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. chas alabama


    July 22, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  2. judy, Wisconsin

    I heard this lady–she hit every nail on the head but most in the audience were the Republican dittoheads chearing for war-ugh!!!

    July 22, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  3. Cynthia - Arkansas

    He does terrible at every town hall meeting he goes to. He can't even answer a questions without getting off on something else. It is really getting sad. He has had people stand up and questions his failed policies at just about every event. The news only shows them for a few minutes, if at all. The war, NAFTA, Veteran's benefits, Jobs...

    July 22, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  4. Emma, San Jose, CA

    Do a reality check, McCain and Hillary supporters for McCain. It looks like John McCain's campaign is on the rocks. "Obvious", your comments are straight talk!

    July 22, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  5. An American

    But Senator McCain, how do YOU define victory in Iraq?

    July 22, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  6. linda from South Dakota

    well,,, now hes chged his story again,,,,,(we will withdrawl),, ummm hes like bush,, wants to win at any expense,, well mr mccain,, listen to what people tell you,, BRING OUR TROOPS HOME WIN OR DEFEAT!!!! its time and long over due,,, quit bouncin and if possible remember the issues,,,, also your meds,, mccain,,,(dahhhh i cant remember),,, go obama!!!!!

    July 22, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  7. CT voter

    He acts like it's a video game where you either win or loose, as if the worlds problems are so black and white...man he needs to retire...

    July 22, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  8. JC

    McCain replied, adding "if we had been defeated in Iraq, the radical elements in the Muslim world would have been dramatically encouraged."
    We withdrew from Vietnam in defeat, the Vietcongs never came after us in the USA.
    The trick, Sir McCain, is not start any kind of war...at all!

    July 22, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  9. Rave

    McPain needs a dose of shock treatment for his mental illness
    OBAMA (2008 -16)

    July 22, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  10. American

    Pathetic....McBush just doesn't get it.

    The American people want out of this false war and fight the real war on terror in Afghanistan...What an idiot.

    July 22, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  11. Susan, Indiana

    Following the McCain headlines online over these past few days, I've not only lost what little respect I had for John McCain, but am also confident that he is slowly digging himself into an ever larger hole.

    This is a good thing in my book, because the last thing the world needs in another glib and war-obsessed joker occupying the White House.

    I trust that Americans are ready for change and are able to see McCain for what he is.

    Now, if someone could just keep Bush from causing more chaos before leaving office...

    July 22, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  12. Mrs.L

    To Susie what world do you live in?

    These are real people and they are not sent by anybody especially Obama.

    Take your head out of the GOP sandbox and wake up lady.

    Find something better to do with your time besides spreading lies and hate.

    Face reality. The republicans time is up. You can go to the back of the line or else get in line and walk side by side with the winners.

    July 22, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  13. Puck

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

    "If we had been defeated," he says. Doesn't that statement right there mean that we were victorious? Well then, according to McCain's own words, its time to get our boys & girls out of there, hypocrite.

    July 22, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  14. shadowgovernment

    Good to see that a concerned citizen has the cojones to ask the tough questions.

    July 22, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  15. Tejano

    Thank you soon to be President John McCain. Remind these protestors and in my opinion traitors to our country that they have freedom only because of people like you and me that are willing to die for the ideals we hold dear... Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. As Nathan Hale said. "Give me Liberty or give me Death"
    Also the great Mexican General, Emiliano Zapata..."It is better to die on
    one's feet than to go through life on one's knees."

    My Country (USA) will not surrender to the Islamic Jihadists.

    McCain 08,,, Obama never.

    July 22, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  16. Lesley

    With all the Obama hype and popularity getting under McCain's skin and Obama refusing to embrace McCain's views, I believe that McCain will lose it in public debates with Obama. He almost did at the Reagan Library debating his fellow nominees during the primaries. He was asked about his ability to lead on the economy and he gave an answer tying it to his war experience. It was bizarre and totally unrelated to the question. Romney, ever the gentleman, just smiled and didn't reply.

    July 22, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  17. Julien_French man from Paris

    Mc cain you cant win in Iraq, if you want to win over there on your own a lot of your soldiers will continue to be killed, also you will need the help of your allies and even so.

    Ok you can secure a zone but the war that the US are facing is a difficult war to win. the reason is that the terrorist will fight mainly against you like they do against Israel. By using attentats against the civil and the soldiers.
    A undred years won't change anything, look israel since hom many years are they trying to solve their problems with the Palestinians... until when One day BOOM an other attentat in Jerusalem.

    Check on wikipedia and you will see how many civil have been killed in Iraq by attentats since the beginning of this ridiculous war . It's true that Saddam was a dictator but now day by day people are living within insecurity and fear.
    Let say that before the war everything was fine. (if not)
    Also when the US army will leave Iraq may be things will become difficult in Iraq like now in Afghanistan. So now how is going to look after the Iraqis people?
    Talking with your enemies is always better than : Yeah we have to destroyed Iran because they don't listen to us. joker.

    Did you forget all the muslim countries in the world?
    You can't just come and say ok let's have a war because it could happen that a stupid war be a the third world war.

    Iran is not Iraq, Saddam was not seen as a good man in his own nation but the president of Iran is seen differently in is community.

    Encore merci (Once again merci)


    July 22, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  18. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    Senator McCain "...oil...not what Americans are fighting for."

    I absolutely remember him saying sometime this past Spring saying "We will not ever have to fight for oil again." McCain actually said that, are something REALLY close to that.

    And as far as withdraw, it was McCain on the NBC TodayShow with Matt Lauer when McCain said "...it's not too important" as it relates to when the troops would come home.

    Which ties in to victory. OR what the definition is.
    We don't know YET, what McCain's definition is.
    So, I'm apt to believe that McCain is still playing games in his own head with respect to Iraq.
    By the eway, has anyone on his campaign yet told him that Czechoslavakia is no longer a country? Geesh, talking about foreighn policy INexperience.

    July 22, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  19. Tejano

    Kim Dallas,,, From a fellow Texan....Because We do not want any foreign Government to control the United States of America... We are not Europeans or Asians We are Amerians. that Fled those continents to seek a better life for our Children and Grandchildren.
    Americans are not stupid, they will elect a leader that is 100% of the United States and loved this country from Day One., One who is and was willing to Die for his beliefs and not the one that stayed home and
    prepared to be President., but launched his campaign before he was prepared. That is why Foreignors want Obama, we in the United States will reject him and his followers.

    July 22, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  20. colene

    we went to iraq on lies that the bush administration wanted us to believe and now they want us to stay because someone has to keep an eye on the oil leases.

    July 22, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  21. Franky

    There you go Senator!! Doesn't it feel good to have this country by yourself??? You really learn a lot...LOL!!

    July 22, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  22. Clinton Supporter

    While selecting stories that make McCain look bad, you guys are missing the fun experience of watching Obama morph first into Hillary Clinton, then to her right (see the FISA vote) and on to look as much as possible as the guy you love to hate: McCain!!

    Pretty hard to tell the difference between Obama and McCain on the war business – I expect by the end of the week it will be totally impossible.

    (giggling while I write this....)

    July 22, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  23. Obama Supporter from Texas

    I like the question so many others want to know, what constitute victory? Many lifes were lost. How many more will be enough to say we have "victory"...

    July 22, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  24. Zac, Atlanta

    The US has ALREADY achieved victory. It's done. Kaput. Lets start scaling down our troop commitment now.

    July 22, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  25. What if?

    so much for mcsame being in his confront zone while he speaks at Town Hall meetingsā€¦..

    Obama 08

    July 22, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
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