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. no no no!

    if anyone goes to one of McCain's town hall meetings would you mind asking him why he refuses to release his military records for me...i mean what does he have to hide? thanks

    July 22, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  2. Obama - The Right Vote

    People are just not buying what McCain is selling – Meet the New Boss, SAME as the OLD BOSS.....


    July 22, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  3. Pedro

    Being from canada, i feel so sad for you americans(the ones that support Mcshame)... You guys will never know what it's like living in a country that cares for its people!

    July 22, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  4. EDW

    First they said that we would withdraw when Iraq wanted us to leave. Now the Republicans are saying once we have victory. Um, what are we trying to win? Oh yeah, OIL.

    July 22, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  5. rbt

    Of course our presence inflames the muslim world.
    But remember this is comning from someone who presssed the idea that we would be greated as liberators!
    And who believes in a long term occupation in the mold of German/Korea/Japan.
    He does not want to face the reality that that part of the world thinks of America as the Great SAtan. So much for foreign policy cred!

    July 22, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  6. ber6964

    Hey Susie you Tool, Obama is half way across the world and he sent this woman. Get a life, idiot.

    July 22, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  7. bridgette

    Is it me or is CNN going overboard with the McCain postings. I wish they would stop letting polls determine how they are going to run their news and their web site. They did the same thing in the primaries when SNL did that hilarious Obama, Hilary, MSNBC, &CNN skit. They did the same thing. Stop being silly CNN>

    July 22, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  8. Connie, Tennessee

    Even Bush is talking about reducing troop levels now. Does that mean we WON or we are DEFEATED????? LOL

    July 22, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  9. Shawna

    If these town home meetings are continuing to go badly why does he kee p doing them

    July 22, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  10. Sue

    I don't think the candidates should debate until after the conventions and the official nominations.

    July 22, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  11. lady in michigan

    McCain can't find Iraq on a map (at least not on those maps the rest of us are using - the ones that don't have an "Iraq-Pakistani border").

    And Susie? McCain has disrespected you and your intelligence dozens of times over the last few weeks. The latest when he claimed in an attack ad that Obama was responsible for rising gas prices...

    July 22, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  12. Study War No More

    His words of victory and defeat are meaningless .. he does not define either.

    Victory is when we don't waste another penny of our tax dollars over there and not a single other soldier or innocent civilian is killed or injured.

    McCain will not end the war.

    July 22, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  13. What!!!

    I give him credit. It takes a lot to open the floor to questions from anyone in the crowd. While I think I might vote for Obama, I really need to see him handle a question from someone that does not agree with him and that is not given to his people before hand. I want to see how you would handle this Mr Obama.

    July 22, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  14. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    We HAVE to withdraw, because Dumbya broke the Army with extedned tours of duty. Now Afghanistan (Real War on Terror) is in flames, the Taliban is back and our troops need relief....What kind of victory is a war that should never have been fought?

    July 22, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  15. EDW

    So, Susie you believe that whenever an American has questions that may be too difficult for grandpa McCain to answer then it was a set up by the Obama campaign. Stop fooling yourself.

    July 22, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  16. Bryan, Michigan

    Mike, Syracuse, NY ~ You must only watch Fox News? Did you not see any of the town hall type forums that Obama had during the primary? Obama has held many stumps in big forums but he has also held Q & A with smaller groups. You could argue that those that attend would likely be supporters but certainly not all.

    Certainly, even McCain volunteers have trouble handing him soft balls.

    As far as debates go, it is typical for one side to offer the format that feeds their strengths and then accuse the other side of being afraid. It is normal posturing done in campaigns.

    I do watch various networks, read various news sources and look at all the candidates and their activities to make my decision. You may find it helpful to turn off some of your filters before you make judgement.

    July 22, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  17. Ted:Canada

    It is really incredible on how inexperienced McCain is with “war”.
    Likely as a war prisoner he has a distorted sense of what it takes to win.

    He made a very bold statement about withdrawing from Iraq in victory or in defeat but he did not define victory. What that means is he will try to win at any cost.

    Does anybody know if McCain received any mental treatment after his long period of captivity?

    Looks like he needs some help!!

    July 22, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  18. LeMonton

    Obama is frrrrrrightening...brrrrr....buuuuu!

    I am sure Obama is very frightening...but to republicans. Change is always frightening to lovers of inaction and status quo.

    But I am sure that for the soldiers in Iraq, the unemployed and the uninsured at home, they all crave for the change and hope that Obama brings and November 4 can't just arrive fast enough.

    On Experience – Dick Cheney and Ronald Rumsfeld. Two of the most experienced public figures in D.C. Rumsfeld had proven himself to be the most inept war manager. Under Cheney's presidency our economy, our constitution and our global standing are down the drain.

    And for McCain, he is so experienced that after 40+ years in Washington and public service, what does he offer as solutions...to continue Bush presidency for 3rd term and Cheney's policies for 4 more years...

    WOW! that experience in action!

    July 22, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  19. James Hussein, SC

    Mark, B'ham., Al.

    You are wrong! It was lack of planning and failure to define a wining plan that caused our loss in Vietnam. Iraq is currently in the same situation.
    If we have won, then let's get out.

    July 22, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  20. DJ, LA, CA

    McCain makes absolutely no sense. How do YOU define that? When Haliburton and the Bush/Cheney war-mongering profiteers have made another 4 years of billions of taxpayer $?

    July 22, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  21. Jodi

    Susie – are you kidding? Have you not read any of the blogs CNN has posted today? All McCain does is disrespect Obama.

    July 22, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  22. Claudia

    The more McCain talks about "victory" the more he is going to be hammered about the Iraq war. He just doesn't get it but that's okay because he is his own worst enemy.

    July 22, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  23. Janey/Michigan

    Interesting to see that a few anti-war Obamabots have become warmongers–now that he wants to withdraw in defeat and go on to Afghanistan to pursue what he calls the"real war against terrorism". The truth is, he wants his own war–not what he perceives as someone else's war.

    July 22, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  24. Abby

    Mark, B'ham., Al., -There is only leaving or permanent occupation, not win or lose. When there is no defined enemy left, like Saddam Hessian for example, who are we going to capture or who will surrender so that we can say we won? The Bush administration has said all along that when the Iraq government asks us to leave, we will leave. Its time to keep that promise

    July 22, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  25. Peggy - TX

    What does "victory" mean?

    What does "defeat" mean?

    Unless McCain can articulate why we are there and exactly what we are trying to accomplish, then these words “victory” and “defeat” have NO meaning. These are just buzz words that faintly echo of WWII when "victory" and "defeat" had clear a meaning.

    July 22, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
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