July 22nd, 2008
02:55 PM ET
12 years ago

Rep. Wilson calls Obama 'frighteningly inexperienced'

Rep. Heather Wilson, a surrogate for John McCain, called Obama 'frighteningly inexperienced.'

Rep. Heather Wilson, a surrogate for John McCain, called Obama 'frighteningly inexperienced.'

(CNN) - A leading surrogate for John McCain called Barack Obama "frighteningly inexperienced" Tuesday, the latest effort from the Arizona senator's presidential campaign to step up its criticism of the Democratic presidential candidate while he travels abroad.

Speaking on a conference call with reporters, Rep. Heather Wilson, R-New Mexico, sharply criticized Obama and his presidential campaign for suggesting the Iraqi government had endorsed his timetable for withdrawal from the war-torn country.

"He's not listening to the whole of what the Iraqi government was saying - he's hearing what he wanted to hear and what he thought would help him politically, which get backs to Senator Obama as a candidate for the presidency," Wilson said. "He has his finger in the wind, trying to figure out which way the wind is blowing, and he is not leading.

"He is no way sophisticated enough, I don't think - I mean he is frighteningly inexperienced when it comes to international affairs and national security policy," she added. "And he heard what he wanted to hear from the Iraqi government, without any context around it, and took that simple message and decided it helped him politically. That's the antitheses of what we should expect from a president of the United States."

Listen: Wilson slams Obama on conference call (15:15)

Wilson's comments come after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was quoted in German newspaper appearing to suggest he supported Obama's 16-month timetable for withdrawal from the country. Top Obama foreign policy adviser Susan Rice said the campaign welcomed the comments, though Maliki's office letter dialed back from them.

Speaking on the same conference call as Wilson, McCain foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann said the Iraqi government has made clear any timetable should be tied to conditions on the ground.

"There have been a number of statements from the prime minister and others about the hope that combat forces can be withdrawn by the end of 2010, but I will also point out the government has made clear in a variety of ways that that is based on an expectation of the continued improvement of the security situation and the continuing improvement in the capability of Iraqi security forces to provide for their own security,"

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (451 Responses)
  1. Brian

    AH YES, THE OLD "FEAR" TACTIC... well played McSame! Well played... George W. Bush and Karl Rove would be proud.

    The only thing I'm frightened of is another 4 years of Republican subjugation.

    July 22, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  2. sf

    The ONLY thing the McCain campaign is doing is criticizing Obama. Why don't they focus on their platform and what they will do? McCain has lost one of his key stumping points with Obama's trip and that is the fact that he can no longer have the "countdown" of how many days since Obama has been to Iraq. Also, the fact that Obama is being received so well is very scary to McCain.

    July 22, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  3. Tony

    How can Wilson be considered a "leading surrogate" for anyone, especially considering that she failed in her bid for the Republican Senate nomination...

    July 22, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  4. Freddy

    Well said. I loved the article. Truth and Forthright is what I hear. Iraq has been working on a withdrawl with Bush for months and now Obama is going to claim it was him? Not likely. Next thing you know he'll be telling us that he is the one that solved world hunger. I don't think so.

    July 22, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  5. S. Fullmer

    Uh, no. I think Rep. Wilson is hearing what she wants to hear, and nothing else. Typical Rethugnican.

    July 22, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  6. Shon

    Who is this airhead anyway? Speaking of hearing what you wanna hear...I wonder did she hear her candidate confuse the Pakistan/Afghanistan border with Iraq/Pakistan? Or did she hear her candidate going on and on last week about a country that doesn't even exist anymore? Yeah, I'm sure she conveniently missed that...they need to be for real.

    July 22, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  7. Rick FL

    Is Rep. Wilson listening? The Iraqi government happens to agree more with Obama's plan. I agree with them.

    Did Republican Wilson actually say "sophisticated enough?" Sorry, but wouldn't that be considered elitist & arrogant?

    July 22, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  8. Ricky P.

    republicans are ridiculous...look at this last message..permanent base in Iraq so we can do combat in iran...is he serious? and then the republicans who are mad we aren't drilling in th gulf...Someone tell these people to do some research and they would realize that drilling off shore now will not help us for 10 years!!! MY GOODNESS HOW MANY TIMES DO THE DEMS HAVE TO SAY THIS??!?!?! Are all the republicans non high school grades who can't think for themselves and believe WHATEVER the mcsame camp will say? I can't stand it...if the country is under republican control for 4 more years...then it will be the beginning of the end for AMERICA!!!

