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. Amerika the beautiful

    Obama is a master manipulator.

    He works the people by manipulating opinion, perception, the media and spinning propaganda.

    His followers will believe anything he says- even a complete turn-about like on FISA, NAFTA, campaign finance reform.

    Obama is a dictator selected by celebrities, bolstered by the media and installed by the DNC and the superdelegates under threats from the newbies and African Americans.

    July 17, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  2. P.U.M.A - true democrat for fair camPAINs

    Obama is a manipulator of the media, perception and opinion.

    He can lie his way out f any situation by claiming he is 'clarifying' or 'refining' his position.

    Obama is reckless and dangerous demagogue- far worse than a run of the mill flip flopper.

    July 17, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  3. Monica for Obama in Indiana

    mccain and his campaign staffers need to stop this. All it is doing is calling attention to themselves. They need to get up off of Iraq and see what the President is doing with Iran and make sure that they have no impeachable charges against them.

    July 17, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  4. General Napoleon McCain

    I see what General of the world McCain wants to do. He wants to run the world. Beware America, the General of the world has won ten wars all by himself, his own words because he "knows how to win wars".

    July 17, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  5. Norma

    Like McOld hasn't flip flopped. Give me a break McIdiot!!

    July 17, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  6. Steven

    I Know How To Win WARS McCain!

    Tell Us McCain, What Wars You Are Refering To.
    Please Tell Us.
    You Warmonger.
    When I'm President, "ll Be The 20 Billion a Month Man.

    July 17, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  7. cindy

    The McCain ads never make any sense. All he does is constantly criticise Obama. I have yet to hear a good inspiring speech from this old man.

    July 17, 2008 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  8. Steven

    The Only Pretending Going On is McCain. He's Nothing But A Little Old Bully, Trying To Scare The World.

    July 17, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  9. Uh, when can we vote?

    Hey McCain, stop spoiling the magic trick...you're supposed to keep your eyes focused on the magician's decoy hand.

    July 17, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  10. professional campaigner

    People say that McCain wants to stay in Iraq 100 years (NOT what he actually said, but whatever)... so the man IS consistent... no flip flopping there.

    Obama? Well, just check what polls well to know what his position will be that day. And if need be, he will refine it in the future.

    Obama has never taken a firm opinion, nor voted for anything controversial. His hope was to play safe and appease everyone. His opinion refines depending on the group he is courting.

    July 17, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  11. Texas Trail Dog

    OBAMA DOESN'T HAVE A POSITION ON IRAQ. HE RAN AGAINST HILLARY WITH THE SAYING, "I WAS NEVER FOR THE WAR IN IRAQ." THIS WAS TOTALLY FABRICATED. HE HAD NO SAY IN THE WAR IN IRAQ. NOT A NAY OR A YEA. WHY SHE DIDN'T CALL HIS LYING REAR ON THIS IS UNKNOWN TO ME. OBAMA IS A GREAT DECEIVER WITH A FORKED TONGUE. THERE IS NO LEGISLATION THAT HE CAN PUT HIS FINGER DIRECTLY ON AND SAY I DID THAT. THERE WILL BE NO LEGISLATION THAT HE WILL DO IF HE GAINS THE WHITE HOUSE OTHER THAN TO FINISH DESTROYING WHAT BUSH HAS LEFT STANDING. WITHDRAWING FROM IRAQ IS NOT AN OPTION.

    July 17, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  12. Alphafemale

    How is it you always manage to put the McCain camp's position and quotes above the fold and any rebuttal from the Obama below the fold? Couldn't you try to summarize both positions on the first page and add details below the fold?

    July 17, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  13. Lisa

    The Rev Wright said Obama will do and say whatever it takes to win this election. For the first time in my adult life he is right on this one.

    He even threw The Rev Wright under the bus, and that was like his uncle. I would never throw a family member under the bus for some votes.

    July 17, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  14. Obama spins again

    If McCain is McSame and Bush's 3rd term- then he can NOT, be a flip-flopper.

    One or the other. To flip flop would make him McChange- not McSame.

    July 17, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  15. lies is what we detest in Obama

    If McCain were a flip flopper then he would not deserve the McBush, McSame labels... then ho Iraq for 100 years... so I hope he is a flip flopper- then I can vote for him with a clear conscience.

    Obama- is the reverse. Who now knows what he stands for?
    He changes with the day, the crowd, the opinions, the polls. A true panderer.

    July 17, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  16. Liar Obama

    Obama is the best liar- the least doer, but the best liar.

    July 17, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  17. Jeff

    Way to go Barack.

    July 17, 2008 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  18. Lana

    McBush is back to telling bad jokes about women now.

    July 17, 2008 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  19. ADAM

    WHAT A SHAME, MCSHAME IS COLLING OBAMA A FLIP FLOPER ,MCSHAME IS THE ONE WHO IS TALKING ON BOTH MOUTH. AND ANOTHER THING MCSHAME IS NOW TAKING A PAGE FROM OBAMAS IRAQ&AFGANISTAN. NOW WHO KNOWS MORE ABOUT FORING POLICES. EVEN THE WHITE HOUSE IS USING OBAMA'S SUGGEATION ON TALKING TO THE IRANIAN.

    July 17, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  20. LT for Obama

    I am still trying to figure out what we "won" in Iraq. McCain nor Bush have not specified what exactly we are winning. Is it the oil? Is it showing the world that we can invade a country that we had no problems with just because we can? What exactly have we won?

    July 17, 2008 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  21. Frank

    Bottom line...Democrats cannot be trusted. Just listen to Nancy Pelosi try to talk her way out of drilling our own oil. She is a snake who is hiding something very sinister behind her. There is no excuse in the world for not allowing drilling our own natural resourses. Every argument she speaks is pure bunk. Shame on you Democrats.

    July 17, 2008 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  22. Dan, TX

    The one good thing about McCain is his flip-flop in agreeing that Global warming is real and is being caused by burning fossil fuels and admitting that Al Gore was right all along and the conservatives, especially the blowhards like Limbaugh and Hannity, were liars and fools. Way to go John, tell those conservatives to shut up and get in line. Democrats rule on the environment.

    July 17, 2008 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  23. Hillary!!! Way to go!!!

    Cnn, every other news station is reporting on McCain's rape joke!!!

    Why dont you???

    I know why-because you and McCain are both sexist misygonists and would rather protect poor johnny mccain than reveal the truth

    SHAME ON YOU

    July 17, 2008 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  24. Soupy

    He said that the surge wouldn't SOLVE the violence, and it won't. Sorry, but it won't. All the surge has done is killed some of the current crop of insurgents and made the rest go into hiding.

    July 17, 2008 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  25. Bill Stapp

    When we get to the debates, we can determine what each candidate wants to accomplish.

    Candidates who change their opinions are not always to be criticized for such actions.

    July 17, 2008 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
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