July 18th, 2008
10:00 AM ET
14 years ago

Will McCain stop criticizing Obama when he's abroad? No

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/11/art.mccainobama.ap.jpg caption="McCain is expected to continue criticism of Obama while he is overseas."]
(CNN)—Senator John McCain tends to follow the old adage “politics ends at the water's edge,” but his aides tell CNN they have every intention of continuing their attacks on Obama while the presumptive Democratic nominee is on his overseas trip.

When he was in Canada in June, McCain refused to talk about Obama - and CNN was told from top advisers that McCain got angry at campaign aides back at headquarters for sending emails hitting the Illinois senator while he was abroad.

But the McCain campaign considers Obama’s trip to Europe, Iraq and Afghanistan fair game. McCain aides says the Obama campaign and the DNC both set precedent for it, by attacking McCain while he was in Europe and the Middle East in March, and during his recent trips to Canada, Colombia and Mexico.

In an e-mail response to CNN, McCain spokesman Brian Rogers attached a list of quotes from Obama and DNC press releases during the presumptive Republican nominee’s trips, and said “we don’t feel there’s any restriction on drawing contrasts while he’s abroad.”

The trip has already drawn significant media coverage - so there’s no doubt the McCain campaign will be watching Obama very closely.

The campaign has already sharpened its argument in the past week, branding the presumptive Democratic nominee’s trip to Europe as a photo opportunity, and his visits to Afghanistan and Iraq campaign stops, not a fact finding missions, since Obama announced his policies before visiting.

“I was very interested that he articulated and announced his policies and approached Iraq before he went, not after. Remarkable,” Senator McCain told Missouri voters Thursday.

“I've been on a lot of trips around the world, usually at your expense, but I usually issue my policy statements when I get back.”

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (246 Responses)
  1. joe

    The new two weeks are going to tough for the McCain camp. The risks for Obama will be very minimal. He does not have to talk to the British Parliment for goodness sake. Yes, he will meet with prime ministers. Any serious conversation (and a chance for a boo-boo) will be behind closed doors. Following meetings will be press conferences. What we will see is cheering Brits, Irishmen, French, and Germans. Security will be really tight in the Middle East. Any conversations with Generals will be private. The Generals will want it that way. More news coverage with Barack and our troops. The only thing McCain can do is....watch. To steal some press coverage he could announce his VP pick, but McCain will wait until Barack picks his VP. Watch the poll number in about 3 weeks from now!! Nationally, instead of a 7 point spread, it could be 11 points.

    July 18, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  2. ProudToBeDemocrat

    Mccain can not finish a sentence with out mentioning or attacking Obama, this a sign of fear and feeling unsecure. Democrats should be happy about it.

    July 18, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  3. Ron

    Obama looks like a winner, he is a winner...

    Back pedalling to the GOP for a sense of unity makes Obama look Strong....

    The GOP doesn't exist in the hearts and minds of it's founders and it's follwers...
    What's left is the remnant of flounders, blamers and disclaimers..

    Thanks President Bush and Dick Cheney you've really wrote the book on how the screw the nation and your party all at he same time (morons

    July 18, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  4. TC, Fl

    I can't wait to see what harm Obama does in Europe and the Middle East – just like Pelosi and Carter did. There will be plenty for McCain to comment on, even if the Dems and media want to spin it positively.

    Good luck, Obama, greet the real world. And for God's sake, just don't give promises about what you will do when you are President.

    July 18, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  5. JP

    The Republicans will always take the negative view on EVERYTHING that Obama does. That is their campaign message. So that is understood up-front.

    However if you notice that Bush as well as McCain are moving toward his way of thinking: Engaging in dialog, thinking about Afghanistan.

    Barack Obama is very smart. You cannot believe that he will be caught short as far as information and expertise. He would know (and knows) and understands more about politics, strategy and foreign policy than anyone. Reading in the Times today that he has 300 foreign policy advisors was not hard to believe. And he forms his own thinking based on their facts. HE IS ABLE TO THINK FOR HIMSELF AND GETS IT RIGHT!!!!!

    So all the other stuff is spin and fear that this incredible candidate will be president.


    July 18, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  6. Karen

    Eight years ago, when GBW was running for president, the GOP and its followers were not concerned that GBW had hardly ever been out of the country, they elected him, twice. Or at least once, legitmately, by then he had dragged us into a war, had made overseas trips which never improved his judgement.

    Now they are complaining about Barack Obama's trip, he has been overseas several times prior to this. Traveling, whether as a private citizen or as a potential POTUS, helps give one a better understanding of the world as long as one is open to the differences in cultures.

    In todays's world, many millions overseas are hoping Barack will be elected POTUS and want to see this extrordinary man for themselves. But they can only hope, that the voters of the US will make the right choice this time, not like they did in 2004. Many overseas are still trying to understand how that happened. God Speed Barack!

    July 18, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |

    Shut the H E double Hockey stix up McCain. I am sick of your crap.

    July 18, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  8. jk

    Most abused word this election?


    Only ELITIST journalists and political egg heads use that word in the first place.

    It is a sad day in America when the only way we can make ourselves look better is to try and make someone else look worse.

    Being American used to be about BEING the best, and working HARDER to be even better. Now people think that being American is about degrading those that don't agree with you, and belittling those who outperform you.

    See, the Bush Administration DOES have a legacy.

