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. Gramma Faye /Idaho

    He didn't say we WOULD be in Iraq 100 yrs. He was using it as an example like we have been in Korea and Germany and still in Japan. It isn't written in stone. Like he has said it depends on what is happening on the ground and if the Iraqi people get their act together and decide to run their own country and be able to fight off not only the terrorists but Iran or Turkey or any of the other countries that would like to get hold of Iraq.
    Stop and think people before you keep listening to all this spin and nit picking every word. Listen for yourselves. Stop being led around like a band of sheep.
    Wonder if they will post this.
    NOBAMA in grannys camp.

    July 29, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  2. pam Eugene OR

    It is impossible to understand McCain's platform when it changes daily.
    Obama 08 for truth in government

    July 29, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  3. Chris, PENN

    Hear me now and believe me in a week! With Obama's numbers slipping in the polls after such large scale press support for his world tour....the media is in an all out rage! You will begin to see lopsided attacks and shameful bias reporting of Mccain in the next few weeks. Mccain needs to brace himself for this because the next few weeks will be very bumpy!

    The media has mandated themselves as the people who will decide the country's next president. They will not allow voters to stand in the way of this agenda. Voters reactions to their biggest and grandest scheme to propell Obama to the top after the world tour has created much rage among the media loving networks. Mccain will pay for this in the weeks to come. Just watch and you'll see what I mean. Brace yourself senator Mccain...there's media turbulence ahead! your saving grace, however, is your call to have faith in the voters and as long as you stick by the voters, they'll shelter you from this media storm.

    July 29, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  4. Bill

    Did you Obamies even read the article? You're responding to something that wasn't said. I was hoping Obamies would be sort of literate but I'm now having doubts.

    July 29, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  5. Craig

    Wow... Talk about flip floping

    July 29, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  6. Remy

    Hillary wanted "immediate" withdrawal within one month but you quoted wrong something Obama never said!

    July 29, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  7. Tired of W, OH

    This just in.....

    McFlipFlop is at it again! After repeatedly saying that he would not raise taxes, McCain now says he will raise the payroll taxes if needed!

    This is HUGE because the repubs always try to scare voters by saying that the Democrats are going to raise your taxes.

    Come on, CNN! You need to cover this! No more free rides for McCain!

    July 29, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  8. sidney nyc

    cnn is the new fox news

    why wont they report on john mcsame voting record for vets.

    July 29, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  9. Dave from Menifee

    That's McCain problem he's going to let a Genral determine the war policies. Obama said after taking in everything i.e. the cost, and other urgent national security matters then he will make the final call that's leadership. You can't delegate National security.

    July 29, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  10. David, Virginia


    You can't say one thing and give it all of your support, and then SAY something else which you don't believe in... That's called pandoring. You will not get my vote Mr. McCain, and you had better stop lying about Mr. Obama's policies to the general public. I don't want a man who lies to the country to rule it.

    July 29, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  11. TPas

    Senator J. Mccain just want to be pesident! no matter how long it take to quit Iraq. 100 years or 16 months he don't care.

    He can't even remember what he saids from days to days! He needs the title of president ...that 's all.

    July 29, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  12. Carol, Lansing Michigan

    69 flips and counting........

    Now why are you decision changes called "reacting to circumstance changes" and Obamas called "flip flops"?

    Pot, once again, I introduce kettle.

    July 29, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  13. crownsy

    and obama is a flip flopper?

    this idiot said a month ago that timetables and plans were unimportant, and we should be prephared for the long haul. now he realizes he's against the majority's opinion and flips.

    lol maccain.

