July 17th, 2008
06:11 PM ET
13 years ago

McCain, Obama camps trade flip-flopping charges


[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/17/art.mccain.obama.iraq.docum.jpg
caption="McCain and Obama have been trading flip-flopping charges."]
(CNN) - The McCain and Obama campaigns traded flip-flopping charges Thursday, as the McCain team continued its assault on Barack Obama’s Iraq policy ahead of his upcoming trip to that nation Thursday with a hard-hitting Web video that painted Obama as an opportunist on the issue - and a tough Democratic response accused the Arizona senator of dramatically shifting his own positions on the war.

“The Obama Iraq Documentary: Whatever the Politics Demand” had a Capitol Hill debut, flanked by several GOP senators including McCain’s fellow Arizona senator, John Kyl, and South Dakota Sen. John Thune. The eight-minute video uses footage of Obama expressing seemingly contradictory positions, and “explores Senator Obama's record of shifting political positions” on Iraq, Campaign Manager Rick Davis said in a message to supporters.

The film opens with 2007 footage of Obama saying "I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse."

Obama is next shown earlier this year saying he had known the surge would be effective. "I said at the time, when I opposed the surge, that given how wonderfully our troops perform, if we place 30,000 more troops in there, then we would see an improvement in the security situation and we would see a reduction in the violence."

The screen then reads, "Translation: You're Never Wrong If You Pretend You Gave The Right Answer All Along."

The McCain team also released a memo that repeated a charge made by foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann earlier this week: that “Barack Obama has determined that he would rather lose a war that we are winning than lose an election by alienating his base.”

The Obama campaign hit back, releasing a memo laying out what it said was changing language from the presumptive Republican nominee on Iraq.

“All John McCain has ever looked for in Iraq are reasons to stay there indefinitely. He has stubbornly championed a strategy of fighting an unnecessary war in Iraq regardless of the shifting facts offered to justify it…” said spokesman Hari Sevugan.

And the Democratic National Committee used the occasion to highlight its own ongoing Web video series, "McCain on Iraq, Wrong from the Start."

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (101 Responses)
  1. Rick

    No truer words were ever spoken. Obama is like the weather here in New England. If you don't like what you're seeing, just wait 10 minutes and it will be different.

    CNN doesn't discuss the ambiguity and dishonesty of the Obama campaign so this probably won't be posted. Can't spell censorship without CNN huh?

    July 17, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  2. Alex

    its like McCain running around... I won!! I won!! haha Obama I won, like a little kid, these accusations are childish...

    July 17, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  3. Democrats Unify & Vote Big

    Every election, they always drag out the old FLIP FLOP game! If I hear the words flip flop anymore, I'm going to scream. Maybe one has flip-flopped, maybe both, maybe someone is imagining flip-flops, but by now I think 99.9% of America is either sick of or totally NUMB to stories of flip-flops.

    July 17, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  4. Loretta from California

    Well, I would like to hear what Senator Obama's full and complete statement was. Give me the full context, please. No offense, but I have become quite distrustful of Senator McCain's GOP camp, and their never ending LIES.


    July 17, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  5. Centered

    During the primaries Republicans pander to the right and democrats pander to the left.
    Once it’s general election time they both rush to the center.
    Who knows what they’ll do if they get elected?

    July 17, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  6. Jonathan Samuels

    I'm seriously tired of hearing Mccain talk about troops etc.

    This is a serious contradiction.

    *Big time war guy, vet*
    *Votes against the GI bill*


    July 17, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  7. Tx Dem

    Violence is only down because we're paying them a $300 salary to not shoot at us.

    A strategy that reduced violence doesn't mean the other party's strategy was "wrong" like they keep claiming.

    The USA is not any safer... our economy and troops are actually more fragile now that they're broken.

    Why are we in Iraq? Where are the WMD's? Lets go back to where the real terrorists are...

    July 17, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  8. Angus McDugan

    You are but what am I... Can we get to the issues?

