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. Dutchboy52

    The difference between Hagel and McCain is Hagel is being true to himself and McCain is not and it shows. McCain sold his soul to the company store.

    July 17, 2008 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  2. Eric in Ca

    By your own logic McCain regarding Obama's decision and not visiting Iraq...neither you nor Bush traveled to Iraq before you invaded a sovereign nation that had nothing to do with 9/11.

    Also McCain don't use Iraq as a distraction, what about your platform & policies: Women's Rights, health care, foreclosures, economy, environment, taxes, & your continuation of the Bush policies!? Yes you are a 3rd Bush term.

    Obama 08

    July 17, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  3. Doris,Memphis,TN

    Lisa, you are right, Barack and Michelle will be in Chicago in 2008.
    However, they will be in Washington D.C. in January 2009.
    Come and join us sweetie.

    July 17, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  4. conservative dem

    i cant believe ppl fall for this hypocritical crap that mccain spews...hagel is fine cuz he is gop but obama is an idiot cuz he has the same ideas as hagel but is dem...also, obama is elitist cuz he wants to tax just the richest while mr down to earth bush is a man of the ppl who cuts taxes for only the top 2% ppl in the country...makes perfect sense...

    Obama 08!

    July 17, 2008 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  5. George from Westerville

    I'd like to admonish you Senator McCain. You are the guy who dumped your disabled wife and married a rich women 20 years your junior a month after the divorce, called your current wife the "C" word (captured on tape) during a public gathering, want us to be in Iraq for 100 years, sang a "bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran" song, once told a reporter "thanks for that question you jerk!", admitted you know nothing about the economy, don't know a Sunni from a Shiite, have to have Joe Lieberman whisper in your ear to correct your many gaffes. Oh yeah ... and want multimillionaires to keep their Bushy tax breaks while the average joe is suffering. Gee ... admonishing is fun.

    July 17, 2008 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  6. Chuck

    McCain needs to take a look in the mirror. Although it appears it is the sugre that worked (not the increased Iraqi forces after training), I will give McCain that much, but the war was wrong from the first place. The reason for going there, the lies, the deception, half truths, all of it, lead to the death of 4000+ American, countlesss civilians (women, children and non combatant males), colition force deaths. What about the cost for this war, including the cost to treat those injured as well as the long term costs for those that werer maimed during the war. So I will take all that away from McCain. Now lets weigh it all out. Obama said the war was wrong, that the war in Iraq took soldiers away from the real mission and war in Afganistan (BinLaden). So who is higher on the scale... you choose. For me it is Obama he has been more right on this issue and McCain has been more wrong and his misjudgements as well as others in the house and senate cost America too much in $ and lives lost

    July 17, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  7. Ben

    I've said it before and I'll say it again – I don't have to go to the North Pole to know that it's cold. I'm waiting for McCain to grab Obama's fist and start hitting him with it saying, ' why are you punching yourself?' His arguments make no sense. Shouldn't McCain stop talking about Iran until he goes there? And maybe Kennedy should have gone to the moon before talking about going to the moon. (read with sarcasm)

    July 17, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  8. Mark

    McCain is mad that Obama would give a Major policy speech on Iraq have not been there...

    hummm funny, Mccain gives speechs on the economy, and has policy set up for them, yet admits he has no idea regarding anything to do with the economy...

    So Pot... Kettle... black?..

    July 17, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  9. what?

    we should never have been in Iraq...Bush sat down with the commanding officers and "examined" the situation and Billions of dollars and thousands of lives lost where are we? more vulnerable to a terrorist attack then 9/12 , economically defunkt, our rights have been invaded and gas is $4.77.... Bin Landin could not have done a better job than Bush and Mccain if he tried.

    July 17, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  10. Timothy

    Obama is going to show the Amearican people that Mccain is not strong on Irag and Afghanistan or his so call military experience Mccain have with is out dated.

    July 17, 2008 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  11. Doris,Memphis,TN

    Lisa, you are right, Barack and Michelle will be in Chicago in 2008.
    However, they will be in Washington D.C. on January 1, 2009.
    Hope to see you there!

    July 17, 2008 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  12. Daniel

    As we have learned that McCain is still in the Czechoslovakia era, he may not have noticed yet that three of the dominant policies in the national security debate have tilted towards Obama. First the Iraq govt would like a timetable or some sort of a timeline for the withdrawal of the US troops from Iraq. Secondly today the US formally announce plans for direct talks with Iran. And thirdly the increase in troops for Afghanstan something which Obama has also been calling for.

    Well for someone who claims to be a national security guru how can McCain be on the wrong side of these developments. I think what is becoming clear is that McCain is not a strategic thinker, he may know the obvious that tactical a surge will contain violence sadly it's as far as his thinking goes.

