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. Veterans For Obama

    Yet another reason why McCain is losing the Veteran vote. You can't stab people in the back repeatedely and expect them to vote for you.

    I hope people vote for their interests this year. The only people who should support McCain are:

    Oil Execs.
    CEO's of large Corporations
    Pro Lifers
    Richest 2% of americans (but they have to NOT care about the rest of us, the war, the economy, and the environment).

    If you don't find yourself in the above category, don't vote McCain!

    June 11, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  2. kim portland, oregon

    it's pretty dam important TO THEIR FAMILIES you fool, and we americans who actually SUPPORT and RESPECT our troops.

    you are a disgrace, mccain!! you run on your military career, yet are happy to send more troops off to your new wars, dont think bringing them home from iraq is "important", think sending them to college (which WE all gladly did for you, you hypocrite) is too genorous, and vote down other benefits for them. you disgust us!!!


    mccain is THE PAST!!! mccain's world is OVER!!! mccain is a step BACK in time!!!

    MCCAIN is the one killing our citizens, NOT clinton and obama!

    and look at his pictures, every DAY he ages another YEAR–mccain's gonna be 1000 years old by november!!!!!

    A VOTE FOR MCCAIN IS UN-AMERICAN, ANTI-TROOPS, UN-AMERICAN, PRO-WAR, PRO-BUSINESS, UN-AMERICAN AND UN-AMERICAN!! it's an insult to our forefathers, our country, our troops, thinking americans to vote for this old, out of touch Crypt Keeper!!

    June 11, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |

    cnn tell the full story not half story with your headline..

    he said "the ability to withdraw...we will withdraw"

    cnn be fair and objective and balance...

    cnn has about 5 articles on obama compared to 1 to mccain

    June 11, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  4. Jaybrown NY/NJ

    McCain is a scary individual. I really hope he doesn't win in November. I think he's way out of touch. I'm not saying that he never done anything good. I'm sure he has. But.... I wouldn't want to see him running the country. Reminds me a lot of Bush. And not because Obama and the rest of the democrats say that.

    June 11, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  5. nick


    June 11, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  6. Elene

    Now wait a minute...how old Mccain really is?! here you say 71?! I have read it quite a few times that he's 76?! ...Enough already, it does not even matter because he thinks and acts old....way, way older than 71 (which I do not belive for a second he is) and way older than 76!

    June 11, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  7. tj

    John McCain is good on national security. He knows what he's doing. America should not leave Iraq until the job is done.

    June 11, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  8. Geri

    I dont agree with McCain but why have some one like Kerry respond. At least have someone that isn't totally ignorant comment...and to think I voted for him in the last election. Bad choice but better than Bush.

    June 11, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  9. John in NY

    Whannnnnnnn! Hillary didn't win, its unfair, going to vote for McCain.

    CNN: please stop posting their garbage and idiotic toddler rants.

    No one cares anymore, you people were dumb enough to vote Bush twice and now you are making Hillary out to be something she never was. Its a coin flip between Hillary and Obama. There isn't enough to debate here, but now you want someone who opposes everything Hillary was in favor of.

    Either you people are really republicans or you are morons. Well if you voted for Bush or will vote McBush then it is obvious that you are a moron.

    June 11, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  10. Karin

    To all of Hillary supporter that will vote for McCain .....Voting for McCain really will show Hillary just how much you really cared/love her and how much you really believe in what she stand for and believe in herself....What a slap in the face form her so call true supporters......I'm a Obama supporter ...but if Hillary would have won I would have voted for her because I believe in what both Obama and Hillary Stand For the only problem was I did not like Hillary plan on UV Heathcare taking money out of people pay like Tax to cover the health plan.....other than that Hillary was OK.....So ....To all Hillary Supporters That What To Vote McCain ...Go ahead and really do Hillary bad.....That will fall back on all of Hillary So call true supporter......... .Obama 08

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

    Not to "Welcome Hillary Supprters" Brilliant pice of political irony!!!

