria, etc!
    Republicans are never happy unless we have men and women dying in battles overseas.

    June 11, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  23. Poor Judgment

    Senator McCain lacks understanding of anything. It's so sad.

    June 11, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  24. Karl Rove

    Mccain is old he's unhealthy...he should be more concerned about how he's going to get out of bed in the morning then running for President

    June 11, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  25. ObamaRocks

    Good god, this guy is not only senile, he is out of touch with American people. A vast majority of them want the troops to come home ASAP, like yesterday!

    June 11, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
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