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

Rep. Wilson calls Obama 'frighteningly inexperienced'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/22/art.wilson.ap.jpg caption="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"There have been a number of statements from the prime minister and others about the hope that combat forces can be withdrawn by the end of 2010, but I will also point out the government has made clear in a variety of ways that that is based on an expectation of the continued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. jason, tx

    she's laughable. Obama '08!

    July 22, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  2. Jon S.

    Yeah. And I suppose Wilson thinks Bush was qualified to be elected twice, with all his worldly experience, which was, what, going to Europe once? This is a tired, unfounded argument.

    I call Wilson's comments frighteningly Rove-like. Nice try, but it's still Obama in a landslide.

    July 22, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  3. Jim

    I'll take his inexperience over another eight years of horrible foreign policy and running the economy into the ground. McCain's stay the course mentality is good for no one, except his elite filthy rich republican brethren.

    July 22, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  4. JM

    Frighteningly inexperienced? That sounds about right...when describing Bubba Bush. Who would have imagined that BB would have run our nation into the ground in 8 short years?

    I call someone who graduated from Harvard Law and spent years working on the streets for and with real Americans a thinking American who can get the job done.

    July 22, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  5. Samuel

    Let face it people, Obama is a better choice for the US president than McCain. I am an independent voter and might consider voting for Mick Romney if he was the rep. candidate, because he will get things done. At this particular moment chosing McCain over Obama will be the greatest mistske the country has ever made. Obama is clever, articulate, focused and will get good things done for all of us but McCain don't have all these qualities. McCain is just NOT the man, period and I am so frighten that he might just win and waste out time for another four years. What a watse people , come on.

    July 22, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  6. Ian

    McCain is awesome of foreign policy. He knows the real issues that we face, especially on the Iraq/Pakistan border...which is next to Czechoslovakia. Hahahaha.

    Alzheimer's '08

    July 22, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  7. Angela

    CNN – Your McCain bias is ridiculous. How is this a story? Some republican smears Obama and plays the fear card and it shows up on the ticker. You know how many democratic politicians slam McCain on a daily basis for his ineptitude, flip-flopping and distusting misogyny. Yet, those stories never make it onto your site....

    July 22, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  8. Heil Obama!

    Fool me once.....

    July 22, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  9. Stephen

    Gee!....what a surprise! The Republicans playing the "Fear" card again!

    I guess when your candidate has nothing to offer, negative is the way to go.

    July 22, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  10. Tony Texas

    Can't wait for all the HRC voters to spring over to McCain. CNN is riding a losing donkey that don't know which way to go!!!

    July 22, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  11. Seattle Sue

    What has been frightening the last 7 1/2 years, has been Bush and the GOP. I have never seen our country in such sad shape thanks to people like Heather Wilson and many other Republicians. Vote Democrat all the way.

    July 22, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  12. Macushla

    And we should listen to Wilson...why?

    July 22, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  13. BeakKnocker

    Heather Wilson who?

    July 22, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  14. S.M

    What is so frightening is when that idiot in the White House was elected twice as president and he had no experience whatsoever in politics, but yet the Republicans flocked to the polls just to vote for Stupid Bush. Why he didn't know the names of half of the leaders in the other countries when he was running the first time, but yet people voted for him. McCain is just another carbon copy of Bush who can barely remember what he says. At least Obama was smart enough to realize that the invasion of Iraq would be a huge mistake that would cost people their lives. Any president who invades a country based on "false pretense" is the person we need to be afaid of and not Obama.

    July 22, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  15. Felix

    a southern bell for OBAMA wrote:


    Don't forget adulterer!

    July 22, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  16. John McShame, Obama Is Going to Tax You & Cindy, but Not Me & 95% Americans Making < $250,000/Yr

    what is john McSame saying; that the "surge" is now working so we should stay in Iraq indefinitely............Puh-lease, these republican bigots like to spouts ignorance and lack serious judgement on the way forward in Iraq....

