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. shelagh

    Sometimes a HUGE "victory" can be had by simply admitting a mistake has been made.

    July 22, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  2. Gail AL.

    Obama needs to quit hiding behind reporters, what is all the frenzy about Obama the news stations thinks he's a GOD, the way they report. it makes me sick. Wolf and Jack are as bad as any. We'll have to wait and see how the media covers the debates. I guess MCcain will get the first question, then Obama will just agree, so he doesn't have to think, just like the debates with Hillary. give me a break, OBAMA WOULD BE A DIASTER.

    July 22, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  3. Joe

    There is an aweful lot of Obama staffers posting on CNN today.

    July 22, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  4. Debby, NJ

    This is what happens when McShame starts whining
    Now he can't answer question because he has no answers
    It is about time that people start insisting on some answers, but McShame has none...Is he getting pale?

    July 22, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  5. Ken Pittsburgh

    A open note to McCain
    This is not our fight to win or lose the Irag war must be left uo to the people of Irag to wage. They want us out of there and like a good guest we should honered their wish. We can not claim vicory or see defeat this is not our country. We gave them the light and cleared the path for them now it is up to the them to see it through .

    July 22, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  6. Biffington, Biff


    at least HE, unlike Bush, actually let a dissenting comment IN....

    NOW.... as for his answer.... he is beginning to remind me of Guilianni.... "a noun, a verb, and SURGE."

    July 22, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  7. aaa

    mccain dose straight lie on Iraq

    July 22, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  8. Wayne

    McCain, when he went to Iraq said that permenent bases much like what we have in Korea, Germany and Japan are a model for Iraq. Now he is saying in the townhall meeting that we will withdraw.

    Which one is it? Is he saying we will stay their permenently or will we withdraw like he said at the townhall meeting????

    July 22, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  9. Lisa

    What is he talking about winning? Let's move on! Let them have their friggin country and bring us the hell home!

    July 22, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  10. Crush Rush

    Mark Bham,looks like you are still living in the sixties and in Nam.You can wake up now.

    July 22, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  11. Gene

    Texas... When does Obama avoid any questions? In fact.. it's McCain who always stamps his feet and cries every time someone says something about him that he doesn't like... then blames Obama as if Obama is the one saying it. Obama always said that he wants to set the 16 month goal.. but he would obviously take into account what is happening on the ground. How is that wrong? It's a plan.. it's an agenda, and its an end to a war. McCain has to plan or agenda, or any plans on ending this war. What exactly are we fighting for there at this point?

    If you can answer what defines victory (even though McCain has already announced several times that we've achieved it), then you can make comments like the ones you make. McCain can't even answer what defines victory there... it's a question that's been asked of him time and time again.. by both parties, by conservative media, and most recently by the NY times. He has yet to answer this very simple and specific question.... which is the root of this entire war.

    July 22, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  12. Donald, Canton NC

    Hey McCain, why were one of three Senators that didn't vote on the confirmation of Petreus to be General on 10 Jul 2008, US Senate vote #172. The other two were Kennedy and Obama.

    You like to talk of y our support for the military, yet y ou don't vote this confirmation, nor the expansion of the GI Bill last year.

    You can't have your cake and eat too!!! Or you'll got the way of Marie Antoinette.

    July 22, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  13. McCain for President

    Right on Mike from Syracuse.

    July 22, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  14. BUSHED!!!!!

    McCain came across some angry questions at his town hall in New Hampshire Tuesday.' How does it FEEL!!!!

    July 22, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  15. Lawrence

    At least he went out of his way to let the woman speak her piece & ask the questions – he just didn't deliver the answers he should have.

    Nobody likes to win a war, but when does it become such a boon-doogle that you're throwing away lives to prove a point (or trying not to look weak). Every soldier that dies or is maimed, is doing so because we cannot admit we made a mistake & we are trying to salvage something out of this horrible situation we find ourselves in.

    I wonder if there is a magical #, that is we lose a certain # of soldiers, we'll be able to claim victory and go home.

    Ask yourselves, do you feel more safe or less safe than 2001 – and include in that the following:

    1) Personal Safety (life & limb)
    2) Economic Safety
    a) Do you fear foreclosure?
    b) Nervous about food & gas prices?
    c) How secure is your job?

    Seriously now, does the 750 Billion dollars that have been spent in Iraq make you feel more safe or less safe?

