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. randy

    Once again another mispoke from john he need to see his doctor.

    June 11, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  2. Tx Dem

    Is this how many missteps for McCain in just the last week?

    Bad speech – can't read teleprompters
    Beer veto
    denied Hillary media comments
    War end is not important

    June 11, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  3. Greg Pottstown, Pa.

    TO All DEMS posting hear acting like republicans.

    Hillary supporters are not as dumb as you. They know that not all repubs are hard line repubs, as a mater of fact, most are not. You are trying to appeal to feminists but feminists are not dumb. I am a republican and i could not care less if doctors preform abortions. Most republicans want to have abortions. If my kid was pregnant at 16 I would want her to have a choice.

    The bottom line is you Obama supporters need to grow up and realize that only a few people actually support every position that the that the party takes. That is why Hillary supporters have more in common with McCain. He is more center than Obama. The only people that agree 100% of the time with a candidate are you Obama supporters.

    June 11, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  4. Kerri

    After 8 years of Bush, I'm shocked people are actually willing to vote for this guy. Bring on the recession, and some more wars, while we're at it!

    June 11, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  5. SAM, Jacksonville Florida

    I am a veteran and he will not get my vote. I am for Change!
    Obama 08 and 12

    I am tired of the many ways the tries to denied me help.

    June 11, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |

    Welcome Hillary Supporters .........................................................................
    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.............JOHN MCCAIN is an OLD CON MAN...
    all of sudden he is givig praise to HILLARY, an attempt to lure her supporters..............HRC is a TRUE DEMOCRATE,HE does not stand or SHARE her VALUES......NO TO MCSAME

    June 11, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  7. Ian

    ...and there are more donations from members of active service for Ron Paul than all other candidates combined.

    June 11, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  8. rw md

    John who, oh John Kerry, another looser, he gives the NAVY a
    bad name.

    June 11, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  9. Linda K.

    I wonder what is important for John McCain. Lobbyist donations, maybe?

    BTW, I'm a pro-lifer for Obama. There are many of us. Check out his website and read his solution.

    June 11, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  10. SIMP

    McCain is so out of touch it's crazy. All you mccain supporters need to take a look at this old geeser, he looks like something is not quite right. He is 71 years old, enough said. I don't have a problem with the elderly, only when they are running for president. He is not capable of running this country he is stuck in the Bush mentality and that's is very scary. Vote for him if you want, but the war and our economy will continue to fall and the war will go on forever, it's not hurting him his Botok injecting wife have millions. Somebody please tell Cindy Mccain to lay off the botox injections, she is a scary looking thing.

    Barack and Michelle Obama 08-2012

    June 11, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  11. ANGIE


    June 11, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  12. Marcus

    I believe that anybody voting republican is not thinking straight....what that last 8 years didn't mean nothing to you...... and if you are were voting for hilary then all ofa sudden you are now voting for mccain( ask yourself why) obama and hiliry share the same issues if you go rebulican you justed slapped hiliary in the face.......

    June 11, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  13. Gary Chandler in Canada

    Why doesn't a news reporter ask the other G8 Nations, (Britain, Canada, Japan, Germany, France, and Italy), what they think of Mccain's 'PLAN' to boot Russia and bar China!?
    You will hear what, "Is he out of his brainless mind!?" in 5 different languages.
    If America has to go to War against Iran, North Korea, and/or Cuba, the World will support Obama more than McCain, because he will have tried unconditional diplomacy!
    HEY, maybe after 8 years of Obama y'all can STOP wearing Canadian flags when travelling abroad, eh?
    McCain is will fly America like he flew planes, crash, crash, and crash...

    June 11, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  14. tigerakabj

    This isn't news. The man misspeaks 5 times a day and doesn't get the heat for it.

    We already know he doesn't give a hoo-hah about veterans and what they want. So why would this be any different?

    Next gaffe please CNN. And this time put something on the ticker that is much more juicy to rant over.

