July 22nd, 2008
03:07 PM ET
14 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. David, New York, NY

    What constitutes victory?

    July 22, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  2. Griff

    The So-Called Iraq War, is the beggining of a possible third World-War, if ignored...

    July 22, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  3. kim hussein taylor portland, oregon

    it's time to end the "occupation" now: why does the press even bother to put INVASION and OCCUPATION in quotes? THOSE words are the TRUTH!

    "The fact is whether we withdraw in victory or whether we withdraw in defeat." McCain said"

    we are soooo over the republicans' lame, tired, FALSE patriotism. just admit you made a disastrous mistake for god's sakes, and let's get our troops home and do the rebuilding in iraq that WE TAXPAYERS paid BILLIONS for-we'll just have to get it allout of those Swiss bank accounts first!!

    July 22, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  4. Tony


    This little old guy gets more desperate everyday.


    July 22, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  5. DflateMacsStr8TalkXpress: Econ MIA, AWOL on facts, POW from reality

    Now, why can't McCain't follow his own advice? Because he's a liar and hypocrite posing as a "maverick".

    July 22, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  6. Kiah

    Even his supporters are sick of his faux straight talk. B/c they see it as the BS that is it is.

    July 22, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  7. Damian Salter

    it's a shame that McCain seems to have forgotten how to straight talk himself!

    July 22, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  8. John McShame, Obama Is Going to Tax You & Cindy, but Not Me & 95% Americans Making < $250,000/Yr

    hopes he gets it; because McShame is still spouting gibberish talking points

    July 22, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  9. Samantha

    How does Mccain always get away with linking leaving Iraq with defeat????As far as most people are concerned, we won that war already!!!

    We need to REDEPLOY to Afghanistan!!! That is where we should have been all along.

    Remember bin Laden?? The guy who killed 3000 Americans?????

    July 22, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  10. Damian Salter

    Look at him, he looks like his head is about to pop of with anger!
    Temper temper!

    July 22, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  11. no no no!

    we have already been defeated in Iraq, don't get me wrong the soldiers have all done a great job, they are all heroes in my book, but when we, the strongest, greatest Nation in the world goes to war based on lies and fabricated info...well we have already lost.
    what the Repubs are not saying is they want to stay in Iraq to protect the interest of the OIL COMPANIES, and like the economy, domestic security and the welfare of our citizens, the lives of our armed forces are expendable. it is about the profit of the oil comp. they are concerned about, the oil companies who funnel MILLIONS AND MILLIONS of dollars into the GOP.
    IRAQ WANTS US OUT, AMERICA WANTS US OUT...lets go get OBL, and keep our eyes on the ball. gee, with all of McCain's "experience" you would think he would know that.

    July 22, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  12. Pick Me! Pick Me!

    What the heck is wrong with the crowd? It would stand to reason that if you are called on for a question, you would shut-up and give the person a chance to speak.

    I remember how Bush supporters were hand-picked...

    July 22, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  13. Texas

    Wow CNN, can you be more biases in your headlines.

    How about, "Obama rejects Petraus's Plan" or "Obama insists surge is a failure."

    Obama would get plenty of angry questions if they wouldn't screen out everyone who wants to ask a tough question.

    McCain isn't afraid to answer tough questions, Obama doesn't answer tough questions, Obama hands the questions to one of his 300 advisors who draft up an artificial and vague answer. Obama is too inexperienced and naive to be president.

    July 22, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  14. MMN-Milwaukee WI

    Bush has 181 days left in the White House and that is not good for McCain or the GOP and that’s all that matters.
    Count with me

    July 22, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  15. Lorraine

    Give me a break McCain. I can't wait until the debate. You better take medication to control your anger, because I know that temper is going to come out so all Americans can you how easy you fly off the handle.

    July 22, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  16. ANGIE

    Mcain please for the love of god please define your victory mccain GIVE THEM BACK THEIR COUNTRY GET OUR TROOPS OUT FOCUS ON AFGHANISTAN AND THE TERRIOST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 22, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  17. RB

    He still can't see that there would have been no need for a surge, for 4100+ young AMericans to die, for us to spend more than a trillion dollars on this war IF WE DIDN'T START IT IN THE FIRST PLACE!

    July 22, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  18. Linda31

    One question she missed was what was McCain's definition of a war won and what needed to occur to leave Iraq.

    July 22, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  19. rice, bryan

    can you imagine the crowd at a republican not wanting to hear the thought of bringing the troops home? the thought that must be running through their scared minds. the thought that terrorism is being stopped by bush. there is the thing called free speech, that's real popular with that crowd. things like free speech, independent thought process', an educated mind, just not real popular.

    July 22, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  20. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    She wants America to withdraw in defeat as she did in the withdrawl form Viet Nam. Its citizens like her and the Government that lost viet Nam and will lose Iraq if they have their way. The Armed Services did not lose Viet Nam and they will not lose Iraq. The dems are still living in the 60's and 70's.

    July 22, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  21. Chris from NY

    Did he define what winning meant when we are occupying a sovereign country? How can he talk about winning when we invaded a sovereign country based on a lie. And when asked about it he said he will do it all over again if he had to. The war on terrorism is based in Afghanistan and not Iraq. Let's go get those that came to our land and attacked us. It's war we can't afford to lose.

    July 22, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  22. R.I.F.

    In the words of the NYT...Please define "victory" Senator McCain. Violence up... we need to stay, violence down...we need to stay. Sounds like a permanent occupation to me.

    July 22, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  23. Ian M

    Why is no one asking Senator McCain what he means by "victory?" He says that he wants to leave with "victory" and "honor," but what does it even MEAN? Who would we be surrendering to if we left tomorrow? This is why the NY Times rejected his op-ed; because he answered no one's questions.

    July 22, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  24. JA Cook

    According to the Iraqis, it's time for us to go, which hapens to be when Bush said we'd go.

    Let's go! The (false) job is done there, let's go take care of the Iraq/Pakistan border or where ever it is that the people that started the real trouble are still holed up.

    July 22, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  25. Fed up with the lies

    I appreciate Sen. McCain's politeness. Now if he was just correct on the Iraq situation. A surge of troops didn't help us win. Many different events helped the attacks lessen; and we won't have won until the last murderer has blown themselves up. Get out of Iraq now!

    Obama '08

    July 22, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
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