July 17th, 2008
04:15 PM ET
14 years ago

McCain: 'We have succeeded in Iraq'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/11/art.mccain.7.11..jpg caption="McCain holds a polling edge over Obama on national security issues."] KANSAS CITY, Missouri (CNN) - John McCain took a rhetorical baby step toward declaring victory in Iraq on Thursday, arguing emphatically that "we have succeeded in Iraq."

"I repeat my statement that we have succeeded in Iraq," McCain told reporters aboard his campaign bus in Kansas City. "Not 'We are succeeding.' We have succeeded in Iraq."

McCain made the comments amidst a debate this week over the direction of the Iraq war, and in the wake of new national poll numbers that show McCain with a clear advantage over Obama on national security issues.

Both candidates gave speeches Tuesday outlining new policies toward Afghanistan, but each presented very different plans for Iraq. Obama is scheduled to travel to Iraq as part of a congressional delegation in the coming days.

"The strategy has worked and we now have the Iraqi government and military in charge in the major cities in Iraq," McCain said. "Al Qaeda is on their heels and on the run."

McCain said "the success we have achieved is fragile and could be reversed" if Obama - whom McCain accused of "incredible naivete" - carries through with his plan to withdraw combat troops within 16 months of taking office.

"He said the surge would not succeed," McCain said, a charge he has repeated in recent days. "It is. He said that we had to have dates for withdrawal. He said as recently as a short time ago that the surge had not succeeded, or was not succeeding. It has succeeded. And if we continue, I am confident we will win this war, and I have no doubt about it."

The GOP nominee-in-waiting also backed away from a remark made earlier in the day by his communications director Jill Hazelbaker, who called Obama's trip abroad "the first-of-its-kind campaign rally overseas."

Asked if he agreed with Hazelbaker's comment, McCain said: "No. All I can say is, let other people judge that."

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (203 Responses)
  1. Vietnam Vet

    (UHH what was that mission again?)

    OBOY will shrub be PO'd that he wasn't the first to announce it.
    did general petraus give mcCan't on the ree phone? But it's not 3am!
    Oh yeah that's past McSnooz's bedtime.

    That would be red phone

    July 17, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  2. Obama 08: white, 60 year old woman

    Please McCain Surrogates: remind your leader that there was no real Al Queda threat in Iraq before America invaded.

    All you "we" won in Iraq should be ashamed of yourselves unless you have encouraged your family and friends to enlist. This war is being fought by a miniscule number of brave men and women who are on their third and fourth tour. This war has demonstrated America's vulnerability as the military is so tied up in an illegal invasion, that we are unable to send more troops until SEPTEMBER and they will be the same ones who are fighting McCain's invasion of Iraq.

    Such a victory!

    July 17, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  3. Rob

    Wasn't the whole point of going to Iraq to find WMDs? Did we find them? Uh no. So how is that success?

    So what DID we succeed at? Losing 4,000+ soldiers? Wasting billions if not trillions of dollars? Allowing the real culprits of 9/11 to roam free?

    Republicans make me sick.

    July 17, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
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