    July 17, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  9. Michelle

    Obama is a liar.

    Maybe his name should be Snow-Bama because he tries to snow American voters.

    Oh, and he scrubs his Web site! Meanwhile, all his gaffes have already been saved elsewhere! Too bad, Snow-Bama!

    July 17, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  10. Voter

    Bravo – but does McCain ever talk about anything other than the war??? That's all Bush talks about too...


    July 17, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  11. adam

    I'm so tired of this flip-flop nonsence. Ignore the other guy and just talk about Your plans

    July 17, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  12. Honorable Kansas Vet

    What do I want in a President? I think I want someone that given the facts has the ability to change his opinion and stance. Just think a President with the capability of intelligent thought would that not be a novel change.

    July 17, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  13. dormar206

    Go home wit your lies

    July 17, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  14. Barbara Campbell

    McCain and the much-chagrined GOP sure are having a tough time spinning Obama's international travels. To add insult to injury, Iraq's Prime Minister Maliki is requesting a timeline for US troop withdrawal in keeping with Obama's position, AND the Bush administration is opening up talks with Iran without preconditions, (as advocated by Obama), AND Pakistan is turning out to be a bad guy after all (just as Obama suggested). Perhaps Senator Obama knows a little something about foreign policy after all.

    Just look at the mess the "experienced" Bush/Cheney/Rove/Rumsfeld/McCain team created. Decades ago we had a saying that's more appropriate today: THROW THE BUMS OUT ......

    July 17, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  15. curt

    Any Commander-in-cheif with common sense would refine thier strategy once the situation change's in a war, only in an election year would one consider critical thinking and flexibility as flip-flopping

    July 17, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  16. Hope

    We are not stupid

    It is not the surge which resulted in decreasing violence...
    It is putting the Sunni insurgents under our payrole...This is what every one agreed on

    The question is, what did we gain from Iraq war?
    -4100 young men/ women died
    – More than 30,000 injured many of them permanent
    – 500 billions in direct cost and more to come

    Who supported this war from the beginning? McCain/ Bush/ McSame

    July 17, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  17. Lisa

    If one more person tell me to go read Obama health care plan on his website. You go read his health care plan it doesn't cover everyone like I said. What is affordable? Affordable to me might not be affordable to you. Just like Obama said $30 was not a lot of money, if $30 is not a lot of money then what is?

    I can't stand Obama, his wife and his rich friends. All you guys need to go sit down somewhere. You're spending millions of dollars on his campaign and he's going to lose anyway.

    July 17, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  18. drz

    100 years, right McSame?

    July 17, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  19. Brian

    Bingo! Obama doesn't have the judgment to lead our nation. I can't believe people allow him to gloss over this stuff.

    July 17, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  20. HighPlainsDrifter

    WHO ARE YOU!!??

    July 17, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  21. Lisa

    That's why Obama is only two points ahead of Mccain in the polls!!!

    July 17, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  22. jimmy velman


    July 17, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  23. SamSunny

    Well, if there is one thing the McCain camp knows, it is flip-flopping. Never argue with an expert.

    July 17, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  24. Mike

    McBush acts and talks as though 'HE' engineered the surge. He in fact had nothing to do with it. The surge was definitly successfull. But the surge is now over. Our Military is far to overstretched to continue the surge and we are back to pre surge levels. The very capable architect of the surge, Gen. Petraeus. Has testified to Congress, that there is no military solution to the Iraq problem. Exactly what Obama has said. McBush wants to occupy Iraq forever. Obama wants to leave Iraq in a responsible manner and let the Iraqi's run their own country. The Iraqi's want the same thing.

    July 17, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  25. Turnabout is Fair Play

    And let the Rovian tactics of taking sound bites out of context and parsing them into ads that are advantageous to the Rethugnicans begin! IT WON'T WORK REPUGNICANS. Not this time. I can't wait to see the comeback for this video from Obama's camp. WOOHOO!!

    July 17, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
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