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

McCain, Obama camps trade flip-flopping charges

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[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. GORE WHAAA?

    Speaking of the fun cheap plastic slip on sandals, is it me or is AL GORE just going crazy w/himself again with the flip flop zanny life he has. Now America has never been in so much danger, he's here to outline it all for us, knows the solutions, and.... can't bother to run for an office he already won once but couldn't seal the deal on. Oh I know, how bout winning a NOBEL PRIZE for a movie about climate change when your second in charge of the country for eight years running and your administration just never gets around to signing the Kyoto treaty that even former Soviet Republics can live up to. Not to mention the brand NEW solar heating panels and bulbs in the Mansion in Tennessee, you know after the life changing mission..... Oh Help Us Mighty Democrat Establishment.

    July 17, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  2. Terry

    This is just a lame attempt from the mccain camp to divert the american people from the real issues at hand. Like the failing economy, gas prices and the increasing unemployment rate that we have endured during the Bush administration. By the way, McCain and his surrogates have gaffes and policy changes on a daily basis.

    July 17, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  3. Fillibuddy

    Yes, heaven forbid that politicians should behave as the time demands! Goodness!

    July 17, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  4. Obama 08: white, 60 year old woman

    Both abc and the huffington post blogs are reporting that McCain has NOT attended ANY of the six hearings on Afghanistan in the past two years!! DeMint who wrote the letter chastizing Obama has NOT attended either.

    What a hypocritical, nasty man this candidate is revealing himself to be. Can't wait for after the conventions and the debates start!!

    July 17, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  5. Ula Nejad- Sacramento Ca

    Federal Times interview by both candidates in 2007 is evidence of how Obama went from Military to diplomacy. McCain has stayed on message with conviction. Obama is speaking like the commander- in- chief who is on the job training. Give me a break! Congress is too big a job for Pelosi to handle either. So democrats should skip this cycle altogether. Wrap it up!

    July 17, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  6. Judy

    I have an opinion on something and have talked about my opinion to others; I then receive additional information that directly relates to my previously stated position, if I don't then change my opinion I am a person who is ready to ignore anything that does not support my opinion, no matter what. I believe that my friends would tell me that I was stupid; this new information is there and it is something that I either did not know before or did not realize related to my opinion.
    This is the way I see things when one politician accuses another of "flip-flopping", if Bush had "flip-flopped" on going to war with Iraq; that is, if he had listened to the information available than we would not be in Iraq, losing our young men and women in uniform in order to fight a war that we can't afford.
    In real life if you have an opinion on something and then find new information and change your mind you are considered a person who is wiling to listen and possible to change your mind in light of this new information, in politics if you get new or additional information and then change your mind you are called a person who "flip-flops".
    Boy, do I wish that Bush had "flip-flopped" on the war in Iraq!!!

    And just for the record; if Clinton is not the VP than for the first time in my 32 years of voting I will not vote in a presidential election.

    July 17, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  7. Xavier

    McCain? He still in the running? Didnt he move to Chekoslovakia or something? Seriously however, McCain grows dimmer and dimmer by the day. He is now aking credit for the surge, but his name is nowhere to be found on the war plans. I rank ihis claim right up there with Gore creating the internet. Alas, the maverick is dead. Long live Obama!

    July 17, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  8. eric, minnesota

    I cant believe the nerve of the McCain camp. John McCain has repeatedly stated that even knowing what we know today about Iraq, he would still have invaded. Now what type of leadership does that show? Not much!!! Sounds alot like McBush to me!

    July 17, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  9. Mike in Boston

    Obama is a fraud. He was dragged across the finish line by the DNC and he's being forced down our throats by an adoring media.

    John McCain is the only choice and the right choice.

    July 17, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  10. Canadian black man for Obama.

    Mccain have flip flopped on so many issues than we can imagine.

    Health care, house foreclosure asking people to go get a second job, now he share the pain of the people, flip flop on Bush tac cut, fli flop on evrything . If you not sure which issues Mccain haven't flip flop on visit youtube/mccain flip flops.

    I just sick to my tommy when i hear Mccflip floper accusing Obama.

    Mccflip flopper stop the negative attacks it doesn't look good on you.

    July 17, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  11. HOTTIE FOR OBAMA

    SEMANTICS.

    IS THAT ALL MR. MCCAIN HAS?????

    COME ON, NOW!!!