    July 29, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  14. Mike in MN

    For those who care to listen to what both Obama and McCain said, McCain says 16 months or one month or whatever is OK IF THE MILITARY COMMANDERS SAY THE CONDITIONS ON THE GROUND ARE SAFE ENOUGH. Obama favors a more set 16 month time table, but allows for some flexibilty based on the conditions on the ground. Both have moved a bit. But McCain has always said any withdrawl has to be based on the conditions on the ground. I see no flipflop. Just knee jerk Dems who do not really listen. Something they constantly complain Bush does not do.
    More proof on Dems not really listening is the McCain 100 years war in Iraq thing. What he said is its OK with him to have a 100 years military presence in Iraq. Not 100 years of war. He said a presence like we have in Germany (the troops that Obama did not want to visit) and Korea and other places. What he said was that the American people object to a military presence with US troop casualties, but that in Germany and Korea, no one is objecting to those troops over seas. The Dems that keep talking about 100 years of war idiots or just not telling the truth or both.
    And to all the Dems who want the troops to come home, you do realize that Obama is not going to bring them home, he is going to send them to Afghanistan to get killed there instead.
    But don't worry, McCain is showing a lead in the two most recent polls. USA Today/Gallop 7/25 – 7/27 has McCain up +4 and Rasmussen Tracking 7/26 – 7/28 has Obama up by just +1.

    July 29, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  15. mwm

    so,now mccain is flipping to exactly the same plan as obama's?mccain would never begin a pull-out from iraq.it will never be safe enough ,'on the ground',in his opinion.he will keep troops there ,indefinitely,constantly claiming conditions arent right,yet,so he can keep our troops there ,long enough,to begin his next war with iran.

    July 29, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  16. Jack Jodell, Minneapolis, MN

    It's official: John McCain has now joined LBJ, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush as the most consistent liars and flip-floppers in our country's political history. The "straight talk express" has all but driven off the road into the ditch, and McCain's anti-Obama ads are so full of lies and distortion they would do Karl Rove proud! McCAIN = BUSH 3.

    July 29, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  17. fella from Chicago

    If anyone watched the Senator on CNN last night, he was emphatic using the term "conditions on the ground". That means he would support a troop pull out next month, 16 months from now, or a hundred years. It all depends on the military commanders on the ground. He hasn't changed his stance or is in agreement with the " Chicago Messiah". Obama says he wants the troops out in 16 months no matter what the military says. A little different, don't you think? Thank God Senator McCain is in this race against the witless wonder from the Southside of Chicago. America has a chance.

    July 29, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  18. Anne E.

    Yeah, that's what he says now.........or at least until he has another new position, at which time he'll claim this position was another "senior moment." McCain is too stiff and too scripted.

    July 29, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  19. Eric in Ca

    Wow..none of the other News Agencies or blogs have picked this up...
    Finally, McCain agrees with Obama.. McCain being the Foreign Policy guru is a bunch of croc fed to us by the MSM... McCain only knows pudding & applesauce! History v. Pre-Historic...

    Obama is the future.Period!

    July 29, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  20. McGaffe


    Right to the Whitehouse buddy!

    July 29, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  21. Will from Gaithersburg, MD

    Sen. McCain is the biggest flip-flopper ever! "Old man yells at cloud!"

    July 29, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |


    July 29, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  23. Charlie

    I respect that a leader can change his or her mind. It is sign that they have one to change. Most important is to observe the decision making process. Barack Obama researches the facts of a situation, speaks to those involved and decides. I find this method much preferable to the current President whose motto seems to be: “if the facts don’t agree with your decision, get new facts”

    The difference between “changing one’s mind based on a preponderance of the facts” and “flip-flopping” depends on whether or not one agrees with the new stance. Because George W Bush is wrong all the time, any change of mind is welcomed, as recently happened with the GI Bill, the home mortgage crisis, and talking to Iran.

    John McCain is more complicated in that he is right about 10%-20% of the time. When he changes his mind it might be from wrong to right, as in his “new idea” for a time-table for Iraq pullout, or right to wrong. Lately however the ex-maverick has gone from being right to being far right as recently happened with the tax cuts, civil rights and immigration.

    Barack Obama is burdened with being right about 80%-90% of the time. When he changes his mind he has a much greater chance of becoming wrong and will need to explain his actions clearly . Luckily for him he has an ability to explain things well.

    July 29, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  24. Latinos for Obama

    Another opportunity for McCain to show America that Obama is the one to vote for. It is extremly interesting how Bush/McCain tend to embrace Obama's idea.....and he says Obama has little experience. Very interesting.

    July 29, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  25. Boudreau

    Born too loose, I've lived my life in vain......
    He was a prisoner for 5 years, as IN JAIL, NOT YALE!

    July 29, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
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