    McSame attack but dont provide an alternative solutions...the NY Times is dead on; REJECT THE SMEAR = FEAR CAMPAIGN OF THE REPUBLICAN DEUCEBAGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 22, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  17. Steve

    I am SO happy to hear Republicans calling Obama frightening. It's about time they get off their butts and do something for the American people. Maybe a little scare thrown into them will get them working on something, anything. For Republicans to spout off about lack of experience l find pretty funny. We've had almost 8 years of "experience". I'm not seeing how that has helped us very much.

    A president does not run the country by his or herself. A good president hires good people, puts them in key positions, and lets them use their experience to do good work. Obama did just that during his campaign, and the mistakes that the Clinton campaign made aside, he beat the Clinton election machine, and broke the Clinton's death grip on the Democratic Party. To me, this demonstrates that Obama is a careful planner, an excellent strategist, and knows how to get good people to work. This is presidential material.

    The Republicans and everyone else should remember that Clinton was about Obama's age when he first ran for president. So was Kennedy. Both candidates were considered pretty inexperienced at the time they ran (Kennedy was a junior Senator, and Clinton had been Governor of Arkansas). When taking the measure of a presidential candidate, it's important to keep in mind that what a person can DO for the country is at least as important as what a person has DONE. McCain has done little, and has little promise for the future. Obama has done a great deal on the local level, and his clear, concise, thoughtful way of working will be a breath of fresh air in the stench currently filling the Oval Office.

    July 22, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  18. zolesh

    Call Obama what ever you want.What is clear is the the McCain campaign is struggling for attention.They hard their time after winning the nomination and blew the opportunity.

    The problem with the McCain camp has been one of lack of a clear message to articulate be it on the Economy,the War in Iraq and Afghanistan,Energy ,health Care,Women Issues and practically on any issue that is central to the needs of Americans this season.

    He shot himself in the foot by conceding that he does not know a lot about the economy.In fact the campaigns mindset was inadvertently revealed last week when his chief economic adviser called Americans WHINNERS for complaining about the current economic hardships they have had to deal with because of the mismanagement of the economy by the very administration Mr. McCain has is a part of.

    Mr McCain and his team are the only one who believe that this economy has progressed over the past 8 years and he does not see anything wrong with continuing to spend 2 billion a week for the next 100 years.
    This is money that can be used to strengthen this ailing economy.

    Americans are just tired of this baseless political attacks are ready for change.

    Obama's consistent message of change is catching up and we are ready for a new direction.
    The Iraqi's are now saying its time for Americans to start planning to leave but Mr McCain still won't talk about pulling out.

    July 22, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  19. AK

    Mighty big words for someone who just lost her own primary election...

    July 22, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  20. MattH

    "A leading surrogate for John McCain called Barack Obama 'frighteningly inexperienced'"
    Way to poison the well, CNN.
    Now in regards to Obama, the only thing that scares me more than his inexperience is his near fanatical supporters.

    July 22, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  21. RB TX

    Wright on the Button, Great job Rep. Wilson.

    Obama has always been quick to point out faults about everyone of his opponents, but when the shoe is on the other foot he goes with whatever is going to help his campaign. THATS NOT A LEADER.

    Bottomline Obama voted against the troop surge in Iraq and said it would not work. DEAD WRONG AGAIN OBAMA

    Its working

    McCain 08

    July 22, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  22. Phil, FL

    Basic Search:

    ………In 2003, Wilson voted against allowing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate lower drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. …………


    SENIORS – Like the cost of your drugs? If so, listen to her.

    July 22, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  23. Mike S.

    How dare you call a female elected member of our US Congress a "surrogate to John McCain. " The real "surrogate" in this election has been CNN ! Its overly favorable coverage toward Obama has been journalistically outrageous and recklessly biased.

    July 22, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  24. CM

    After reading this, all I can say is: "SO?"

    After the reading the headline, I thought someone was going to be comparing him to Frankenstein or something. "Frighteningly inexperienced?" Ummmm......is this really a story?

    Hypersensitive much?

    July 22, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  25. sonny c.

    Isn't she the Congresswoman who was brought to tears when describing how horrific it was to watch Janet Jackson's right breast being exposed on National Television during the Super Bowl half time show ? She seems prone to histrionics.

    July 22, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
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