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. Sandy J. Smith, Battle Hill, NC.

    Welcome hillary supporters!

    with your help we can get the bible back in school! Also, get rid of abortion and this rediculous idea of healthcare for all! We can't afford it! Thanks for wising up! With McCain we can finally stack the supreme court for the next 20 years!

    June 11, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  2. JJ

    This is just another reason why we don't need him in the White House. He is constantly going back and forth and Kerry was right. He's confused.

    June 11, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  3. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    The President should be concerned about the lives lost and sacrifices already made by our service men and women. It is likely we'll need to have military staff in Iraq for years to come to sustain the peace.

    June 11, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  4. Joe Gaines

    continue the pain vote for Mccain for all of you who are suffering 4 more years won;t hurt much more and then 4 years from now do the same and continue the pian and down the yellow brick road we go.

    June 11, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  5. Sherry

    Yeah "Veterans For Obama" - don't forget to add "Lobbyist" to your list!

    Obama '08 AND '12!

    June 11, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  6. Courtney

    Are troops need to come home safe as possible.

    OBAMA 08

    June 11, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  7. al-kanemi

    so Mccain can attack obama for being young and inexperienced but when someone makes a remark about being "confused", losing bearings', his team would say they attacking his age...quite pathetic..you are old with old washington ways..obama is young and fresh with new ideas.. change is what we need

    June 11, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  8. Caryn, WDC

    McCain LOVES war...that's all he knows. He said it himself in his new television ads. His grandfather went to war, his father was in war, he was a POW, and he sent his sons to Iraq. He wouldn't know what to do if there was peace. HE LOVES WAR.

    June 11, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  9. Empty suit, empty promises

    McCain is right in this particular statement, sorry lefties.

    Funny how gutless "never wore a uniform" Obama sends out John "three scatches" Kerry to do his dirty work.

    Kerry should not be a spokesperson for anyone but "Ghengis Khan" (remember him")?

    While people are talking about people being "confused", is Obama confused about the fact that he SHOULD submit an actual birth certificate to alleviate any questions? What ya hiding "Barry"?

    No problem "Barry" the media will ignore it.

    June 11, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  10. Travis. LA, CA

    "No, but that's not too important,"

    He seems to think of our soldiers as nothing more than action figures in a game of war. Someone needs to remind McCain that these are living, breathing human beings whose lives are actually worth something.

    June 11, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  11. charles

    of course its not important to grandpa. staying there for 100 years is more important. this oldman has no brains. even a robot will do better than him. every day he has to clarify what he was trying to say. this is outrageous.

    June 11, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  12. M

    He is just as scary as Obama....

    How do we elect unqualified candidates every four years?....

    British are right: we must be stupid..

    June 11, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  13. Still for Hill

    I find it amusing that you so called Democrats on the left (aka socialist supporters and terrorist sympathizers) are trying to force women to vote for Obama because of Roe V. Wade.

    Well, we true democrats, moderate democrats that do lean left and agree with most of the domocrat's platform will not be bullied.

    Get over yourselves. John McCain is not George W. Bush, but Obama is the second coming of Jimmy Carter.

    We've seen what an extreme liberal does to the country and we don't want any part of it. 20% interest rates, higher taxes, and lines at the gas pump are not the answer.

    Good luck Dems... Because we moderate democrats will not stand with you.

    Hillary 08 or McCain if necessary

    June 11, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  14. Please Hill supporters

    Bravo mcCain for sowing to the american people WHAT YOU HAVE DEEP INSIDE YOUR MIND!!! 100 more years!!!
    HEY HILL SUPPORTERS WHO WANT TO VOTE FOR MCCAIN!!! you are about to participate in a genocide!!! ( If you have a heart you would know what to do now!!!) YOU WILL BE RESPONSIBLE IF SOMETHING HAPPENS TO MY KID OVER THERE!!!

    June 11, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  15. David, Silver Spring, MD

    John McCain is a victim of his own "straight talk" persona. He just can't help throwing out dumb comments just because they sound like tough talk.

    John, you should just come out and say it, "We're all going to die, my friends, and the world will end when the sun turns into a supernova. Nothing you or I do will have any meaning when the end comes." See how that bit of straight talk works for you.

    June 11, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  16. vic nashville,Tn

    Obama wants to disarm America
    Hillary 08 or Mc Cain 08

    June 11, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  17. The Bush Twins : George and John

    "No, but thats not too important." That's easy for him to say. Him and his twin Bush just seem to think it's ok to have and keep our men and women in harms way since they haven't a clue as to how to bring this to an end. The Iraqis will never step up as long as the good old USA is willing to take the bullets.
    I'll bet McBushes son is in a comfort zone as he does his tour.

    June 11, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  18. Obama v McCain

    Democrat for McCain...(wow thats an oxymoron)..you should be ashamed of yourself as well as all others who are planning to vote for this warmonger who has nothing but war thought 24/7...ask him about economic issues and inside his head he's screaming IRAQ IRAQ BOMB IRAN..oh and..when he crawls out of bed each day IRAQ WAR FIGHT FIGHT

    June 11, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  19. LJ

    Obama is out of touch. He screams change but that alone won't bring change. I hope I'm not considered a racist because I dared to ask what is his plan for change.

    June 11, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  20. Brilliant satire

    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 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  21. Sean

    I know that the McCain camp claims his comments were taken out of context, but I've also seen them IN context, and frankly, I still find them troubling.

    Even if you believe we should keep troops in Iraq right now, I think it's hard to claim that when we can get our troops home is "not important". I'm sure the troops themselves, as well as their families consider the return of their loved ones to be VERY important.

    June 11, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  22. vjh

    Read post from 'Welcome Hillary Supporters' and this is exactly why NOT to vote for McCain. Very scary !

    June 11, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  23. Kevin

    Obama 2008&2012
    McSame is a joke! You Hillary supporters who are voting for McCain why don't you admit the reasons for not wanting to vote for Obama? I will tell you since Obama and Hillary are very close on many issues, just admit you guys have a problem with a black guy winning what you guys think is Hillary birthright. You guys should be ashamed of yourselves.

    June 11, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  24. Enlightened Voter -

    Same old republican agenda, don't care about the average person, in this case the soldiers. Well honestly we already knew that didn't we? He's vetoed every GI bill that's come his way.

    June 11, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  25. russell

    that's right.....it's a new day and a different century , we need to do away with this old old way of thinking , and put some young new fresh ideas in Washington,because if Mcain and his supporters haven't notice that there policies are not working.......................DUH.

    June 11, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
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