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. Nina DePonca

    a.) 4200 Dead Americans

    b.) $1 Trillion Spent

    c.) 20,0000 American Soldiers maimed by roadside / other bombs

    d.) No WMDs

    e.) civil unrest introduced to Iraq .... "hundreds-of-thousands" dead

    f.) No connection to the 9-11 attacks

    g.) Gasoline up almost 100% since the war began to $5 per gallon

    Tell me John, Why did we do this again?

    The whole misplanned and mis-executed episode fails the Cost-Benefit analysis I do with my tax dollars ...

    July 22, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  2. mk

    Iraq should be paying us in oil for protection provided by our troops. It's time for the US to stop footing the bill.

    July 22, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  3. PaulC

    Unfortunately, McBush see no problem with "winning" for the next 100 years with no concern as to how many will die, be maimed or how we are going to pay for it. Every dollar being spent on the Iraq war is borrowed with a large portion from the Saudis and China.
    The U.S. is piling up billions in debt every month and it appears that our Representatives in Washington don't have a clue when or how it will ever be paid... Just keep paying the interest and maybe they will forget the principal.

    July 22, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  4. Bukky

    The problem with "victory" is at what cost and to what end? There will be no victory in Iraq as long as we stay there. 40 years from now if we are still there this war will rage on. In the history of the Middle East when have these people ever said... "ok fine... we give up". The crusades lasted hundreds of years... here we are again... taking a war to a people that will NOT stop fighting.

    We lost this war the second we invaded with provocation.

    July 22, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  5. Uncle Sam

    Sounds like the straight talk express hit a tree!!!!

    July 22, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  6. Andy in Charlotte, NC

    US presence in the entire region is what hurts us...going way back to us being in Afghanistan in the 80s and so stubbornly supporting Israel. Doesn't anyone get this concept of "blowback"??? Only Ron Paul mentioned it.

    July 22, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  7. zolesh

    I love Jack Carffety.He is what i call a straight talker not what John McCain keeps blabbing about.

    Troops are dying everyday,the economy is in the gutter,Gas prices are at an all time high and all Gloria Boger,McCain and the conservative block are talking about is for Obama to say he was wrong about the surge.

    Who cares about the surge.The Iraqi's want the troops out and that is what matters .'

    If the surge is so successful then bring the troops home.

    July 22, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  8. Julien_French man from Paris

    Cnn One again with all my gratitude thank you to never put my comment.

    May be this one will go through, who knows?


    July 22, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  9. skunkrat The Marine

    Yesterday McCain said that we had succeeded in Iraq, that we had won.
    Today he is suggesting that we not withdraw until we achieve victory. How many victories must we achieve before we can leave Iraq and what is the definition of victory in Iraq?

    July 22, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  10. Chuck

    Again please define what you mean by victory vs defeat and be specific. Talking about Obama's plan for with drawal is not specific because you keep getting his plan wrong in a very distorted way. So be specific as to your personal definition of victory vs defeat. Again YOUR opinion and please be direct and to the point answering only the question with out any caviots and add ons about Obama. Distinguish your self man, Distinguish your self.

    July 22, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  11. Amy Jacobson

    For that, he is MY PRESIDENT!

    July 22, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  12. al







    July 22, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  13. Rob

    Once again McBush tells bald faced lies to pander to the voters. He told the lady who opposed occupation of Iraq that' we will withdraw'. McBush has repeatedly stated that we will remain in Iraq indefinitly and compares Iraq to Germany and Korea where we keep a permanant (and expensive) military presence. McBush has no plan to ever leave Iraq. In his sick mind, we took it and it is ours. Never mind that Iraqi's will never ever accept our occupation and will engage us in a never ending war. Not because they are terrorists but because 'we are there'!

    July 22, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  14. Ex-Republican for Obama

    You can not win a war that is fought based on lies and deceptions. When my country was bombed, with out valid cause I saw two of my most prized buildings and 3000 citizens murdered. We called the people who did it, terrorists.

    America is bombing Iraq, originally started because we were told they had WMD's. After close to 7 years of fighting no WMD's have been found, yet we are still there. We are there with out just cause, we are our own worst enemy, we are the terrorists now.

    Let's stop our own republican/guirilla backed brand of terrorism: Let us not elect a president who wishes to continue illegal wars.

    Vote Obama '08

    July 22, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  15. Nancy from Indiana

    Has anyone besides myself noticed how often words, thoughts,etc. seem to slip Senator McCain's memory? I really believe that he has a real memory health problem and it is only going to get worse as the days and weeks go by. I am an Obama supporter but I have a lot of respect for Senator McCain and sometimes I feel like even the Republicans are not properly supporting him but just using him!

