July 17th, 2008
07:12 AM ET
14 years ago

McCain admonishes Obama on Iraq, but praises Hagel

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/11/art.mccain.7.11..jpg caption="McCain said Hagel has made an 'informed decision' about Iraq."]OMAHA, Nebraska (CNN) - John McCain said he's pleased Chuck Hagel is accompanying Barack Obama to the Middle East because the Nebraska senator - although "wrong" on Iraq - has military experience and has made "an informed decision" about the war.

McCain was peppered with questions about Hagel while campaigning in Nebraska Wednesday evening.

Speaking to reporters after meeting workers a trucking company, McCain again called it "remarkable" that Obama would give a major policy speech on Iraq and Afghanistan without first traveling to those countries or consulting with Gen. David Petraeus.

The presumptive nominee said he is "pleased" that Obama will be accompanied by Hagel, "who has military experience, who has knowledge of these issues."

"Senator Hagel is wrong," McCain said. But, he added: "Senator Hagel has visited Iraq. Senator Hagel has made an informed decision. Senator Hagel, although I disagree with some of his conclusions, the fact is that Senator Obama has never examined the issue carefully, at least from the standpoint of sitting down and discussing the situation with the commanding officer on the ground."

McCain also responded to speculation that Hagel could be tapped as Obama's running mate.

"Look," he said, "I don't know anything about that, except to say Chuck Hagel is a distinguished veteran and a very dear and close friend of mine, who I cherish his friendship for many, many years."

soundoff (184 Responses)
  1. Tim

    Actually, McCain is factually incorrect regarding Obama.

    Obama's position regarding a strategy in Iraq AND Afghanistan hasn't changed since he started running for President. He's spoken with General Petraeus frequently and recently regarding the situation in Iraq.

    What's missing here is that Obama's strategy of engagement with Iran is quietly being adopted by the Bush administration. Obama's strategy dealing with Afghanistan has been adopted by McCain, a total reversal of position. Where's the MSM coverage of THAT?!

    July 17, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  2. LT in Cali

    I watched McCain in a post interview last night on his bus. What I noticed about him outside of changing what he said earlier in the day is that when he is caught in one of his "misspeaks" is that he cannot look his interviewer in the eye. He was looking all over the place except in the face of the interviewer and seemed to be annoyed with the person.

    This man either blatantly lies daily or his memory really is fading. Either way, he is not the candidate we can believe in.

    July 17, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  3. Natasha

    Let me tell you something McCain.

    I have watched your every move. Even other country feel that Obama will make a better President than you. You have been blasting him on the foreign policy and using his ideas at the same time. Now you want to talk with Iran.......Please, truth be told they don't like you.

    Iran and other country are setting up for the President of 2009. They feel he will win. SO, IT'S THE ECONOMY STUPID!!!!

    July 17, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  4. Serge Lutz, FL

    McCain on TV, "I know how to win wars!" What he really meant was he knows how to start wars. Tell us senator McCain, which wars have you won? Last I checked, I knew how to win wars to. Last night during family night I won my battleship game. hooray for me. I believe this makes me qualified to run for President of the United States too don't you think? There's a reason why you wasn't your parties nominee for President in 2000/2004, you sir are a moron.

    Oh yeah last war you were in as a navy pilot, you got shot down and captured. Not a very good pilot we're you buddy. I won't be surprised if you leaked all our secrets to "Charlie" during your captivity and that's why they let you go. As far as I am concerned, your experience or lack thereof means nothing because neither you or senator Obama have ever been the Commander in Chief of this great nation, and for our sakes I hope you never will.

    July 17, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  5. G

    It seems to me that the only topic McCain is comfortable talking about is Iraq which shouldn't be the sole thread of conversation. The country is going through hard economic times, globally America is not respected, and we have one of the worst primary education system. McCain needs to stop fearmongering and condescending. Iraq is important because we need to figure out a way to make it a sustainable country SOON not in the next 100 years. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE stop using political tactics. think of the people you serve in THIS country and then move on to the rest of the world.

    July 17, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  6. Perezl

    No MCcain ever he is just too old!

    July 17, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  7. Bob Stephens

    Hey Weather Vane McCain, at least Obama doesn't have to have Joe Leiberman standing next to him, and tapping him on the shoulder trying to explain who is fighting who in Iraq ....

    July 17, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  8. Chuck

    Everyone has a different perspective on what winning in Iraq involves. Leaving Iraq at the request of the Iraqi government is not a loss, but a win. They have developed the leadership and strength to self govern which is a win. They have the ability to rebuild with out our help using their own money and resources, that is a win. They have the ability to police their own country with a growing military and national police force that is becoming more and more effective in combating terrorism within their own borders, that is also a win. If we are looking for the Al Queida and the insurgents in Iraq to raise a white flag and surrender that will never happen. The whole middle east region is plagued with radical terrorists, and insurgents they are in Egypt, Syria, Isreal, Saudi Arabia,...ect. That is not a win you will get.
    It is time to get back to the original war which can be won and that is to reduce the Taliban to a fragment and insignificant force thus giving the people of Afiganistan a chance to develope a structured government that can self rule with out the radical aspects of the Taliban.

    July 17, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  9. Connie

    I find John McBush funny and that is no joke. Senator Obama is not qualified to judge the war because he has not cost the tax payers thousands of dollars by traveling to the Middle East and is not a veteran. Now Chuck Hagel has the same qualification as John McBush, but he is not right about the war either. Sounds just like the Bush administration no one is qualified or right unless McBush says they are. I do not know where Hagel is going to be in an Obama administration but I am sure he will play an important part along with Senator Clinton. You go Obama !

    Connie from Indiana

    July 17, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
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