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. Obama-Junkie, IL

    McCain is pulling a "snow job" over many millions of Americans who don't understand jack about any community outside of their own backyards, which is part of the problem.

    McCain replied, "We're going to withdraw. We will withdraw. The fact is whether we withdraw in victory or whether we withdraw in defeat."

    Most know McCain's interpretation of defeat is that Iraq becomes a failed state controlled by terrorists. What in the hell does victory mean?

    If the sovereign nation of Iraq wants America to leave by the end of 2010, why are we planning to stay?

    July 22, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  2. Larry Buchas

    He's going to have a hard time at it. But he also brought it on. Maybe he will flip flop on the war too?

    I got news for you, McCain. Victory means getting out! it won't cost us another $10 billion/week.

    July 22, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  3. Real Change

    "We're going to withdraw. We will withdraw. The fact is whether we withdraw in victory or whether we withdraw in defeat."


    July 22, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  4. Mike

    Wow, the Obama Bloggers must have gotten organized to take over the CNN website.

    I hope that's the case, because if America is this stupid, then we're in big trouble.

    July 22, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  5. LaShanda

    ROFLMAO! How do you win an occupation? This man has yet to define "victory."

    July 22, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  6. Joe

    ...and his strength is own halls? He silenced the librarian lady, failed to answer the vet's question on his voting record, failed to answer the woman at GM who politely asked him which war he had won to substantiate his claim and now this....Campaign in peril!!!!!!!!!

    July 22, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  7. Yasriel

    McWar needs to be taken up on "The Sadr City is safe. Mosul is safe. Basra is safe. The people of Iraq, and I've been there, are now leading normal lives."
    What is the definition of NORMAL LIVE when there are more than 100,000 American Military men/women and a lot more of Iraqi service men patrolling the streets of Iraq.
    Wouldn't a measure of NORMAL LIVE be what we are used to over here? When was the last time you went to Wal-Mart and be afraid that the place will be blown up or you see hundreds of military guys patrolling in and around Wal-Mart.?
    I am really afraid this McClueless guy could some how steal the presidency....He would be worse than Bush.

    July 22, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  8. VietnamVet

    The lady should have followed up with: "Fine, tell us what you mean by victory?" After going into a trumped up war, loosing over 4,000 of our finest, leaving thousands more maimed for life, wasting billions of the nation's treasure, killing a significant percentage of Iraq's citizens and literally destroying the infrastructure of another nation that posed no threat whatsoever, he really needs to describe victory. The true reason is: to have the oil barons hands on Iraq's OIL. Well over a year ago, Australia even admitted that was the case for going in! When is THIS administration going to fess up too?!

    July 22, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  9. Johnboy

    "Hey, if I think of an insulting word and put "Mc" in front of it, it would be like a play on words where people know I am talking about McCain but I am insulting him at the same time! That is SO witty and clever! I should take over for Conan O'Brien! Think about it! McShame, McBush, McDummy.....the list is neverending!"

    *Yawn* This just shows the immaturity of most democrats.

    This shows the character of McCain. He could have blew off this lady's questions and got away with it. Something I suspect Obama would have done. Instead, he let her have her time and respectfully answered her questions. A great guy who will be a great President.

    July 22, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  10. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    McCain won't pull out of Iraq until the right-wing is sure they have a government in place they can "work" over, er,... I mean with.

    Remember, Neoclowns, you installed the current crop!!!

    Bush only had to go through 4 generals to get the one he needed!!!

    July 22, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  11. E for Obama

    McCain please define victory in Iraq?

    And if I hear you say the "surge worked" again I am going to slap the next McCain supporter I see!!! Why are people supporting this MAD MAN?

    The surge was a tactical success, YES, but NOT a strategy for victory!!!

    A strategy has 3 key components: Invade, conquer, and exit.

    YES we invaded



    Help me with last 2 components McCain.

    July 22, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  12. David Goldman for OBAMA





    July 22, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  13. ali

    good.lying to her face.the war was for oil.ask russia and france who opposed it because they lost their oil contracts when we invaded.noone ever remembers that,though.now,all of bush's oil buddies are sucking up the contracts,without letting others bid on them,just like halliburton and mccains contract scandals over boeing and airbus contracts.the wealthy ceos and powerful politicians of the republican party control our wealth and the government.sounds corrupt,i know.but all legal with the current executive branch.