    July 17, 2008 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  13. TerryDo

    Obama is wrong on Iraq? What a surprise, has Obama been right on anything?

    Answer: NO....................... Obviously not, he keeps changing his mind, because he know he is wrong on everything he supported.

    Another wrongful happening in the Obama (Chicago style) campaign is the Obama thugs who are now sending Death Threats to leaders in the NoObama campaign such as PumaPac.

    Could it be the Black Panthers are trying to devour the Pumas.

    It will never work, the righteous will always prevail.

    And death threats will be followed up and charges made.. There are consequences to these anonymous threats, you can be traced and prosecuted!!!!!!!

    July 17, 2008 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  14. Timothy

    Mccain Military Experience is out dated Obama is future and moving forward with new and fresh ideas and this is what the country need a new and current policy to bring the troops home.

    July 17, 2008 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  15. Wisconsin


    Didn't McWar love Obama when he was speaking to the NAACP earlier in the same day?

    I thought McWar would give it 24 hours before bashing Obama after sucking up to the NAACP about Obama.

    So since Obama was right about Iraq and about talks with Iran, what could McWar have to say?

    July 17, 2008 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  16. AQ

    We're supposed to really care about McCain's opinion about this when he has no opinion about the fact that Viagra is covered but some birth control isn't and hasn't figured out yet that there is no more Czechoslovakia? This from a man who agrees that we are only imagining the economy is so bad? Right. I'm selling a bridge in Brooklyn too.

    And is anyone else sick and tired of him using his time in Vietnam years as a reason why he knows it all? I imagine that quite a few vets who actually made it home would have a bit to say about the fact he has had all the money in the world to cover any medical conditions he had while they have had to fight every step of the way to get coverage.

    No, McCain has made it quite clear – he is just as out of touch as Bush has alwasy been.

    July 17, 2008 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  17. John

    OBama would start more wars then End!! Obama a fake!!

    July 17, 2008 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  18. Steve

    If Sen. McCain can't get the Sunnis and Shiites straight, what part of his decision was informed? Like so many he based his rationale on lies his president told him. How was that informed. Sen. Obama maintained we should not have been hasty to rush into a trillion dollar war that would take the lives of over 4,000 soldiers, and Sen. McCain wants to call that an uninformed decision. Please tell me America will be smarter than that kind of b.s. this time around.

    July 17, 2008 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  19. McWar!!!!

    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.
    MCWAR It does not matter how you try to sugar coat the unjust war ....... experience can not replace the lost ......I'm sure you were pleased Mr lieberman was there with you to help you out with your memory
    Have you forgotten about Afghanistan....the best way to respond to wrong is to do what is right.....Mr Obama opposed the WAR and you were one of the biggest SUPPORTERS....EXPERIENCE has cost .us dearly .Economy, Two wars, US Dollar is down world wide and because of the Republican's corruption. We need a change real change that we can believe in, which is the Obama Ticket.

    July 17, 2008 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  20. Tired

    Hey Obama Supporters.

    This does not relate to the article but all the appropriate blogs are closed.

    I am so tired of the blackmail tactics from the Clinton Supporters saying, "if Obama does not pick Clinton as VP we are voting for McCain". Why don't the Obama Supporters let them know that if they try to sabotage Obama at the DNC and /or on Nov. 4 that we will come in droves to not vote for her in 2012. We need to let them know loud in clear that these 18 millions voters for Obama can play the same game. So lets post our messages all throughout the blogs so maybe they will stop saying it. It may not stop them from doing what they are going to do but maybe we can silence them. I am so tired of reading the same things everyday single day.

    July 17, 2008 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  21. Allan

    Hagel is one of the very few Republicans – only Republican? – I would remotely consider voting for. If that turns out to be Sen. Obama's choice for VP, I think it would be absolutely terrific, for him and for the country.

    July 17, 2008 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  22. fojohnson

    I cannot understand why MCcain like to degrade Obama he talks about him like a child. Obama is a family man. If Mccain is taking advantage of Obama because he thinks he is being in senate longer or in the army I think that does not qualify him to look down on Obama. He behaves has if Obama is child. I'm sure he cannot speak to his children like that. Does he think that as bad as the economy is his experience will put him in the white house? Let him think to Hillary.

    July 17, 2008 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  23. Tired

    If Clinton supporters sabotage Obama at the DNC and/or on NOV. 4th, I am not voting for Hillary in 2012 and that's a fact.

    July 17, 2008 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  24. Anna

    Trollmaster, if Obama is so confident about his original position on Iraq, he should change his Website back the way it wuz...

    And although I disagree with McCain, he has been consistent about his position on Iraq, and unwavering.
    MoveOn.org will back that up.

    July 17, 2008 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  25. Vig

    Gee, we haven't heard Obama repeat a million times that he voted against the war since he supposedly came out ahead of Hillary. How come?

    July 17, 2008 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
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