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. mayahh


    July 22, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  2. R.I.F.

    Susie, over 70% of Americans want this war to end. If 70% of the poplutation are "Obama's people" then McCain is in Big Big Trouble. Also, what's disrespectful about what the lady asked him? It's not like she was holding a banner up and shouting at him. She's just looking for the same answer that many of us are....what the h is "winning/victory" in Iraq. Also why should we vote for a guy who gives us no earthly idea of when troops can come home seeing that we've lost over 4100 so far. Sorry that she "disrespected" you candidate.

    July 22, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  3. Rachel

    Obama doesn't like these town meetings cause he would have to answer questions. Not a fan of McCain but at least he is not afraid to be questioned.

    July 22, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  4. George

    Lets get with the true reason Bush started this situation called WAR. I remember hearing Roosevelt when he declaired war on Germany. This presedent went to battel for oil and Sadam. He got Sadam so lets stop draining our nation and just say ,we got your dictator you are now on lour own,

    Leaving now will be a winer not a looser.

    July 22, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  5. Joshua College Station Texas

    I am glad that McCain took those tough questions. Unfortunately, it doesn't change the fact that he is wrong in his positions. He represents a party that is most interested in building the American economy on the backs of the rest of the world's citizens. Our presence in Iraq is an occupation, victory there cannot be quantified, and we are less safe because we do not understand the culture there and are mistakenly are trying to install ours instead. We attacked a sovereign nation that had not attacked us, nor would, nor could, simply for GWB's legacy, and in so doing completely destabilized the region. It is time to get out, time to move on and move forward. It is time to get the Republicans out of office! Anyone is going to do a better job than they are.

    July 22, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  6. Nando, Florida


    AND THIS MAN THINKS HE IS THE NEXT LEADER OF THE WORLD ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

    July 22, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  7. BR

    If it were BHO that lady wouldn't have got the first question out. Stories are already floating out that his entire trip was orchestrated. So those videos and everything were stages. Awesome. That is acting presidential.

    July 22, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  8. Pater servius, Ft. Myers

    It's a free country–as long as the woman wasn't disruptive and allowed others in attendance to answer questions–she should be able to address her beefs with the government.

    July 22, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  9. Enlightened Voter

    I'm sorry but what is there to win? John, you sound obsessed and your judgment is seriously lacking. I don't want you or your 'kind' running my country.

    July 22, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  10. Topher

    What are we fighting for in Iraq?

    They weren't in on 9/11.

    They weren't an imminent threat to the United States and did not have WMD.

    Maybe Bush made a promise to his daddy to get Saddam for him and that's all the troops in Iraq went over there for.

    It diverts resources and troops from the real conflict. In going in there to fight we have created conflict where none existed before our invasion.

    We need to get out of Iraq and focus on the only real enemy, Al Qaeda. Where is Osama Bin Laden anyways? You don't hear anyone really talk about him or finding him or killing him anymore, or why it's taken so long.

    I would hate for our best, brightest and bravest in uniform to continue dying in vain for a war that never should have been allowed in the first place.

    July 22, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  11. Evelyn from Elgin, Ill

    What is there left to "win"? We toppled Saddam, we put a sovereign nation in place, who has now asked us to leave. If we don't we are now completely occupying a nation... that's not winning that's invading and we should be chastized by the UN at that point!

    He's so out of touch it's a joke....... we need to focus on Afghanistan and the war on terror and get out of Bush's war for oil..... which he certainly has WON.... he's pushed the price of oil to record highs..... HE WON! he's even richer!!

    July 22, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  12. TJ Johnson

    If we withdraw without total military victory - the Iraqi army can control their own country - those insurgents who have withdrawn to neighboring areas waiting for the democrats' pitiful withdrawal in shame, they will return to Iraq and then the US will have to go back in there to an even bloodier war or allow Jordan, Syria and Iran to hack Iraq to pieces on their terms. Now, why would sane Americans want us to withdraw in shame?

