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. Mitch

    Thank you for the nice welcome to McCain's Campain, but the list of things you have are all the wrong things that I would favor. However if you list keeping Obama out of the White House I am up for that.
    McCain can't do a dam thing in office to many Democrats in Congress and the numbers will be increasing with the Obama fans voting. Hillary will have her time in 2012 and then America can be saved. I am voting for McCain

    June 11, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  2. Obama v McCain


    June 11, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  3. harold

    McCain keeps saying he wants to stay in Iraq until we win.
    I have yet to hear, from anyone, what is their definition of winning. Senator McCain, please enlighten us of what this elusive definition.

    June 11, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |

    As a former Navy sailor, I am disgusted by this man. A republican who wants the US to have a PERMANENT base in Iraq.

    Cheney will give McCain a BIG OLE KISS, for keeping Halliburton in business and robbing the American people.

    Thanks for continuing the lie McCain.

    Vote Democrat, and fix this mess!

    June 11, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  5. LJ

    McCain does not equal Bush. McCain is so far from Bush it isn't funny. Obama is out of Touch of Reality, Obama has no solid plan it is easy to say and talk about change but he has no idea what to do, except scream change. I ask the question how. How come anytime anyone in the media asks him about his plan he dosen't answer but throws up racism and hate because they dare question him. I wonder if will throw the race card if the Prez of Iran dosen't like or disagrees with him. I don't believe that would work.

    June 11, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  6. ProundToBeADemocrat

    Old man does not have an answer because this is an open end war. He wants to stay in iraq for 100 years to make himself look tough.

    June 11, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  7. Summer

    I don't believe McCain really wants H Supporters, you all will make him damaged goods.

    June 11, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  8. Dee, MO

    @ Karen, FL; I tell you what, you go a replace some soldier that wants to come home a be with their family. Big mouth!!

    June 11, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  9. Adam Wolski

    As a thinking citizen, I would like to find out what exactly was the purpose of the US invading Iraq?? I hate to be like the liberals who say 'let's get out' and that's the end of it. Is it because we don't want all that oil in anyone else's control when it can be in ours? Is it because of a particularly strong lobby group? The Bush admin. owe us Americans answers!!!

    June 11, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  10. NO McCain


    You need to switch to Fox News.

    June 11, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  11. David Goldman for OBAMA







    June 11, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  12. Califgirl

    I saw the interview..it was totally appropriate. He was stating that it's okay they are there, because the casualties are down. He also added our troops are all over the world. Don't forget, hes own son, a Marine is in Iraq. Does that mean anything to you?

    June 11, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  13. Please Shut Up!

    "Welcome Hillary Supporters" points are exactly what a vote for McCain will bring. irrationality, bigotry, and two wars going on at the same time. Hillary Clinton was against all of the points this idiot just pointed out, so vote democrat if you're truly against backwards policies and prejudice.

    gays are "not normal"? Really?

    Vote Democrat 08/12

    June 11, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  14. russell

    once again this goes to show how out of touch he really is with MAINSTREAM AMERICANS ,who want this war to end ,that's right keep on harping for the war .....and see that the democrats take the white house and the senate come November..we never should have been there in the first place , and he opted to side with Bush on this issue and it will surely cost him this election ,so com'on and make us happy,
    cause this will be a battle you won't win

    June 11, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  15. the eternal burning question

    to the conservatives at the top of the comments: how exactly does it effect YOU if gay people marry each other. I don't mean that it's against your values or makes you upset. Cigarettes are against my values and make me upset, but that's not enough to make it ILLEGAL. How does it actually, in reality, not conceptually, effect you?

    Ok, I'm waiting.

    June 11, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  16. Austin

    Football fans,

    Just think of where the New England Patriots would have been if they stuck with the old experience guy in Drew Bledsoe, instead of going w/ the young, up and coming star in Tom Brady (3 rings).

    – Samething happened in Dallas. Drew Bledsoe 9-7. Tony Romo 13-3.
    – Samething in Pittsburgh stay will the old journeyman or go w/ Ben Rothesburger... They go w/ Ben and win a Superbowl. 1st since 1980.

    This is the 21st century and John McCain is talking about the 1970s era of Jimmy Carter????

    Out with the old and in w/ the new. Obama 08 !!!

    June 11, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  17. Matthew

    Wow, it's pretty amazing that John Kerry has the nerve to tell someone else that they're out of touch. Go windsurf, John. Bush is horrible, but I thank God you're not in the White House!

    June 11, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  18. Wayne

    There is no need to tiptoe around McCains ripe old age. His age will be a factor in his ability to do the job. Imagine if McCain at the age of 71 interviewed to be a bus driver at your local, public school. He probably wouldnt be hired because they would conclude that he is too old and it would be unsafe for the children on board.

    McCain is too old to be president. He would be too old to do many jobs in America.

    June 11, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  19. Dee, MO

    @ Karen, FL; I tell you what, you go an replace some soldier that wants to come home a be with their family. Big mouth!!

    June 11, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  20. Lo-Jack

    There are more veterans for McCain then for Obama at least 10 to 1 if not more.

    June 11, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  21. Bob/NH

    Haven't we had enough years of an inarticulate buffoon? McCain doesn't get a lot right now...God help us if he ever gets into the White House...There are no differences between Bush and Wanabee.

    June 11, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  22. Caryn, WDC

    Win in Iraq? What does that mean exactly? It's pretty obvious that we've already lost.

    June 11, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  23. Eric

    John McCain is confused – he'll veto beer, he'll send bottled hot water to dehydrated babies and he certainly doesn't care if US forces come back or not, just like Bush who is secretly negotiating for permanent US presence in Iraq. John "Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran" McCain is also in favor of opening up a third front in the middle east, further stretching our armed forces. In addition, if he cares so much about US lives, then why would he advocate engaging Iran militaristically.

    John McCain is confused. It may be his old age, it may just be that he's ignorant and stupid.

    June 11, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  24. MoveOn

    There's CNN's lead reporter, Michele Obama, at it again.

    Did you know BOTH Michele and Barry server in the Army? They both won lots of medals and are the cat's meow when it comes to being all-knowing. She knows what is important and that makes it CNN's most important topic.

    She thinks sooooo highly of Kerry, too. He won all those medals, too, for ALL those war wounds..(scratches to the rest of us).

    You go, girl. Get CNN to pay Kerry, too, as one of your reporters.

    June 11, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  25. Seamus

    Why does McCain show so much disdain for the troops? First he says he's "fine" with them being there 100 years (which I'm sure is not "fine" for them and their families, even if they're not taking casualties, and how exactly that is going to happen, McCain doesn't say). Then he opposes the GI Bill because it would lead to too many troops leaving the service for a good education (the horror! Never mind that we'd recruit just as many with a good educational incentrive) Now he says it's not important how long they're there. What a disgrace.

    June 11, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
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