July 22nd, 2008
02:55 PM ET
13 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"There have been a number of statements from the prime minister and others about the hope that combat forces can be withdrawn by the end of 2010, but I will also point out the government has made clear in a variety of ways that that is based on an expectation of the continued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. GERRY


    July 22, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  2. Voter

    and McCain's GWBush experience of diplomacy is a good one?

    Experience doing something doesn't mean you have good judgement at it.

    McCain has 25 yrs of bad experience/old philosophies that aren't working. Time to try something new... it's the 21st century after all...

    July 22, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  3. Felix

    McCain's camp is talking the same garbage that Bush, Cheney, & Rove spouted in 2000 and 2004. If you say it enough, the uninformed public will believe it.

    Obama never said that he would unconditionally pull troops out of Iraq on a certain date. He has ALWAYS said that conditions on the ground would dictate our troop withdrawals. What he did say was that if the current successes continue, then yes, withdrawal within 16 months is feasible.

    July 22, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  4. Anita

    Heather Wilson (R-NM) has no credibility or integrity. She is just one of the Republicans who turned on their own, whined about the pace of the prosecution of a corruption case involving a Democrat, and was instrumental in getting well-respected United States Attorney David Iglesias fired.

    July 22, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  5. Michael, Boston,Ma.

    Yeah, frightening how much better than the leadership we've had for the last 8 years. Maybe she should go to Iraq/Pakistan border where is that again Oh Yeah in John McCain's head. So much for Foreign Policy experience.

    July 22, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  6. Shane

    Look at all the extremely experienced and aged members of our congress; then look at the state of our union. Experience apparently can't make life better for Americans. McCain's been trying for president since I was in high school 20 years ago. He doesn't have a chance. An Obama victory will send a loud and clear message to the Civic generation and the Baby Boomers: Your time is over, and you failed miserably.

    July 22, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  7. LES

    At your work would you rather have a boss who knows the business or one that does not. Think of his door being closed to your ideas.

    July 22, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  8. Mark Edge

    Sounds like the Repubs are up to the same old FEAR tactics that they have been using for years. SHAME ON YOU!!!!!

    July 22, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  9. Kathy

    Obama supporters are so SPITEFUL – with their shoot the messenger mentality anytime someone has anything NEGATIVE to say about saint Obama.

    Calling Rep. Wilson a "saggy-baggy soccer mon" and saying she looks like a man (needs to trim her side-burns)? How immature!!

    Obama supporters are a pathetic bunch.

    July 22, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  10. Ricky P.

    Good thing america smartened up since Bush and MOST of americans will not fall for these scare tactics and say anything to get elected....I'm still waiting for a Mccain attack that is true...They are lying right through their teeth while they smile to all of White america and act as if they are telling the truth...it is ridiculous.

    Examples of lies 1. "Obama supports an unconditional withdrawal from Iraq" Not true at all...watch any of the 22 debates from the dem primary and you will quickly realize this.
    2. "Obama is to blame for high oil prices" that claim made by the mcsame camp is actually HILARIOUS!!

    OBAMA 08!!!

    July 22, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  11. Obama all the way

    Politics of fear again? What a joke...

    July 22, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  12. McCain's cousin

    Hey, McCain, why don't you send Heather to do some diplomacy on the Iraq-Afghanistan border? She'd be perfect for that. (P.S. In case you didn't know, your state, Arizona, actually does have a border with Heather's state, New Mexico. Just thought I would help you get that straight.).

    July 22, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  13. Robert Bauer, Sonoma County, CA

    Representative Heather Who????? From New Where????? Oh yes, New Mexico, with its grand total of 5 electoral votes! But again, I ask, Heather Who????? I think maybe nobody's interested and nobody cares what this sandal-clad minion of John McCain thinks.

    July 22, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  14. RyanD.

    Michael Jackson has "experience" with kids, but I ain't letting him babysit.

    Obama 08'

    July 22, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  15. Xavier

    If the Maverick John McCain of yesterday could meet face to face with the sell out McCain of today, he would be ashamed of what he has become.

    July 22, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  16. Obama4change

    When is the McClone Campaign, his surrogates and the MSM going to stop bashing Senator Obama. Where are the ideas McClone has for the country? Please I like to hear them. All I hear every day is his criticism of Senator Obama. It is getting nauseating! !! They should be happy that the Americans are being received so warmly overseas, but instead they are spewing hate each time they speak or write about this trip.

    July 22, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  17. not an obamabot, thank GOD

    sometimes inexperience is a good thing, I mean I hear all the time how W was inexperienced and we see how good that turned out right? But lets try it again because we need CHANGE(sarcasm).

    July 22, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  18. Southern view

    If Al Maliki wants us out by 2010, he needs to make more progress on national reconciliation and engagement of different ethnic groups into the structure and fabric of a unified Iraq. If he does not do that, he will be the first casualty of our departure. His government will not survive. That is something that Obama has to consider carefully before he takes his cues from Maliki (or vice versa).

    July 22, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  19. William

    What could be scarier than what we've got now.... other than the continuation of now by electing John McCain.

    Scare tactics worked in 2004, but truly America has learned its lesson.

    July 22, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  20. Natalie

    Poor thing. She's "unsophisticated" in her approach to rationalizing that someone out of her comfort zone would make decisions for the U.S. Obama has not respoded to the German's newspaper quotes, only U.S. media. She has taken the situation out of context.

    July 22, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  21. Lorraine

    She needs to climb back in the hole she came out of. I guess she is speaking for herself.

    July 22, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  22. R

    Not sophisticated? Weren't they just slamming him for being an upper-scociety eliteist? Pick a side McCain. Stop flip-flopping

    July 22, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  23. anks

    Well I guess it getting confusing Rep. need to attack Obama for all his deeds instead of doing some thing innovative, he is increasing the playing field for sure and has fore sight, like this trip. I have yet to see any new trick from Rep Hat, apart from fear tricks and attack.

    For now at least Obama sure seems to be smarter guy, slowly cutting McCain arguments, like this trip will blunt First Hand foreign exp to large extent, and also he will proof he has created enthusiasm even in Middle East and Europe, and this will help America to negotiate their way as leaders.

    Get your thinking Caps on Republican's time is running out

    July 22, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  24. ROC

    what does experience have to do with making the correct choice for American people? If the experience we've seen for the past 8 years is any indication of what experience is all about then I'm running in 2012. We've seen what experience has done increased gas prices a slumping dollar, trillions more on the nations deficit and our international influence squandered. Not to mention oil companies robbing the country and the citizens in order to increase profits and lies upon lies upon lies from this administration. Where do I begin???? Oh My vote is 4 change!

    July 22, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  25. rexx

    Obama has NO experience. None. Well unless you count Chicago machine style stolen elections then he has experience at that. Thankfully he has no chance this Nov.

    July 22, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
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