    OBAMA 08!!!

    July 22, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  9. rak

    "It's funny how people are sending millions of dollars to him and they have no idea who he really is."

    – I am sending him the money. Don't worry, I can afford it.

    I read his books; studied his life, researched his positions, listened to his speeches, and decided I could trust him better than the folks who have power in our government right now.

    Does your opinion come from McCain's ad's? Cause they're certainly a great source of background on the issues.

    July 22, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  10. Jason

    FEAR TACTIC.. All these tactics by the McCain campaign are scary.. This is what Bush has done for the last 7 years. Fear Fear Fear... Another GOP = Goofy Old Person/Party speaking on behalf of another GOP Goofy Old Person. Where is the color in your party GOP?

    Attack Attack and Attack.. If you have nothing nice to say, well the GOP way is say it anyways, no matter how tall the lies are.

    Where in the US Constitution does it state anyone must have experience other than being 35 years of age or older and have been born in The United States to be President????? Would someone in the GOP show me that?

    McCain is too old and senile to be president. I would take inexperience over senility any day. At least Obama would push a button and then ask what it is after the nukes have already started flying. Lets wake up America. McCain will start WW3 under his presidency!!!

    July 22, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  11. suzyku

    oh please, just another bitter, uninformed right wing republican! no wonder they keep losing, they're clueless, nasty and losers!

    July 22, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  12. Irishspacemonk

    Is this the same woman than claimed McCain would withdraw troops sooner than 16 months? Talk about holding a finger to the wind. Sounds like Rep. Wilson needs to hold a finger to something else...and keep quiet.

    July 22, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  13. Chris - Columbus, Ohio

    Yep, inexperienced and I'm willing to bet he'll STILL do a better job.

    July 22, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  14. NY

    This is great. The only way the McCain camp can get some attention is by using the Clinton "kitchen sink" strategy. Mistruths, blatant lies, distortions, even hypocrisy; whatever it takes to distract from the fact that McCain has NO REAL PLAN for Iraq except the status quo. It all reeks of desperation in a campaign that is running out of cards to play.

    July 22, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  15. Peter (CA)

    Fear is the Republicans only weapon.
    It has worked so well in the past. It is time to take the country back from these hypocrites and fearmongers.

    July 22, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  16. Patricia

    What is really frightening is having a Republican in the White House again. January 2009, the end of an ERROR!!!!

    July 22, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  17. Ramon, Santa Clara, CA

    The GOP is grasping at straws now. It would be funny, except for the damage they have wrought on our country already. Thank God America is about to turn the page on the dispicable Republican rule of the last eight years.

    July 22, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  18. Just to say


    July 22, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  19. adm

    Dont' be swayed by the Repbulicans strategy: Attack Obama daily and intstill fear into the American people as much as possible.

    July 22, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  20. G the Vet

    Wow, she really is out of touch. Who is she anyway? The gop fearmongering machine at work.

    July 22, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  21. Peggy - TX

    McCain has the microphone, but he has nothing to say. CNN is committed to giving McCain the kind of attention Obama is getting and all he can do is repeat the same old boring rants in a weak attempt to appeal to the fear and anxieties of the American people.

    July 22, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  22. Barak for PreZ of USA

    Yawn!!!!! STop whining!!!! Rethugs!!! They don't have any plans of their own. Can't attack Barak's policies, or jugement and can't provide the American people with any ideas or plans....Sounds like desperation to me....CNN keep covering Barak's trip....the McCain camp is literally putting us to sleep...

    July 22, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  23. REG in AZ

    There is nothing more 'frightening' than continuing with 'more of the same'!

    July 22, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  24. Frank O.

    If Obama's inexperience is frightening why is he getting a red carpet welcome from leaders around the world (Afghan, Iraq, Jordan, soon in Israel and Europe). i mean come on my felllow Americans, King Abdullah cut his Colorado trip short to be at his palace to recevie our furture president (Mr. President Obama).

    And by the way, i thought that Iraq is no longer a war torn country, i thought it is stable now after the so called surge has worked. which one is it Ms. Wison? is Iraq stable or is it war torn?

    July 22, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  25. Jane, MD

    Frightening? Frightening is their desperation, jealousy, and hatred of Sen Obama.

    For the first time in 8 years, i did not cringe when an American leader took world center stage. Unlike McCain/Lieberman, no one had to correct anything Sen Obama said.

    The Republicans are really desperate!

    July 22, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
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