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"There have been a number of statements from the prime minister and others about the hope that combat forces can be withdrawn by the end of 2010, but I will also point out the government has made clear in a variety of ways that that is based on an expectation of the continued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

    Heather .. as per your comments - there are over 4000 American heroes who would like to reply to your rants - but unfortunately they are dead -

    Maybe experience is not the whole equation - maybe ... just maybe ... we need some new ideas - not the same old bulls**t from Bush and McCain - this is not a matter of "winning a war" ... but you and the GOP do not understand that

    Hope you get to retire in November ... you are obviously out of your league in Congress

    July 22, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  2. Concerned INDEPENDENT CT voter

    They hate that Obama gets Sooo much news coverage.... yeah.... well so do I... but hey.... Say something that excites americans & not try & bring down someone else & i'm sure you'll get it..


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

    I'm far more frightened of John McCain. He's supposed to have all this experience, but he doesn't seem to have learned anything in the process. We've had 7+ years of a President who is unwilling to learn new things and look at where that has gotten us.

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

    The funny thing is that John McCain is frighteningly stupid. He has made mistakes after mistakes in this campaign. He has absolutely no diplomacy. He has done pretty much exactly the same thing as George W. Bush has done. Bomb, bomb Iran? Frighteningly stupid man. He demanded Obama to go to the mid-east, and now he is putting that down. How much more stupid can he get.

    We definitely do not need another STUPID President. WE need someone who is intelligent and educated in there. You can never teach old dogs new tricks. Folks leave this old dog behind! Time for a change!

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

    I am 70 years old. I think better, know better, and I am more detemined than ever. So, it's true that John McCain is old. But it's also true that Obama is a fool, knows nothing, has no values, wants to raise taxes, put government in charge of controlling every single company, in short, he wants to destroy America as we know it.

    So, what do you all want? A loyal American who is old, or a young subversive who wants to take away your liberty and make you poor to give your money to foreign countries and to those who don't want to work, or don't know how?

    July 22, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  6. Neal M.

    Heather Wilson is so fake when she tries to blast Obama for having his "finger in the wind ". She is in so much political trouble in New Mexico that she has been doing for the last two years what she accuses Obama of doing now. She barely when re-election in 2006. She will likely lose re-election this year; good riddence!

    I'll take my chances on an Obama that has his finger to the wind rather than seriously listening to a Bush lover like Wilson who has her finger up her behind.

    These McCain people are laughable. On the one hand they criticize the 46-year old Obama for "lack of experience" yet the McCain campaign is probably going to pick Bobby Jindl, the 37-year old governor of one of the least progressive states, to be his VP. God save us from them all.

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

    What is there to be afraid of ????? The president needs the backing of Congress to do anything..................GOOD GRIEF!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 22, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  8. karen-phoenix

    AND We do not want any more Old Experience in Washington. Circle of Life–Out with the OLD in the NEW. McCain scares me to death!!! I'm 64 and all I see in him is my dead friends from the Vietnam war and my grandchildrens dead friends from the Iraq war. I want some big changes in Washington–Peace is Patriotic and Obama represents hope, intellegence, peace and prosperity!!!!

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

    Obama inexperienced? McCain has confused Sunni and Shiite on several occasions, and "mistakenly" claimed (more than once) that Iran supports Al Qaeda!

    July 22, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  10. Hans-Erik Iken

    So Bush has been a leader and McCain will be as well? If that is the path they are leading the US down then I think most citizens will say thanks but no thanks...

    They can try to throw their dirt to try and make Obama look as dirty as they are, but they are just tossing it in the wind that blows it right back on themselves.

    It is over republicans, you messed up and now Obama will start to clean your bloody mess up.

    July 22, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  11. David, Silver Spring, MD

    Oh brother. Enough of the hyperbole, McQueeg.

    If you want to talk about frightening, how about a notorious hothead who can't keep his countries straight sleeping so close to the nuclear launch button.

    McQueeg's the kind of guy who can go ballistic because he ran out of strawberries!

    July 22, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  12. Monoj Bhatt

    What is this "BUZZ" about experience ?????


    BULL !!!


    July 22, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  13. Obama-Junkie, IL

    Why is the mainstream media listening to Rep. Heather Wilson, R-New Mexico? Heather Wilson has never been to Iraq or Afghanistan! Heather Wilson has not met with the Prime Ministers of Afghanistan or Iraq!

    Why is her comments worth reporting? Because they are controversial?

    It is comments from McCain and his surrogates like these that anger me when the McCain camp and conservative journalists throw out Piyush Jindal's name as a VP option for McCain!

    If Obama is "frighteningly inexperienced" what does this make Piyush "Bobby" Jindal?!?!

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

    Wow you guys are really showing your maturity with those comments.

    "She is alarmingly frightening to look at."
    "And I call John McCain 'frighteningly' old!"

    And you expect people to take you seriously?

    July 22, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  15. Cara Valente-Compton

    Heather Wilson's attack on Barack Obama are laughable. The voters in New Mexico rejected her opinions and policies in June, and she is desperately seeking relevance. Her only shot at that is to get her foot in the door in a McCain administration, which is growing less likely by the day.
    Heather best be careful what she wishes for, because if she is indeed clinging to the hope that she will have a cabinet position in a fantasy "McCain Administration" she will be subject to a lot of scrutiny she doesn't want or need, and her involvement in the justice department scandal, and personal scandal involving the improper removal of her own husband's Division of Family Services file when she ran that agency.

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

    Does anyone in the McCain campaign have anything good to say about McCain? All they do is bash Obama.

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


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

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

    July 22, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  19. Chris (CT)

    Just another case of the republicans playing to the lowest common denominator.

    July 22, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  20. Lee from FL

    I cant wait till McCain wins,we will have a permanent base in IRAQ and ill finally be able to do combat in IRAN!
    Bombs away!

    July 22, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  21. Nevada Independant

    First of all, Obama has advocated the same plan for Iraq and Afganistan for the duration of his campaign, and even longer in the case of Iraq. He's certainly not "holding his finger in the wind" to detect the current political climate. How ridiculous.
    Second, John McCain has a tough situation on his hands. He refuses to acknowledge that the Iraqi people and their government have expressed a desire for our presence to end. He's take the George W Bush stance of "I'm the decider". Well, here is a news flash for McCain and his supporters – We are NOT the deciders when it comes to how long we can occupy another nation. They are the deciders. So, all of the so-called experience McCain isn't serving him very well in this situation – his experience tells him that we shouldn't leave (even when they want us to). Sounds like more of the same garbage from the current administration.
    This lady is completely full of it. They loaded her lips and sent her out to talk nonsense to people.
    We've had enough of your fear mongering and insistance that we have a war-loving president! We don't need someone who has more experience shooting a gun – we need someone with more experience using negotiations to reach peaceful solutions.

    July 22, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  22. Dan, NJ

    I'm not sure which way to go with this one: Either point out that Obama got Maliki's comments right... and Maliki repeated them a day later through an aid specifically saying timetable OR pointing out that all of McCain's experience can't even help him realize Checkosovakia is not a country, Somalia and the Sudan are different places and IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN ARE DIFFERENT PLACES.

    Tough choice.

    July 22, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  23. Josh

    Now hiring:
    Job: US President
    Experience: Must be born in the US, with a minimum age of 35.

    McCain was not born in the US.

    July 22, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  24. Peg

    What is frightening is the MSM letting McCain get away with this war-mongering. Somebody please tell him the Vietnam, oops I mean Iraq war should come to an end.

    July 22, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  25. leslie

    The republicans look mean and silly. The name calling they have done today is also sad. They are a blast from the past.

    July 22, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
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