July 22nd, 2008
03:07 PM ET
15 years ago

McCain gets a dose of straight talk on Iraq War

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/22/mccain.sideprofile.jpg caption="McCain came across some angry questions at his town hall in New Hampshire Tuesday.'"]
(CNN) - During his town hall meeting in Rochester, New Hampshire Tuesday, John McCain repeatedly had to silence the crowd to allow pointed and sometimes angry questions from a woman opposed to the Iraq war. At one point, McCain asked the crowd, "Please, could we all be respectful of everybody's point of view?" McCain took three questions from the woman, saying he respected the fact that she came to state her views.

The woman told McCain it's time to end the "occupation" now.

McCain replied, "We're going to withdraw. We will withdraw. The fact is whether we withdraw in victory or whether we withdraw in defeat." McCain said we are winning in Iraq thanks to the troop surge.

For more on McCain's town hall event, tune into Campbell Brown: Election Center tonight at 8 pm ET.

McCain had to quiet the crowd again when the woman asked whether the U.S. was in Iraq to steal the country's oil. McCain then told her, "In all due respect, I think that is something that is not what Americans are fighting for."

When she was given the chance to speak again, the woman asked if McCain thought the U.S. presence in Iraq is inflaming the Muslim word. "I do not," McCain replied, adding "if we had been defeated in Iraq, the radical elements in the Muslim world would have been dramatically encouraged."

McCain repeatedly thanked the woman for her questions, saying, "You obviously represent the views of many Americans and I respect those views." Of the entire exchange, which lasted some eight minutes, McCain quipped, "It's far better, frankly, than some of the shouting that sometimes that exists between Americans."

soundoff (239 Responses)
  1. Peter (CA)

    At least he was willing to listen to contrasting views. Unlike Bush who has anyone who disagrees with him removed from the forum.

    So, now Senator, please tell us what you mean by "victory" and "honor"? Who will have to die to achieve that? And if you select Romney as your running mate, will he send his kids?

    July 22, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  2. Elgin Webb

    lol. this is funny. i wish i was at the town hall meeting to see his very reaction to the woman questions. he is just being reminded that the majority of americans want to withdraw troops asap. and obama is going to do that. so it sucks for McCain come November.

    July 22, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  3. rhoward

    How dare this lady ask questions that weren't a part of Senator McCain's talking points! How dare she have the nerve to expect a real answer instead of the Senator's canned spiel!

    However, you have it to give to Senator McCain. He at least let the woman have her say even though he didn't give her any real answers. But you can bet money his staff will make sure that this doesn't happen again.

    July 22, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  4. Jude

    James, you are a fool...It was Obama who first suggest to withdraw depending on ground conditions and now Bush following suit.

    July 22, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  5. yoohoo..Vietnam is over!

    As a Navy Vet, I have to admit John McCain is an ok guy. That man has been through the ringer, over the river, and through a beat down, and he's still kicking.

    But, he's also gone loco! We Want Our Troops Home, plain and simple!

    Our troops have done their jobs for our country, and now it's time for us to do our jobs, and bring them home!! If Haliburton and Blackwater want it so bad, then leave then there to be police, but bring our troops home!

    July 22, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  6. Democrats Rule

    Mike from Syracuse – debates have already been set. Obama is going to mop the floor with him – I'm kind of dreading them. Listening to McCain babble about we can't leave Iraq 'cause we are losing and we can't leave Iraq 'cause we are winning and therefore we can't leave Iraq period. Heck – who knew that the 100 year comment was the only truth the "straight talk express" was going to tell on this issue? President Obama – I'm working for a 50 state win – mandate with a capital "M", a majority in both houses and a chance to heal America – 'tis going to be a very good November and an even better January!

    July 22, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  7. Tim, Seattle

    Susie you have no proof, just wishful thinking. 70% of America wants troops out of Iraq. If its a town hall meeting, odds are that 7 in 10 dont agree with McCAin and that at least 1 will have the guts to ask it.

    Math and probability, remember?

    July 22, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  8. Brian

    Maybe we should be Democratic and have Americans and Iraqi's vote if the U.S. Army should withdrawal?

    Would the Republicans listen to a Democracy?

    July 22, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  9. Obama 08: white, 60 year old woman

    If McCain is so worried about American security why isn't he proposing a plan for Afghanistan and why hasn't he visited there to see the facts and conditions on the ground. It has been over two years and circumstances have changed drastically.

    Maybe the Obama campaign should start a count of how many days since he has been there!!

    July 22, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  10. Barbara Campbell

    When is McCain going to define "victory"? If the definition applies to Iraq, would McCain invade other countries to ensure the same "victory"?

    July 22, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  11. Sarah Bonner

    McCain's entire emphasis is on "winning". How does one define winning when you are the aggressor and you instigate an illegal, immoral war which has done absolutely nothing to help ensure the security of America. This war has spurred more revulsion of Americans and american policy worldwide than anything in history and as history has taught us, hatred spawns terrorism.

    How on earth does one "win"?

    July 22, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  12. Paris

    Obama is so arrogant that he can’t even admit when he is wrong.
    What a stubborn one sided man he is.
    If he can’t even admit that the surge worked and accept the positives it brought how is he going to bring both sides together?

    Obama bragged about judgment, with his pastor he showed us he has none.

    Obama bragged about unity, with his refusal to acknowledge the effectiveness of the surge he showed us how one sided is.

    Obama’s inexperience was again highlighted when he repeated his private talks with Iraqi’s PM.

    Obama is dangerous for our natio.
    Whey did Obama choose to fly with no US Flag on his plane?

    July 22, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  13. Retired Veteran from New York City

    Susie: If you don't have nothing to say, please be quite. Don't let people judge you by your intelligence, you sounded so ignorant by your statement. Be educated next time Susie!

    July 22, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  14. no McCain!

    This guy is crazy and dead wrong on just about everything!

    Let's go to Afghanistan and finish off the Taliban and Al-Qaeda where it hurts!

    News Flash, McCain. I'm going to be 18 in August, I'm not going to IRAQ OR IRAN for your pathetic and senseless wars. And if I'm alive by then, you sure as hell can't have my children.

    Obama '08

    July 22, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
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