    Take him down Obama.

    June 11, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  15. tim


    or...he could make him keel over tomorow to teach you not to use the Lord's name in vain...it could happen.

    seperation of church and state flame war aside, well-being of the troops is the most important thing above all. however, to say that the withdrawl date is "not important" would be foolish. withdrawal from the hot zone would be the most logical and likely way to ensure safety
    from the dangers that exist in that area. and no, it is not "just another station" because we are not at war with germany, japan, italy, or the other countries we have stations at. and as for the troops going straight to their next base afterwards, that is unlikely unless they want to. aside from 2 weeks manditory R+R, they can opt to take additional leave and then GO HOME to their families. thus, the call to "bring our troops home" does hold sway.

    June 11, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  16. Uncle Sam

    To FactCheck: Your first statements are false:
    1) Sen. McCain did not refer to Sen. Clinton in that way, someone in the audience did.
    2) Sen. Mccain did not use that word about his wife. This has been refuted by Snopes.

    The rest of your claims are even less believable.

    June 11, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  17. Support The FUTURE, not the past!

    OBAMA 08!

    June 11, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  18. Observer

    Prisoner Of War-mentality.

    June 11, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  19. Chi4Obama

    How logical is it NOT to have a timeline, for a "war" that we shouldn't even be fighting to begin with. John McSane truly scares me.

    .And many HRC supporters are still threatening to
    support this...... (fill in the blank)??

    June 11, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  20. Arnold

    fewest casulties.... when the troops has fewer casulties thant everything is fine....during the month of April over 100 Iraqies have been killed or wounded...are you not counting the bodies of the Iraqies? This McCain is ridiculous, now he is saying that bringing the troops back to USA is not important....casulties are down...not TRUE, more Iraqies have been killed in April then in March or February.... those bodies are not being counted...this is not violence....

    take care..

    June 11, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  21. Why try 08

    Looking at the Ticker statistics

    2 Anti – Obama
    2 Anti -McCain
    1 Pro – Obama
    1 Pro – McCain

    June 11, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  22. fairandstraight

    "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."

    All people need to remember is, "Maybe a hundred." My question to this man is, are there road side bombs to worry about in Korea, Japan and Germany. Being in Iraq is not like being in those other countries.

    When people volunteer to join the military, they don't join to fight for oil and try to take over the world.

    This war is not winnable.

    Obama 08

    June 11, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  23. White Independent

    Wow now I'm seeing why they want you to retire by age 65. I used to really like this guy until he sold his soul to the religious nuts of the Republican party. I hope "welcome hillary supporters" was being sarcastic. Are their still people out there that are that ignorant??

    June 11, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  24. sd

    this mcsame is totaly losing his bearing. how can he say that's not important anyway if mcsame give me a millon buss i will take it and still vote for change, cos will need to go another new direction.

    June 11, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  25. Rosaleen M. Mackay

    I don't know why McCain gets confused at times, but I do know that we have had a president for the past seven years who has great difficulty talking. Even when his seech is clearly scripted, he flubs it. And when he goes off on his own tangent, then watch out. Has anyone forgotten the mess of "You can fool me once....uhh....fool me once...uh....you kn ow what I mean!" If McCain becomes president, he will not be in front of town hall meetings taking questions from the crowd, many of whom will be ardent supporters. How will he contend with speaking and the UN or his State of the Union addresses or when he speaks throughout the world to other politicians (those he believes agree with him but not those who could possibly be terrorists (those who don't agree with him).

    I believe that Brack Obama not only sounds good but his speeches are also substantive. Those of you who see him as "just a speecfh" should try really listening. In 2002 when he spoke out against going to war in Iraq, he very eloquently presented all his arguments. So if as Hillary Clinton believes she and McCain are ready and Obama is just a 2002 speech, she clearly hasn't listened to that speech; if she had, she would understand how many of us see him as that speech and are glad. By the way, I am over 60 and a white woman.

    June 11, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
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