    July 22, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  13. EBC

    HOW long is McBush going to keep stating "we are succeeding", we will NEVER surrender, victory etc.

    Obviously, McCain is soooooo out of touch with reality when it comes to IRAQ and ALL McCain could repeat is "the surge is working"..... the surge... the surge.

    Well, if we DID NOT GO INTO THIS WAR, the surge would NOT be an issue right NOW....and thousands of our young men and women would NOT be dying due to idiots with BIG political egos!!!

    July 22, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  14. Michael in Seattle

    Didn't he say a couple of days ago that we had won the war in Iraq...
    I am confused...can someone help me???

    July 22, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  15. Dan

    So two people had critiques of McCain. The woman who slammed the staff and this woman. If McCain can't control town hall meetings how can he run this country?

    July 22, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  16. Ian

    "If we had been defeated in Iraq, the radical elements in the Muslim world would have been dramatically encouraged."

    Interesting, because they say they are attacking us because we're over there. If we leave then they lose a major recruiting tool.

    July 22, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  17. Will-South Dakota

    WMD's--None found
    Chemical weapons-–Not found
    Billions and billions spent, wasted, lost
    Over 4,000 American soldiers gone
    and McBush wants the US to stay for 100years
    while the US needs to take of itself now and fix our country
    McBush see's nothing wrong with borrowing from China
    to pay for his 100 year war.
    Out of Touch with America is McBush's theme.

    July 22, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  18. bern

    PUMA – Murphy July 22nd, 2008 4:23 pm ET

    I can't say this enough. It's what the people of America want. We have given the Iraqi people everything that they need to run the country and we can now step out of Iraq. We can't stay there forever, it's hurting us with the loss of American lives and the money being spent.

    This is where I, as a PUMA member agree 100% with Barrack Obama. We need to begin withdrawing troops, period. You'll rarely hear me say that so enjoy it while it lasts coming from a "high ranking" PUMA member.

    And PUMA is helping stop the war how? By working against Obama? That's real smart.

    July 22, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  19. Amy


    July 22, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  20. FactCheck

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

    But then Haliburton and Blackwater wouldn't be making any money in Afghanistan... and isn't that what this is all about?

    July 22, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  21. FactCheck

    > You'll rarely hear me say that so enjoy it while it lasts coming from a
    > "high ranking" PUMA member.

    How about donating a few buck to HRC's campaign to pay off her debt? Oh yeah, I forgot...

    July 22, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  22. Homo Sapien

    Well, he handled it with tact without dodging the question, gave her respect though she disagreed with him, and clearly showed that he is willing to stand by what he believes, despite what the majority thinks. It's clled integrity and it's something that a lot of politicians seem to lack nowadays.

    Kudos, John McCain.

    July 22, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  23. Jesse

    this is amazing. I see an blog on CNN, 95+% of the comments are all so extremely negatvie you sort of wonder if you read the same blog post.

    Now, it's obvoius most of CNN's readers (or at least those that comment) are fiercly anti-McCain. but what I don't get is the comments never have anything to do with the storry.

    It usally goes something like this.. "McShame/McSame/McLame (or some other variation of his name) is a lying bleah bleah bleah".

    I am always surprised because I see the article, for instance this one, and it involved McCain being extremely resepctful. Taking questions that challenge his view and silencing the crowd such that the question can be asked. Answering the question respectfully. Begging his audience to respect everyone's views.

    Yet, all the comments just call him names and yell because he doesn't have the same position they do on the war. My goodness children, grow up. Maybe one day you'll be a respectable civil servant like John McCain has been. Disagreements will happen people, it doesn't make people liars. The only bad character I see is in most of these comments.

    July 22, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  24. lovable liberal

    What? What about the hundred years? Now he's agreeable to withdrawal. Honestly, can't McCain stick to his guns in the face of one woman from New Hampshire? No wonder he's not willing to negotiate. He's afraid he'll give away the store.

    July 22, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  25. b Jiggy

    Poor John McCain...bless his little heart 🙂

    Go Democrats 08'

    July 22, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
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