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"There have been a number of statements from the prime minister and others about the hope that combat forces can be withdrawn by the end of 2010, but I will also point out the government has made clear in a variety of ways that that is based on an expectation of the continued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

    She is right on target. Someone with this little experience should not be running for President. He has already changed his position on almost every issue he spoke so strongly about during the primaries. In the future, I hope we have new laws requiring those running for President to have a certain level of experience. He should have waited but was too power hungry and he will lose in November!

    July 22, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  2. Larry WI

    This guy is even piecing/editing together his own over seas press confrences and scripts only what he wants to be projected, As time goes on we will see and hear more and more of his underhandedness. He's no differant thatn the Clintons.

    July 22, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  3. Peggy Robson

    I watched Obama on Nightline last night, his interview about his trip to Iraq and everything he was questioned about he backed out of what he had previously stated and put a different spin on it to explain away the difference in his statements. He is just another politician (inexperienced at that) saying whatever he thinks will put him ahead. And the media never picks up on his flip flopping...because they have crowned him president and that's the end of that...people better be careful what they wish for...might blow up in their faces. No Obama as far as I am concerned.

    July 22, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  4. V-Real

    Wow, I do see that old folks in politics do stick together. I don't even believe Rep. Wilson has a solution for this war. OBAMA 08!

    July 22, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  5. JA Cook

    Obama has caused gas prices to go up and created global warming.

    Let's stick with the party that knows how to attack and invade.

    Stay the Course!

    McCain 08

    July 22, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  6. Mike

    So inexperienced that the WH is taking every cue from him over the last month.

    July 22, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  7. Obama_for_the world


    The McCain campaign has come up with an intriguing new way to sell his opposition to a timetable for withdrawal: McCain just might withdraw from Iraq sooner than Obama's 16 month deadline!

    "He'd like troops to come home earlier than 16 months if the conditions allow it," said Congresswoman Heather Wilson of New Mexico, on a conference call with reporters just now. "Senator Obama has said it's a 16-month timeline no matter what."

    Wilson walked this line back a bit later on, reminding people that any such withdrawal would have to be based on conditions on the ground, and might take longer: "Whether that happens in 12 months, or 16 months, or 24 months, the important thing is that our troops come home with victory

    July 22, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  8. 1911

    "He is no way sophisticated enough" Are you serious? This is definitely a debate that Obama welcomes anytime!

    July 22, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  9. lesson

    Inexperienced? Isnt that what advisers are for? They need to give this a rest.

    July 22, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  10. Florida democrat

    Actually, it is the republican party that likes to take comments out of context and choose short statements that may benefit them politically.

    Anyone and everyone that saw the interview and saw the direct statements know exactly what al-Maliki was saying. Not only was it in a German newspaper, but it was reported in many other global sources.

    Wake up America, CNN does not have to be your only source of world news. There are many great news sources available from around the globe that does not have American bias stamped in it.

    July 22, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  11. Obama 08 & 12!

    So i guess The American People are "frighteningly inexperienced" too because they want the war to end too. When will this government listen to the people instead of what their egos and reputation tells them. The American People want out of Iraq and nothing McBush and his clones can say to change THAT FACT!

    July 22, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  12. Charles

    What a horribly misleading headline. The Republican did NOT say Obama was "frightening", but spoke the truth that he is "frighteningly inexperienced."

    July 22, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  13. Rosa Birmingham, AL

    McCain is the one that is scary. He wants to drain our economy so that we can have "victory" in Iraq. What does that mean? He has no clue economically, his number one economic advosor thinks we are all imagining that we can't pay our bills. McCain's only solution to lower pay and rising costs is to dump your current spouse and marry someone with 100 million dollars. If only it were that easy.

    July 22, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  14. Nando, Florida

    Another Village Idiot for Mccain he has countless on standby,

    July 22, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  15. Vigla

    I'll tell you who's inexperienced... John McSame. Once again, he gaffed on which country is next to Pakistan. Sorry, John, Iraq is not next to Pakistan.

    At least Obama's position is more in line with the Iraq gov't. McSame doesn't care what the Iraqis say...because he believes them to be a territory of the US instead of a soverign nation.

    People, don't be fooled. The inxperienced one has the big "R" next to his name.

    July 22, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  16. aware

    Oh, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal as McCain's VP would show Obama up big time. He is younger and more experienced! Jindal is an energetic, substantive man of action who will get things done! 🙂

    July 22, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  17. Slock

    Wow, McCain sure is running a positive campaign. Sounds like the core group he surrounded himself with is coming up with some great ideas.

    "Hey, I got an idea, lets try to scare the nation into thinking that Obama isn't qualified. Since John doesn't have anything to add to a subject other than I was for the surge, we will paint Obama as an inexperienced, dangerous person. It worked in 00' and 04'!"

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

    Obama IS frighteningly inexperienced. He has come out of nowhere and, barely served a term in the senate...and now you want to give him keys to the White House? I cannot understand why so many people are willing to overlook his inexperience. It's like moving from entry level to CEO all at once. That never leads to success...sorry!

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

    Never send a lightweight out to do a heavyweight job.

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

    History should tell us that experience does not make for a great president. Critics had the same to say of FDR, Lincoln and Kennedy.

    If experience made for great presidents, why don't the Republicans simply pick the oldest senator as their nominee every time?

    Because we all know that experience is but a small part of what makes a president great. Not having experience doesn't mean a whole lot. Character, vision and a willingness to work does matter.

    We need new ideas and Obama has them.

    Obama 2008

    July 22, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  21. Biffington, Biff

    "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. "



    (fear and smear at its finest).... AGAIN... it's all they have....

    July 22, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  22. AMB

    They're grasping at straws...anything to discredit the strides Obama is making on his trip to Iraq and the Middle East. But it's not working! McBush and his gang of thugs can't derail the change that's coming.

    July 22, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  23. Michael Turner

    Not this time...fear will not work this time. Fool me once, but not this time.


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

    So all you libs and coolaid drinkers would rather have an experienced commander and chief. Please read history to find out what happens when an experienced person leads a country. OB lacks total common sense.

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

    Obama's "frightening inexperience" is quickly being erased by his intelligence and foresight to visit the world's hotspots for a first hand, up-to-the-minute status report, just like any competent CEO or commander-in-chief should do.

    The only people in the country that are frightened are McCain's campaign and his dwindling horde of Republican followers...as well they should be. There is going to be shock and awe in November, and the rumble of an Obama landslide.

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