    July 22, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  16. David

    What don't you people get?! Just because you do not understand the workings of state supported terrorism in the Middle East and that for decades Iraq has been a safe haven for terrorist groups such al Qaeda does not mean that this war was started on false pretenses. For five years now it has been people such as yourselves who have been screaming that this is another Viet Nam, yet you want us to withdrawl immediately and leave the state of Iraq up for grabs. Did you not pay attention when we helped Afghanistan defeat the Soviets and the left them with no real leadership, aid, or direction? Why do you think we have faced our current problems with terrorism in Afghanistan? Because we pulled out and did not finish what we started!! It is the height of irresponsibility to start what we have started in Iraq and then leave because the public doesn't like how things are going or how they are being done or whether they agree with the actions in the first place. If we pull out with ensuring that Iraq can indeed stand on its own, without our help, then we will have created an even larger breeding ground of hatred and terrorism for our future generations to deal with.

    July 22, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  17. Wayne

    We spent 600 Billion dollars and killed 4000 Americans to NOT find Osama Bin Laden to NOT root out Al Qeada/Taliban in Afghanistan and to NOT find WMDs.

    The Iraq war was and is a failure. The objective was to rid Saddam of WMDs. There were no WMds...failure.

    July 22, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  18. Another old white woman for Obama

    Get it right Republicans. Iraq did not attack our country. Iraq did not threaten our country. Iraq did not have WMD's. Bush lied to you. He lied to the congress. He lied to the senate. He is lying now. His twin John McCain is lying to you now. Bald faced liars all.
    Your President attacked another country for absolutely no reason except his EGO! What is more "Arrogant" than that? The Republicans are the terrorists. They are trying to terrorize us now, Just say no to lies and fear. I say YOUR president because he was never
    MY president. I did not vote for him either time.
    Why? Because I knew he was an illiterate moron the first time he opened his lying mouth. Get it right. If you aren't part of the solution you are part of the problem. Vote smart. Vote Obama.Vote America.

    July 22, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  19. Jordan - San Marcos TX

    Here's hoping that the GOP/Bush/McCain/the Republican 45% of the House and Senate keep shoving Iraq at the American people who have already said once they've had enough of this incredibly foolish war. It's going to make for an awesome November.

    Obama '08

    July 22, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  20. Beverly, NYC

    I guess this citizen was not a hand-picked invitee.

    Really, we are not fighting for oil, guess that explains the $4 plus price. Thanks. What are fighting for in Iraq then? Please John, use all your experience and 26 years in the senate to explain to the grieving families of 4100 heroes why they gave their lives. Please explain to the troops why you did not bother to support a recent bill to improve their benefits. You know what my friend, forget it, your actions speak louder than words.

    OBAMA 08!!!!

    July 22, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  21. Atlian

    Wha did we win again? And I thought we won the war 5 years ago. Whay are we still there?

    July 22, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  22. Gary

    Gosh, reading many of these comments I thought I had inadvertently brought up Moveon... apparently there were quite a lot of angry folks at the meeting, and a lot more CNN readers, as represented here, who have time on their hands. To all I recommend that less time be spent crashing town hall meetings and/or contributing obvious stuff to be admired by John McCain's loyal opposition – and instead spend that time reading some history, or historical copies of the congressional record for that matter – it could reveal for them why many, many astute Americans are very comfortable with McCain at this time.

    July 22, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  23. Remy

    Iraq invasion is with LIES and not of any truth!

    If Bush invaded Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, now those areas would be in PEACE.

    Now the Americans fight the same EVIL forces once Saddam fought. Can CNN elaborate the facts instead of telling SENSATIONAL news?

    July 22, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  24. Richard

    Im looking forward to Obama-McCain debate. McCain will get clobbered. He will have no teleprompter either.

    July 22, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  25. Val, Atlanta, Ga

    TEXAS, you have got to be talking about your candidate I am so dam sick of the republicans not seeing him for what he is IGNORANT he can't answer an easy question (The Viagra Question) must less a hard question, he can't even read from a teleprompter after they have written evey thing down for him and they HAND PICK the ones that will ask him question so he won't look like a DEER in headlights like he did when they ask him about the Viagra and Insurance he wasn't even smart enough to talk his way out of that question. He is down right Stupid he's an embarrasment to the Republican Party and if you see things his way you must have something in common with him, VIAGRA. Get you an educated candidate.

    July 22, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
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