July 29th, 2008
08:45 AM ET
14 years ago

McCain says he could support 16-month Iraq timetable

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/07/28/mccain.larryking/art.mccain.0728.ap.jpg caption="Sen. John McCain appears Monday in Bakersfield, California, before talking to Larry King."]LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) - Sen. John McCain could support a 16-month timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, he told CNN's Larry King Monday night.

But the presumptive Republican presidential nominee said he would only do that if military chiefs deemed the "conditions on the ground" safe enough.

Watch: McCain talks to Larry King

Speaking from Bakersfield, California, the Arizona senator said he would not stick to a "hard and firm date" suggested by Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

Full story

Related: McCain says voters should not be concerned about his health

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (420 Responses)
  1. Chuck

    That's it John. Follow Obama's plan.

    July 29, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  2. Michael, in Ohio

    To Debbie,

    to corect you, he said within 60 days he would start and have it done in 16 months, please know thier policies before commenting, you spinning that comment more than the media and the campaigns do.

    July 29, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  3. LT for Obama

    R U Kidding me? Let's see, on Friday, 16-month timetable is good, on Saturday, "I never said timetable." NOW, all of a sudden the timetable is good again. I have to say that this is fastest and most times he has flip flopped on one issue I have ever seen.

    July 29, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  4. McFlipflop

    He will just redefine timetable and claim that it is his idea

    July 29, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  5. California Gold

    McCain hasn't had an original thought of his own this entire election cycle. When the country was in a hawk mode McCain revealed his intent to continue this war for 100 years. Now the country is seeing the merit in Obama's 16-month timetable after analysis of current information and discussion with the professionals and McCain starts to mooch away from his hawk stance. He is no leader, just another follower.

    July 29, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  6. fred

    Hello Obama people. I bet 99% of you commented before you listened to the interview. Just like 99% of you just listen to Obama's speeches and don't look at his record. McCain is not flip-flopping here. I'm not the biggest fan of McCain, but I have to back him up here. McCain never said that we should be in Iraq for 100 years, and he never said 16 months. He said that when the conditions on the ground are safe, and Iraq is secure enough for us to withdraw and hand command over to the Iraqi military, then we will do that. He'll support withdrawing if those conditions on the ground are right after 16 months if that's the time that conditions are right.

    Sen. Obama on the other hand says 16 months, no matter what the conditions are. In other words, Obama is playing this like a baseball game, and McCain is playing smart. Obama is saying that after 9 innings, the game is over. McCain is saying that if, after 9 innings, we're winning, then we can end the game.......there's a difference..........it's been the difference between the candidates all along.

    July 29, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  7. Vietnam Vet

    Isn't it about time – McCain STOPS saying it is the GENERALS who should decide WHEN we should leave – is IT NOT the Iragi governemnt/people who SHOULD decide!

    July 29, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  8. Dem


    July 29, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  9. McCain is the arrogant and the oppotunist

    now he is ready to LOOSE the war.....

    in order to still some of Obama's vote...and WIN AN ELECTION...

    that man is either very dishonnest, totally insane, or just senile...

    July 29, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  10. Jaybrown NY/NJ

    More and more I loose respect for McCain. I'd like to think it's because of anything other than me being an Obama supporter. But I feel like if I hear him say the word surge again I'll go nuts. I think If i had a quarter for every time he used that word, I'd have a BMX X6 in my driveway. He said at one time that he wants to run a respectful campaign and so far he just beats Obama up ever single day. The surge worked. LOL. Please, we still have suicide bombers killing hundreds of people. There are things that happened prior to the Surge that worked but he still makes it seem like it was part of the surge. A time table will give us and the Iraq people a goal to work for. It is possible.

    July 29, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  11. Lone McCain Blogger

    His problem is he has no strategy, no goal, no end zone. Conditions on the ground will change and the target will change just like under W to suit the neocon agenda. Do not elect this war hawk.

    July 29, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  12. Veteran in Kansas

    Talk about flip flop, whats wrong, see the writing on the wall.

    July 29, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  13. Bill From Florida

    Hey, Caroline
    Get over it. Not everyone thinks Obama was born in the manger.