    July 18, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  9. John McShame, Obama Is Going to Tax You & Cindy, but Not Me & 95% Americans Making < $250,000/Yr

    John McShame brain keeps licking...........that's why he can only critize Obama without saying anything worthwhile of his own record or antiquated policies....

    we all know what McBush thinks anywayz; that americans are "a bunch of whiners" suffering from "mental recession"..........

    John McSame = DOUBLE TALK EXPRESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 18, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  10. Brad - California

    McCain will not stop criticizing Obama, because the moment he stops, the attention falls on McCain's own significant shortcomings. experience means absolutely NOTHING. We have had experience in Washington for decades and look where we have ended up – pouring our treasury into a Middle Eastern dump while working our way into Third World Nation status. Thank-you, experienced ones. Now go home.

    July 18, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  11. Eagle

    The Europeans I know just adore Barack Obama. They have no problem with his foreign policy credentials. They ask how much foreign policy experience people like Ronald Reagan, or George W. Bush had before becoming president. Those guys weren't even part of the federal government so how could they?

    As was mentioned, any candidate and later POTUS is constantly briefed on what is happening in the world. How else would he know. Do you think John Adams knew everything that was going on in France, England or in the Medeterranean area without someone who was an expert to advise him? Way too much is being made of Obama's supposed lack of experience on foreign affairs.

    July 18, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  12. Nick

    Has Bush been to Afghanistan? I can't remember. If he hasn't, "how come he hasn't been there if he's so concerned about it?" (to paraphrase Mcbush. And why hasn't he been to EITHER of his wars RECENTLY,if he's so concerned about them? See, the logic kind of breaks down here...

    July 18, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  13. Ben

    McBush and his supporters are just jealous. From 80,000 here to 800,000 all over the world. That's the number of persons directly exposed to our next president. No wonder they are having a fit.

    July 18, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  14. Maggie Muggins

    All along I thought George Bush would occupy the dubious distinction of being the biggest buffoon to every lead a country in the past 200 years. Now that may not be George's mark on history as John McCain is all set to take this only true legacy away from Bush.

    Let's keep a clown in the Whitehouse.........McCain '08 we can do it and the whole world is watching.

    July 18, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  15. J

    Hey John McCain, did you go to Iraq before you voted for the war?

    July 18, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  16. Brad - California

    McCain touring a GM facility? What a joke. The biggest supporter of NAFTA and free trade talking to carefully selected American workers. What John fails to understand is that there is a difference between FREE and fair trade, and at this point we need more FREE trade just about as much as we need John McCain. Both are bad for America.

    July 18, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  17. Chris

    As a white lady of 59 years, educated and the mother of 2 educated daughters, we are extremely proud of the fact that Sen. Obama is our nominee for President of the United States.

    Sen. Obama is a brilliant man who has top advisors by his side 24/7. For all the time McCain has spent on the ground he still doesn't know what's going on.

    Sen. Obama will lead our country to a new beginning, a country for all its citizens, a country respected around the world.


    Obama 08/12

    July 18, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  18. Self-actualization and manifest destiny

    Obama is a charismatic media rock star. Leave him alone so he can read his scripts- His team really worked hard on them. He's so busy being the new politician he needs to relegate the dirty politics to his surrogates.

    All hail the almighty Obama!

    July 18, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  19. Voter

    McCain "whaaaa, if they do it then I'll do it to!" – poor leadership

    This is why the Kyoto protocol was never signed – poor leadership

    McCain can't rise above others, just follow them i.e. McBush

    July 18, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  20. Kelly

    Obama is viewed as weak on foreign policy because our current foreign policy revolves around war. Obama is not a war president and Bush/McCain are. Foreign Policy does not equal war and if we take the actual meaning of foreign policy, "Gaining favor from allies, successfully negotiating with the bad guys, and expanding US influence", then Obama is far and beyond better for foreign policy. The rest of the civilized world is hoping Obama wins and if we want the US to be the moral center of the world, we better hope Obama wins too.

    On a side note, its funny how Bush is sending diplomats to talk with Iran when he and McCain have soundly bashed Obama for wanting to sit down with our enemies.

    July 18, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  21. Julius

    Anybody who smells war should be far away from me. Time for peace!!!

    July 18, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  22. Anonymous

    I really don't understand how anyone could vote for McCain, with the state of the country today......

    Banks failing
    Foreclosure sky high
    Unemployment going up
    Food prices going through the roof
    $4+ gas prices.
    4000+ troops killed in needless war

    How can ANYONE want 4 more years of this?

    It's not just saying that McCain is the same as Bush.....it's the whole party they belong to.....it's their policies....their way of thinking....their 'whatever is good for big business' outlook.....

    The country as a whole, can't take 4 more years of this.....

    July 18, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  23. luke

    No more wars.......Mcwar should retire and leave Obama unopposed.......

    Time for change!

    I feeeeeeeeeeeeel chaaaaaaaaaaaaange in the airrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

    I am change and I am voting for change...

    Go Obama!

    July 18, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  24. DJ Los Angeles

    Flying a jet , dropping a few bombs by clicking a button and getting shot down does not qualify someone to be President – Wesley Clarke

    July 18, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  25. karen-phoenix

    McCain has nothing else he can do but critize! He has no issues except be another Bush for 4 years and America wants a big CHANGE!! So does the rest of the world!!! I do think McCain protestith to much on the flip flop as McCain is a bigger flip floper than a dead fish in the bottom of a boat. Obama is brilliant, articulate, educated, young and enthusiastic. I want NO OLD EXPERIENCE!!!! And I'm a recovering republican and in my 60's!!!! McCain is still fighting the Vietnam war!!!

    July 18, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
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