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. Brain

    Time for Republicans to be sent home packing!!!

    July 17, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  2. Steven

    Stupid McCain, Your Not Listening or Reading.
    Read The Whole Text

    July 17, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  3. george

    Put the best trained, best equipped military in the world on the ground in any place you will have military success Mr. McCain. Does military success means the Iraqui policy is good? Reasonable people can and will make that distinction in November. 'You can fool some people sometime but you can't fool all the people all the time.' Welcome to Iranian talks and the impending military surge in Afghanistan by the Bush/McCain Administration. We look forward to a President Obama leadership since you are now adopting his policies you called naive.

    July 17, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  4. S. Boatman

    Mccain Is Much More Flop Than Flip!

    July 17, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  5. McNo

    The same tired GOP flip – flop accusations all the while they flip flop on everything so quickly that they cant even remember its done so fast.
    McNo against oil drilling now for it, against gay unions now for it, was for veterans and he's against them and on and on. Of course his supporters believe everything he says, but what do you expect from single celled organisms.

    July 17, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  6. S. Boatman

    Mccain Was Wrong From The Start! There Is No Changing That! This Shows He Lacks The Judgement To Be President!

    July 17, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  7. A Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    Pelosi is the real loser. What is her plan to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan? Nothing. What is her energy plan? Nothing What is her economy plan fix ? Nothing What is her highway robbery gasoline reduction in price plan? Nothing What a loser...

    Speaking of losers, I wonder what obama is doing today to ingratiate his rabid followers? He is a loser along with Mr. Harry Reid who has no plan for us real Americans.

    We cherish our values therefore we need McCain now.

    July 17, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    yes why ?you keep running this statement by mccain on what obama
    said or did't say ?there is a better question.what happen to the story
    on iracq's president calling for bench marks ? lets talk about that for
    a change.
    also lue dobbs acts as though he wants to start a reverlution against
    our government,by constantly talking against both parties.why should
    our country be the only ones to be responsible for the border ?how
    come no one has even raised the question about mexico securing
    their side ?.we don't need a fence between our two countries,but we need more action from the mexican government.

    July 17, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  9. Chris

    Does McCain ever talk about anything other than War????

    July 17, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  10. Allan

    What going on? When you read CNN comment 90% good for Obama.But when read gretawire.com 90% hate Obama .When look at poll http://www.news.aol.com every week apr.65% for McCain--35% for Obama..When poll at CNN obama in front of McCain.

    July 17, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  11. derrell from Texas

    I watched John McCain tonight in a piece on Election Tonight with Campbell Brown. In a effort to paint Senator Obama as being naive on Iraq

    July 17, 2008 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  12. Chris K

    CNN, will you PLEASE stop with the use of the term flip-flopping. You are playing a game handed to you by the Republican strategists.

    They have managed to turn the whole idea of a politician who thinks about something, and then refines his position if he learns something new, into a NEGATIVE. Think about it.

    Bush didn't flip flop on Iraq.
    Bush didn't flip flop on the Economy.
    Bush didn't flip flop on the war on terra (which is ironically how he pronounces it).

    Maybe America needs a president who isn't afraid to think about stuff after an initial decision? If you don't agree with that please go right ahead and keep playing into the Republican Flip-flop game.

    July 17, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  13. FLIP FLOP!!!!!

    McCain and Obama have been trading flip-flopping charges.
    FlIP FLOP give them both E for ELEMENTARY!!!

    July 17, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  14. RyanD.

    Search "MCCain" and "61 Flip-Flops".

    He has no room to point fingers at anyone, he doesn't know his own position from one day to the next.

    Obama 08'

    July 17, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  15. Ez

    McSame no wonder you always talk about Obama b/c we already know your plan afterall we had it for the last 7 years.