    July 22, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  14. Lisa

    It's not helping that even the PM of Iraq wants a timetable of withdrawl from the U.S.. Only McShame and the rest of the Bush administration want to stay there. We lost sight many years ago...we should've focused in Afghanistan, but we didn't. This election, for me, is no different from others in that I find myself voting for the lesser of two evils. However, I know for sure, 100%, that a vote for McShame would be the equivilent of re-electing Bush for third term.

    July 22, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  15. Shane

    I am so sick of McCain (McSame) talking about "victory" in Iraq. It is a total joke! What is the definition of victory there? Defeating Al Quaida when that is not even the epicenter of their force. This leaving with victory and honor is total garbage. I'd love to hear his definition. I thought our goal was to help bring Iraq to democracy? Well the Iraqi people clearly want us gone and they have every right to demand this given that we have all but demolished their country. Have some respect and let them now have their own culture and solve their own problems. Who are we to dictate how a countries culture should be.
    One of McCain's biggest weak points is that he is stobburn as H and he will not back down from something even if he knows he is wrong. He is not the most stable person to have as commander in chief of our country. He seems to like war for one thing, no matter what he says.

    July 22, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  16. Mike

    Victory = not leaving Iraq in shambles so it decends into chaos.

    Victory = leaving Iraq in a stable state that is irreversible.

    Victory = leaving Iraq with a self sustaining Iraqi Army.

    Because when this happens, THEN we can bring our troops home.

    If you leave before this is accomplished, and Obama has been trying to flee like a coward for two years, then all of our blood, sweat, and tears will be lost. FOREVER

    July 22, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  17. Valerie - St. Louis, MO

    Susie you must have something in for Obama for you to say that he sent this women to a McCain event. You people will say anything but admit your hatred for a mixed race person that is doing so well in the campaign.

    July 22, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  18. Shaik

    I hope more mothers, fathers and the loved ones of our great soldiers would attend the McSame rallies and let him know (shout it out) that he is out of touch. Aside from that, why does he keep mouthing off on Iraq...it is the economy, stupid!

    July 22, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  19. Scott, Wichita

    I'd like to see Obama in a town hall meeting that isn't handpicked beforehand. All those throngs of zombies that will follow him to the end of the world. I can't wait until four years from now, when the rest of us are saying "I told you so."

    July 22, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  20. paul

    interesting how Obama's supporters won't extend McCain the courtesy that he does his critics.

    makes you wonder what they're afraid of

    July 22, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  21. ANGIE

    mike from syracuse ny
    You know you have got to be one of the ignorant posters besides lisa if you follow politicts than you should know the debates dont start until after the conventions, one can clearly see your a republican ( IGNORANT)

    July 22, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  22. Dave Mishem

    Guess what Iraqis – we have spent trillions on your stinking country. I have news for you. We will leave when WE feel like it, not a second before. McCain will keep us in Iraq until we have freedom and democracy there – even if 99.9% of Iraqis are against it. The president needs to think about what Americans want, not what Iraqis want.

    July 22, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  23. GERRY


    July 22, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  24. Christie from Phlly

    Grow up "Susie". "It's a shame Obama sends people to McCain's events to disrespect him. McCain never does that to Obama." YOU KNOW THIS HOW! Senator Obama's supporters are busy watching him on his middle east and European tour. I doubt you could pay one of Senator Obama's supporter to attend a McCain town hall to not only be bored to death, but it would cause us to miss out on any information regarding Senator Obama's trip. And, for what, to watch McCain put folks to sleep! Give it a rest Susie, you sound paranoid to me – pretty much like McCain, with his whining remarks that Senator Obama is receiving more press coverage than he is!!!

    July 22, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  25. Edith Arkansas

    The news did not tell all of the ladies question she in the early beginning asked didn't they enter the Iraq war illegal I never heard McCain give her an answer to that question . also McCain ignore the fact that the Prime Minister Al Malika agree with Barack Obama on withdrawning the troops in 16 months. McCain still want to take the stand as if Iraq is his country inspite of what Malika has said even though he said previously the U S will leave when ever the Iraqi government want them too. Is McCAIN FLIP FLOOPING NOW!!!!!

    July 22, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
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