    July 22, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  16. CMB

    This guy is surrounded by so many "yes" town halls that McCain RARELY gets to hear what the majority of people think about the IRAQ war. He can say "victory" all he wants, but its a sham. It was a blunder from the beginning. The country is in tatters. Its going to take 100 or more years of IRAQIS cleaning up the mess we left behind.

    July 22, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  17. Dennis

    Give me back my son!!! No 100 years in Iraq.


    July 22, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  18. Frank

    We all should know by now that the invasion of Iraq was for the control of that country's oil supply to enrich the oil companies of
    THIS country. No sacrifice by the military would be too great for them.

    July 22, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  19. Nunya

    Kudos to McCain for telling the idiots in the crowd to shut up their disruptive shouts.

    The real question isn't whether we withdraw in victory or in defeate – it's how we will claim to be withdrawing in victory despite withdrawing in defeat. The real defeat is completely separate from whether the military achieves a military victory or not – it is political. There is nothing we can do at this point to counterbalance all the damage this war has done to our reputation and standing throughout the world.

    July 22, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  20. Abe Froman

    Do any of you have jobs?

    Don't forget there were plenty of Democrats and Republicans who said "Mission Accomplished". So give me a break when you call Senator McCain – McSame.

    Senator McCain is right, if we were to leave to early from Iraq, the radicals would declare it a victory. Don't believe me, read "The Cell" by John Miller. See what the book has to say. We have been at war since the late 80s. We never knew it.

    July 22, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  21. Who Cares?

    I am neither for McCain or the Iraq war. What I will say though is that at least McCain faces the voters unlike Obacktrack who would rather read a teleprompter than get face-to-face with voters.

    July 22, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  22. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    McCain does not understand a basic fact...you can't "win" an occupation following an unwarranted attack against a people. If China attacked the US to control OUR resources and install 58 permanent bases, killed millions of us and our loved ones, made millions more of us refugees within the US plus Canada and Mexico, destroyed our infrastructure then imposed a puppet government based on THEIR way of governing, would WE greet them with flowers and candy? Hell no! I bet nearly every one of us would become an "insurgent" determined to get America back. This happened to France and America in Vietnam, and, since Bush and Cheney avoided serving honorably there, they never learned that lesson. And McCain, IF he ever understood that, has clearly forgotten it. Shame on all three of them.

    July 22, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  23. hal

    I was at the town hall meeting and the media is so twisted. There was one woman who patted herself on the back and made a comment about his staff and one woman who said something negative about McCain's stance on Iraq. The other 99.9% people were very supportive and complimentary on his stance with Iraq and other issues. I am upset with the media coverage with McCain. There was a 3 minute stint about Obama and his "trip" and a 30 second snippet of McCain's town hall meeting and they showed the woman who had the "negative" comments. SHAME ON YOU !!!!!

    July 22, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  24. R

    Heather Wilson's comments are only to cast doubt, and of course, the normal republican fear machine. "He is not sophisticated enough, i don't think?" Why? He's way more sophisticated than this rich kid and his rich family could be in his 100yr old life. "frighteningly inexperience?" way to go with the fear tactics, is "frighteningly" even a real word? Its hilarious how they have to use subliminal words to induce fear into WE the people's minds. Keep it up, no one's voting for you come your re-election bid. All these people are so scared out of their minds now, that they have to show their true colors, but to do it so blatantly is so amazing! CNN isn't covering this enough, nor are they covering the fact that the "SURGE" is working because Muqtada Al Sadr called a cease fire, that we the american people paid for. And are out paying terrorists not to shoot us! Its all propaganda, and I'm glad that Obama is not using our troops and loved ones as a prop tool for his photo ops. How come no one cheers to see Bush, or Mccain? Because these soldiers know that B.O. is the only one that will let them see their families again, and hopefully make it home alive, and be provided psychotherapy for all the PTSD that they'll have. How come CNN doesn't talk about the over 25,000 vets of this war have committed suicide? Or murder after returning home? Step it up CNN.

    July 22, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  25. Dennis

    From Susie...

    It's a shame Obama sends people to McCain's events to disrespect him. McCain never does that to Obama.
    What is wrong with some of you people? This is what scares me about this election. Talk about low tier voters! Okay, let's entertain this for a minute...

    For Obama to pull this off:

    He would have to select people to go.

    They would have to be given admission (remember what happened to the librarian)

    McCain would have to be lucky enough to call on them.

    Translation: Either McCain cannot find enough of his own supporters to go to his townhall and this makes room for Obama people, or

    People have wised up to his sorry act and now are calling him on it. Either way, he is screwed. Susie, in the future please make a lucid statement.

    July 22, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
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