    June 11, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  12. Oh! The Irony

    Franky June 11th, 2008 1:04 pm ET

    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……..

    Yeah, according to their thoght process, only 18 U.S. soldiers were killed, this is cause for celebration. Let's build a Six Flags over Iraq.

    1 Soldier's life, 1 destroyed family is too much.

    June 11, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  13. unions are not stupid

    Brian in Knoxville

    you post often but never is there any truth in your post time after time same lies over and over again and anyone that is reading them can verify them in seconds useing Google.

    Mc Cain daily gaffes over and over and lies lies lies.One minute he says something on video then when ask several hours later says he never made those statements the man can not remember from one min to the next. As a medical professional that has worked with the elderly my whole life. I would bet my life saving this man is all ready in the first stages of dementia!!!! take that to the bank.

    June 11, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  14. McCain is not my friend...

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

    Now this statement would have made a lot more sense had the terrorist from 9/11 been from Iraq...sorry they weren't! We didn't have a good reason to go into Iraq and everyone knows that now. It will yet again become another place where America has to set up permanent bases. How long ago was the Vietnam war(another ridiculous war)...Don't we still have troops there! The more important danger beyond Iran is China who is constantly doing nuclear testing and shooting off freaking missles, but we don't care because 98% of our goods including those "VERY PATRIOTIC" flag pins comes from China and their cheap labor.

    Get serious no Democrate for Hillary would vote for McCain and if they do they were probably Republicans anyway who had crossed over to vote for Hillary and are now stepping back on their side!

    June 11, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  15. FactCheck

    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.

    June 11, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  16. 58 old white ladies for OBAMA



    June 11, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  17. Vig

    It's a shame that McCain is standing fast on his Iraq policies because I would otherwise vote for him. But since this isn't going to happen, I will exercise my right to write-in Hillary's name on the November ballot.

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

    From someone who spent 5 years in a jail in North Vietnam that shows that he has a short memory, or maybe no memory at all...

    June 11, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  19. Greg Pottstown, Pa.

    Welcome Hillary Supporters

    A dem posing as a repub. Not all repubs are against abortion and not all dems are for it. Nice try, but people are not that dumb. What happened to change politics, stop the fear mongering.

    June 11, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  20. Susan

    I saw the interview. HE sia that it was not too IMPORTANT! Tucker Bounds knows no bounds of shame when he counter attacks on this issue. Rhe Repubulicans are War Mongering Theives, who have sold the USA down the river, just like McCain did to his fellow prisoners in Viet Nam. You cannot cover up that this man only wants war because it continues to make the rich Republicans even more rich. Anbody that votes for be aware that it may be years befor you see your loved one again, and more than that not likely! Same on John McCain! A continuation of 4 more years of bush policies! OBAMA 08!!!

    June 11, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  21. Paul

    McCain the Manchurian candidate is showing his true colors. This guy won't be satisfied until he triples the number of dead US soldiers in Iraq. We gotta keep him and his anti-American cronies from getting their fingers on the button.

    June 11, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  22. Reality Check Richmond Virginia

    I thought McCain was supposed to be the one w/ foreign policy experiance.

    June 11, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  23. Mike

    Hey Terry, newsflash: if Obama loses this election, his supporters will blame Clinton for stirring the pot and she will NEVER win another primary. Obama may need Hillary's supporters, but Hillary needs his supporters too. If you're merely SO bitter that you want to bring down the Democratic Party, that's fine; but if you want Hillary to have a chance in 2016, you'd better pray that Barack wins in 2012.

    June 11, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  24. claude

    shiite and sunni,iran and iraq,beers and bills.it's really easy to mix those up when you are old.maybe bomb the wrong country too.it's call dementia

    June 11, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  25. Oh! The Irony

    Karen in Fla June 11th, 2008 1:08 pm ET

    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.

    Their concern should be the well being of the troops? So explain 3, 4 and 5 tours of duty because our military is stretched so thin due to our presence in Iraq which under McCain dates for duration are not important.

    June 11, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
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