    July 17, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  16. derrell from Texas

    I watched John McCain on Election Tonight with Campbell Brown; he was trying to paint Senator as naive on Iraq. However, I think Senator McCain needs to follow his own advice. He said that the surge in Iraq was a success both on the military and economic fronts. How is the police action (I do not call the action in Iraq a War) an economic
    success? Did I fall asleep and miss something? The police action in Iraq has cost this country in both lives and money. The energy crisis in the US isn't helping either. I believe that we went into Iraq based on lies told by the Bush Administration. Then paid with the lives of our brave men and women in uniform. How has this helped the US economically? The pictures I see coming out of Iraq, doesn't show economic progress either, this from a man who touts his national security expertise. If you watch Senator McCain's speeches, he is out of touch and the American people will not forget this shameful waist of American life, based upon lies.

    July 17, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  17. RyanD.

    McCain is the flip-flop artist.

    * McCain strongly opposes a windfall-tax on oil company profits. Three weeks earlier, he was perfectly comfortable with the idea.

    * McCain supported the drilling moratorium; now he's against it.

    * McCain thought Bush's warrantless-wiretap program circumvented the law; now he believes the opposite.

    * McCain defended "privatizing" Social Security. Now he says he's against privatization (though he actually still supports it.)

    * McCain wanted to change the Republican Party platform to protect abortion rights in cases of rape and incest. Now he doesn't.

    * McCain thought the estate tax was perfectly fair. Now he believes the opposite.

    * He opposed indefinite detention of terrorist suspects. When the Supreme Court reached the same conclusion, he called it "one of the worst decisions in the history of this country."

    * McCain said he would "not impose a litmus test on any nominee." He used to promise the opposite.

    Etc.

    July 17, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  18. John Ret. Air Force

    He did say that and also has stated the reason for the surge was to allow the Iraq Government time to take hold. If they have why can't we leave, Mr Mc wrong on the war? They want us to leave-why can't we leave if it has worked? How many years until it has worked good enough. McCain has no end-game. Iraq my never be stable. Shall we occupy then forever?

    July 17, 2008 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  19. Phantom of the Oprah

    I am a lifelong democrat- and I have never seen a bigger flip flopper than Obama.

    The man's position is whatever polls well at the time.

    Obama has changed his position on everything just since the primary: campaign finance reform, NAFTA, FISA, foreign relations, the timetable for withdrawal from Iraq.

    McCain changes his position also- but in response to changing circumstances.

    For the first time in 35 years of voting in every election, I am not able to support the nominee of my party. He won not on his merits but by cheating, playing dirty politics, manipulation of public opinion, creating perception of strength, trashing his opponent and playing the race card.

    July 17, 2008 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  20. fooled the sheople but not the people

    If you do not like Obama's position- just wait 5 minutes, he will refine it to conform to whatever polls best.

    Lying hypocritical pandering dirty politician.

    July 17, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  21. Maggie Muggins

    The surge hasn't worked the only reason troop deaths are down is because the U.S. is paying it's enemies and arming them which is pretty risky. Remember the U.S. armed Saddam Hussien and Osama Bin Laden and look where that got them.

    Why won't the main stream media tell the truth on this kind of garbage and do something good for your country for a change. Hiding the truth from the people will only work for so long.

    July 17, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  22. Propaganda

    Obama wins....

    He changes- uh 'refines' his position daily.

    Whatever is neccessary to win.

    Who knows what he believes any more.

    July 17, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  23. Chuck

    McCain is starting to sound like a whinney baby.

    July 17, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  24. My middle name is Hussein

    Obama is a propaganda machine.

    He tells what sells.

    He cares only about self-promotion and making history.

    He will make history for destroying the democratic party.

    July 17, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  25. Vig

    All I have to say is: BRING BACK HILLARY CLINTON ********PUT HILLARY CLINTON'S NAME INTO NOMINATION IN AUGUST********PUT A COMPETENT LEADER IN THE WHITE HOUSE AND DUMP OBAMA

    July 17, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
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