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"There have been a number of statements from the prime minister and others about the hope that combat forces can be withdrawn by the end of 2010, but I will also point out the government has made clear in a variety of ways that that is based on an expectation of the continued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. Stan Cann

    Ms. Wilson certainly must have known that Bush Jr. was just plain frightening. Yet that fact did not hinder her blind loyalty to the Bush junta.

    What Ms. Wilson forget to mention was her own involvement in the firing of a New Mexico based federal prosecutor.

    Ms. Wilson – like Bush and John McBush – is irrelevant.

    July 22, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  2. Trish - PA

    Shut up you haggly old kroon or I might have to shove a fork in my eye from the insanity of it all. I have never in my life experiences such a ridiculous display of ignorance, immorality and flat out lies. McCain has nothing to offer the American people exept inaccurate slams and accusations against his oponent. Wow what a joke he has become. How terrifying it is to think that people might actually vote for that crusty old goat. Thank God I am not a republican.

    July 22, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  3. CSD

    The GOP – Whigs for the 21st Century. Talk about frightening – I don't think a party has ever been so vapidly empty of any substance....

    July 22, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  4. Jackster

    What 'experience' did Guliani have, vis-a-vis, terrorist attacks when 9-11 happened? I think the only answer would have to be 'none,' and yet he is held up as a paragon of heroism (not that I agree.)
    As for John McCain...my father was a retired WWII Navy Captain who went through many battles in the Pacific and Atlantic–including Normandy–and he would be the last person to think that those credentials alone would have qualified him for the presidency.

    July 22, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  5. Tyler - OK

    well, SHE is frighteningly wrongly experienced.

    the time for backward "republican" ideals is over. stop suggesting that all of you are "sooo" much more experienced. i don't care if you've been in some form of political office for 20+ years and are approaching 60. the fact of the matter is a new generation is rising up, being led by people such as Obama...and many of the elders still around in politics are past their prime.

    STOP pushing experience and realize things are changing, "times are a'changin" to quote Dylan. the majority of Americans don't want to relate to your twisted "experienced" ideals.

    your time is over. McCain, good luck to you.

    you will not win, you are far too old, and far too disconnected from the majority of Americans, republican, democrat, or independent.

    you lack the fine art of being personable.

    July 22, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  6. patrick

    The Republicans whole entire campaign thus far has been based off nothing but fear!. I havent heard anything about what makes John Mccain supposedly better. He is going down the same channel as he and the Repubs accused Obama of doing early on. All talk, NO substance!

    Not only to mention, Ms Wilson doesnt hold the weight of a feather to Bill Richardson in New Mexico.

    July 22, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  7. Democrats Unify & Vote Big

    McCain's using the old 'Attack, Attack, Attack' strategy today. He's basically got just a few strategies to try to land him in the oval office chair: Fear, Attack, War, Doubt, & Hate. Sounds like 'The Screwtape Letters' part 2".

    Who is Rep Wilson anyway??? Looks like they're digging deep for surrogates.

    July 22, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  8. Peg

    What does she mean by "leadership"? All anyone can do at this stage is talk in broad strokes. Do you really want someone making and acting on policy reflected in 20 second sound bites? These generalities being tossed around are plain stupid and no one–NO ONE–in the media asks: what does that mean"?
    Sorry, but Obama's trip to the Middle East was summed up in that 3-pointer he sunk when on the basketball court with the troops, and the Republicans were astounded by his reception by Iraqi leaders and our own troops, who were clearly thrilled by his presence. Panic time at the RNC!

    July 22, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  9. Matthew, Houston, TX

    First off, who the heck is this woman and why should I listen to her? Second off, was she in those meeting Senator Obama was in? No. So how can she say what the Iraqies said? What a crock of BS from the McCain campaign.

    All I keep hearing from the McCain campaign is criticism of Senator Obama and fear mongering. I went to his website to see if I could find out any specifics on his policy ideas and guess what? Nothing there. All I saw ware outlines of ideas and Senator McCain's philisophical approach without any details as to how McCain as President would accomplish his goals or implement his policies. Nothing even close to the details and specifics that Senator Obama has on his website.

    ". . . the latest effort from the Arizona senator's presidential campaign to step up its criticism of the Democratic presidential candidate while he travels abroad." So much for the 'respectful campaign' Senator McCain promised us.

    July 22, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  10. Nsikan, MD

    The day Obama opted out of campaign financing was his victory day. Can't imagine what would have happened if he didn't. Now, we the people will resist your lies, pandering, peddling etc with all our might. I just donated $50 to Obama. I will donate some more when the next agent of fear comes out -it will be soon. NEXT ...

    July 22, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  11. Bulldog

    What is this lady saying? I've heard and seen two different spokepeople for the Iraq government say they support almost exactly what Obama's plan is. It's on tape. She is blatantly lying and hoping uninformed people will blindly follow.

    July 22, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  12. Kim, Charlotte, NC

    Still trying to scare the American people...............

    so sad................................