    No one has flip flopped and lied to the American people as much
    as Obama.

    July 29, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  14. TRUTH

    Those of you that still support McCain after this huge flip-flop must ask yourself why????
    1: You hate Obama because he is black.
    2: You hate Obama because he has run a perfect campaign and beat out the Clintons.
    3: You hate progress and don't trust a negro to run the country, a old cancer patient is ten times better than that.
    4: You think Obama is arrogant; however anybody that thinks they can run the USA must be arrogant.

    July 29, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  15. Dominique

    Isn't this ironic. Wasn't McCain deriding Obama a couple of months ago for suggesting that a phased withdrawal would take approximately 16 months?

    It is nice to see that even his challenger acknowledges the wisdom of Obama's positions (whether he wants to admit it or not).

    Obama 08

    July 29, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  16. Diana

    McCain can do anything we want, because he's bought and paid for. So if we want the troops to come out in 10 months, he would say yes. He literally kisses George W. Bush, that says everything.

    This man is not a good choice. He actually told a reporter he had nothing to say to her and picked someone else. Do you want a nuthead Nazi like that? I don't think so.

    Obama 08 My choice and my next POTUS.

    July 29, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  17. Liz from Atlanta, GA

    FLIP. . . . FLOP

    Obama '08 cause it was his idea first!!!

    July 29, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  18. What!?

    My comment likes to await moderation...
    Geez, everyone, we know McCain is a flip flopper…so is every candidate–yes, even Obama.
    It comes down to who's ideals do you want running the country. Both McCain and Obama are essentially now campaigning on a pullout of Iraq in 16months, but both have supported FISA and other restrictions to personal liberty and our freedoms.

    I'm voting for neither. Bob Barr is campaigning on pulling out of Iraq AND other places (ya know, we're still in Bosnia, Kosovo, Germany, Japan…). Also he's campaigning on a return to individual responsibility, less government, less federal spending and tax reform. He has worked closely with the NRA and ACLU (talk about bridging gaps!)

    Too bad the other candidates have not really wanted to talk freedom and reducing government.

    Barr '08 !!

    July 29, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  19. Jason

    Onlt idiots would call him a flip-flopper on this issue...

    He really is just holding his ground, while maintaining a larege cushion between his own strategy and the screams of Democrats that want out of Iraq immediately. This buffer will come in handy when the real debates begin because the advice from generals on the ground bring credibility to his argument.

    July 29, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  20. Natalie

    LOL...it's a 16 month HORIZON. He's certainly learned a lot from his favorite friend George Bush. Don't call it a time table, call it a HORIZON.

    Horizon this McCain–you will not win in November. That's my time...oh excuse me horizon to send you back to the Senate.

    Obama 08

    July 29, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  21. Enlighted readership

    Rob : "Obama now OWNS the foreign policy argument."

    Oh really? Spoken like a true American (i.e., someone who can probably locate about 12 foreign countries on the map).


    July 29, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  22. Eric

    That's exactly Obama's stance to a T.

    July 29, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  23. James

    I really think McCain forgot what he said about the war.
    I really think McCain forgot he said we could be there for 100 years.
    I really think McCain forgot what he had for dinner last night.

    July 29, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  24. Charlie John McBrown

    LOL, he's the Charlie Brown of this election. He couldn't call a baseball game, let alone a war. His horizon is rising fast–send him back to the Senate or a convalescent home, your choice.

    July 29, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  25. David in Illinois

    "Conditions on the ground." "Conditions on the ground." I'm tired of hearing this robotic response from McCain.
    Obama has said the SAME THING all along. He never said he would just yank all the troops out all at once. But that's McCain and his lies. McCain is entitled to change his mind and see the wisdom of Obama's framework for the 16-month timetable. Changing one's mind, when it's for the good of the country, isn't a bad thing. The old man is finally learning something. But McCain continues to need all the tutoring he can get, especially on things like when the "surge" actually began, who's Sunni, who's Shia, where Middle Eastern borders are, what the Internet is, how to turn on a computer....
    McCain is NOT experienced enough to be president of the United States.

    July 29, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
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