    OBAMA 2008/2012

    July 17, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  12. wall-e san diego, ca.

    Let me make this perfectly clear..osama is not a flip-flopper, he just experiences different changes of enlightenment.

    July 17, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  13. vince

    Obama is a clown. That's not the surge I knew. I don't know what is more pathetic, Obama or the blind sheeple who follow this faux messiah.

    July 17, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  14. California Gold

    McCain's snipes are pale when you compare candidates. Obama is a youthful, energetic, enthusiastic, well educated, and engaging candidate. He sparks the voters with the promise of tomorrow. He is realistic. He knows turning this country's economy around, implementing a sensible and balanced energy policy, transferring Iraq from a multi-national military occupation to the Iraqis, etc. is like turning a large jumbo jet (a wide, gradual sweeping turn) and not a little helicopter. It takes vision, hard work, consensus with both major political parties, diplomacy that involves dialogue (and not the cold shoulder) and time. American voters understand this bigger picture. McCain's little annoying commercials that have nothing to do with the issues. McCain comes across as an old man, out of touch with voters, ignorant of new technology, stuck in the past (Czech Republic talks), and unable to keep up.

    July 17, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  15. HOTTIE FOR OBAMA

    AND MCCAIN'S SOURCE IS?????
    I CAN'T FIND ANY FOOTAGE. DOES ANYONE KNOW?

    July 17, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  16. Jerry

    When Obama said we should talk with Iran, he did'nt know what he was talking about. Now Bush think's it's not a bad idea. And could someone tell John McCain to tell Bush How to win a war, because he know's how.

    July 17, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  17. USA FOR OBAMA

    Campbell Brown is so BIAS AND SO FULL OF BULL. They need to change what is on her show. No Bias – No Bull – She is so bias and so full of crap!!!!! Please send her back to ABC or where ever CNN got her. She is so bias, every other word is so full of hate for Barack Obama.

    Both candidates have a right to change their views and opinions. What is the big deal!!!!

    Please!!!

    July 17, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  18. Helmut Scheiss

    I cannot stop laughing at the Dem party proffering what must be their weakest candidate since Dukakis! Someone can write a sitcom about the new black Jimmy Carter.

    July 17, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  19. jimmy velman

    ALSO, THE DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS HAS A LOWER RATING
    AMONG THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THAN PRESIDENT BUSH.
    AMERICANS HAD A LOT OF HOPE IN ELECTING DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSMEN , BUT SADLY , WE ARE ALL DISAPPOINTED
    WITH ITS LESS THAN LACKLUSTER PERFORMANCE AND UNDER THE FAILED LEADERSHIP OF NANCY PELOSI WHO HAS DONE MORE POLITICKING AND SPEAKING THAN DOING SOMETHING IN CONGRESS..\
    OBAMA HAS HIS PROBLEMS WITH THIS KIND OF LEADERCHIP IN CONGRESS. AND WHEN YOU HAVE JIMMY CARTER TALKING TO TERRORISTS...THEN YOU REALLY HAVE A PROBLEM.
    OBAMA OUGHT TO GO TO.ISRAEL FIRST. HE IS A CHRISTIAN
    AND IF HE READS THE BIBLE, ISRAEL IS THE FIRST PLACE TO GO.

    July 17, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  20. wall-e san diego, ca.

    Change we can try-socialism-vote obama

    July 17, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  21. Doris,Memphis,TN

    McCain only campaign strategy is to attack Obama.
    That is the only way he gets media coverage.

    July 17, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  22. bill for barack

    I forget. Who was the Republican candidate who spent month upon month flapping his lips about what a high-road, noble campaign he was gonna run ?
    No negative campaigning. No siree.
    What a liar.
    McSame is just more of the same old Bush.
    Tired. Out of touch. Slimy.

    July 17, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  23. Doris,Memphis,TN

    McCain's only campaign strategy is to attack Obama.
    That is the only way he gets media coverage.

    July 17, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  24. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Just take John McCain to Czekoslovakia and when he returns he'll claim it's no longer there because he wiped it off the map. Looks like Bush is distancing himself from McCain and agreeing with Obama's Iran strategy. Looks like McCain may not get his Christmas wish to bomb Iran.

    July 17, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  25. Venus

    Flip or flop? Who got us in this mess is the question? Who voted for the war?

    They act like they did some thing by adding more troops in a war we shouldn't be in and have no goals to get out!

    Go Obama!

    July 17, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
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