    July 22, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  13. Eric P

    Hmmm, to all the naysayers, racist, right wing nuts, religious zealouts on here who continue to paint Obama as inexperienced (code word for he's black!) and a threat to America as we know it. I hope so. Because we sure could use a change from the America we now know!
    Apparently rational people, Republican and Democrat alike seem to know this. Just ask Chuck Hagel, war hero, pragmatic, but a conservative white Senator from Nebraska traveling with the inexperienced Obama through Iraq. Could a revered politician from the right be so wrong...Hmmm I wonder.

    July 22, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  14. J. Richter

    WOW. This diatribe is getting personal. This is begining to seem desperate and pathetic. Why cant the McCain campaign focus on policy and relevant issues?

    Scheuneman mentioning junior high in Indonesia, spring break to what reason? Obama has never referenced McCain's school or any of his personal stuff – not even the crashing of five planes, or visiting strip malls, or breaking virtually every rule wihle in navy school.

    July 22, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  15. Civil Service

    The outcome of most elections are determined by the late deciding independent voters.

    Obama supporters, we don’t need to ARGUE with posters here. Trust me, the anti-Obama views ARE NOT coming from the people the Democrats need to win this election. The Democrats need the people that are largely sitting back QUIETLY reading and reviewing these blogs.

    Use the anti-Obama posts so that you know all the negative attacks that we should dissect on this blog so that the UNDECIDED voter gets honest clarity around those topics and makes the smart choice. We don’t need to twist, manipulate or parse words. We’re backing the more intelligent, more thoughtful candidate that builds high performing teams.

    Succinctly rebut the false claim. Support it with facts and give the reference for the facts so that it can be checked. When quoting McCain or a surrogate, list the name of the publication or TV show, the date it ran, etc. Pick your words carefully to remove ambiguity and to avoid exaggerating, or being bombastic.

    Verbally denigrating an opponent never impresses someone else that you want to join your team.

    Remember this is a public forum and people perpetrate their identities and their motives. Let us be the adults here.

    In the end, we all want to hire the smart guy.

    July 22, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  16. It Be Me

    If we have 'succeeded' in Iraq.....
    And Iraq wants us out.....

    why are we still there??

    July 22, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  17. Diane Panama City Fl

    In response to the distinguished Congresswoman: What is really, really frightening is that Senator McCain has much more experience than Senator Obama, but still manages to get it all wrong – the economy, foreing relations and policy, and the operation of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Keep in mind, McCain wants to bomb, bomb, bomb Iran, wants an American policy built on warmongering by the US on multiple fronts just like when we still had a military draft, limitless international support and the financial ability to run them all. Wake up and smell the coffee, Senator McCain, it is time for a new strategical foreign policy built on current-day realities for the United States. John McCain just doesn't have it or get it.

    July 22, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  18. Dal CA

    It is funny that some write about doing combat in IRAN. Do they realize that some of them will only come back in body bags or may be severely hurt mentally and physically that they will not have a normal life at all.
    People think clearly it is better to have a verbal discussion than using weapons to make your point understood.
    Pen is mightier than sword. Use the pen and get ahead rather the sword or the gun.

    July 22, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  19. David from Ohio

    Heather Wilson lead the charge on important issues like Janet Jackson's "slippage" during the Superbowl, you know, the same issue which led a federal court to throw out the FCC's fine? I certainly hope the voters of New Mexico are smart enough not to send her to the U.S. Senate. Typical GOP strategy–try to distract voters by scaring them–rinse and repeat since 2002.

    July 22, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  20. CCS

    This is amazing that they have found yet another way to blame Obama for something that he didn't do and isn't even bad. The White House is who leaked the info about the agreement and a newspaper in another country said Iraq agreed with Obama.

    Yet somehow, Obama is the problem. Keep on lying and spinning Republicans. To quote the Joker, "this is what happens when an unstoppable force meets and immovable object." The good news is there's only one top spot in this country.

    July 22, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  21. alfie

    The current administration, the Republican Party's presumptive nominee, and old school Washington are just that...old, stale and ineffective.

    If 'inexperience' in the ways of Washington politics, lobbying, pork barrel spending, government waste, etc., etc., brings us a new perspective, a new vision for this country, a fresh approach to Washington politics, then I am all for it.

    Bring it on Obama!

    July 22, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  22. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    We should be afraid of Obama? Get real lady.......we've had Darth Vader running the operation from his secret bunker, while Bozo was out front doing the soft shoe dance trying to fool the public for the last eight years. Obama will be such a drastic improvement, it's not even close! And I mean no disrespect to the real Bozo.......

    July 22, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  23. Marge Hibbing Mn

    Of course the MSM is hyping obama. Why do you think the constantly panned Hillary Clinton for everything that obama did. He is sneaky, underhanded and the presidency is no place to have a LEARNING experience. Look at what happened when bush was there for eight years. obama is an egotistical twit, who really believes the stuff his dumb bunny supporters throw out there.

    July 22, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  24. Rick

    Right on, sister. Obama is a complete nitwit which is exactly why his greatest supporters are Mahmoud Achmadenijad, Kim Jong-il, Hugo Chavez and France. This guy couldn't run the graveyard shift at McDonalds let alone the country.

    July 22, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  25. Pete

    Frighteningly incompetent=Bush/McCain for another 4 years

    July 22, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
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