August 11th, 2008
05:30 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama moves closer to McCain on Russia stance

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The conflict between Russia and Georgia is making waves on the presidential campaign trail."] (CNN) - Barack Obama moved closer to John McCain’s tough position regarding the military conflict in Georgia on Monday, issuing a statement from Hawaii scolding Russia for the intensifying violence in the conflict.

“No matter how this conflict started, Russia has escalated it well beyond the dispute over South Ossetia and invaded another country,” Obama said in a statement distributed by his campaign. “Russia has escalated its military campaign through strategic bombing and the movement of its ground forces into the heart of Georgia. There is no possible justification for these attacks.”

The comments marked a departure from Obama’s initial statement on the conflict, released Friday, which avoided chiding Russia directly and urged restraint from both nations. He released a sterner statement the following day condemning Russian aggression.

Today, he focused his criticism squarely on the Kremlin, a posture first taken by McCain four days ago, as the conflict began.

Obama urged Russia to agree to a cease-fire and withdraw all troops from Georgian territory, and called for a non-Russian international peacekeeping force, along with a U.N. resolution rejecting Moscow’s actions – all demands put forth by McCain last week.

Still, the Democrat’s statement featured a note of optimism about Russian-U.S. relations: “Let me be clear: we seek a future of cooperative engagement with the Russian government, and friendship with the Russian people,” Obama said in the statement.

“We want Russia to play its rightful role as a great nation - but with that role comes the responsibility to act as a force for progress in this new century, not regression to the conflicts of the past.”

Meanwhile, on the campaign trail in Pennsylvania, McCain amplified his rhetoric against Russia in a Monday morning statement to reporters.

“Russian President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin must understand the severe, long-term negative consequences that their government’s actions will have for Russia’s relationship with the U.S. and Europe,” McCain said.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (96 Responses)
  1. Cosmic Comedy Queen

    Obama has to take lessons from someone who knows what's going on...

    August 11, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  2. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    What difference does this make whether Obama and McCain say the same thing. The U.S. can't do anything and the U.N. is not going to do anything. Besides McCain thinks Russia is bombing Atlanta, Georgia.

    August 11, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  3. Thomas

    Flip Flop Obama again... "Change you can believe in"

    August 11, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  4. speed3

    WIth $340 million in contributions he could take out the Russians.
    Does it cost that much (and growing) to be president?

    August 11, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  5. WOW

    **** Breaking News ****

    "Obama saves Georgia from Russia with Speech"

    August 11, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  6. Bob, San Francisco, CA

    Regardless of whether Russia is right or wrong, the United States has LOST ALL CREDIBILITY thanks to the Bush administration.

    Bush looks so foolish telling Russia not to attack another country after we invaded Iraq for even less of a reason. Give me a break.

    Is World War Three coming or what?

    August 11, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  7. Linda Stephenson

    Just another example that Obama does not have the experience to lead in regards to international matters.

    August 11, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  8. RedGuyInAblueState, Seattle, WA

    just like obama...effectively, don't take a position at first...wait to see what others are doing and more importantly, what the polls say...then change your position

    Is this really who we want leading our country?

    August 11, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  9. pat C.

    once again McCain misspoke the president of georgia's name...not once but 3 times. lordy how much can this man continue to get away with and no one call him out on his ignorance of the facts?

    August 11, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  10. Fordy

    And what that tells you is that Obama is more measured in his approach. He was careful at first not to lay blame when both countries were actively fighting. Now that Georgia has retreated and is calling for a cease fire, it is now obvious that Russia are now the aggressors. Contrast that with McCains approach and straight out of the blocks he was ready to lay blame and did so in a rather inflammatory and confrontational way. I guarantee you if John McCain becomes the next President there will be a return to the cold war and this time could be much worst.

    August 11, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  11. PUMA 4 HILL

    Of course... the flip flopper will say anything and appease to all he can for the nomination.

    what a fraud

    August 11, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  12. Proud army and navy mom

    Surely CNN got this wrong. That was probably Obama's stance all along and McCain is just copying Obama. Obama knows when he is elected all will fall at his feet and the we will witness the beginning of the new world order.

    August 11, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  13. CitizenS

    By the way, Obama is not on vacation! He is working at continuing to strengthen this nation by becoming our next President and respected leader for you ungrateful people! Check out how the European leaders feel about this Georgian conflict. I believe as is usually the case you will find that they and Obama are definitely in step in looking at the total picture instead of half, McSame.

    August 11, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  14. McCain 08

    Once again, Obama is changing his stance on things....
    What is next?

    August 11, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  15. Meg

    Come on now... He's got to be seen for what he is– INEXPERIENCED. We cannot trust our great nation in this man's hands... all pettiness aside– he just doesn't know what he's doing.

    August 11, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  16. stacy

    that figures, he has no original thoughts.

    August 11, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  17. Sue/PA

    One the first day of initial conflict, why wouldnt you ask both nations to just stand down, seems logical to me. and as the situation changed, you need to deepen your stance against the conflict.

    McCain was 4 days in on the first day.............could it be he already knew that Russia was not gonna stop??? remember he has a lobbist that was lobbying in Georgia reciently....hmmmmmmm makes one wonder.

    Oh and McCains speech today was copied straight from your independent thought there.

    August 11, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  18. Lost Home/Can't Afford Gas/Family Going Hungry

    Wow, he gets OJT from someone with EXPERIENCE and has the sense to follow a good idea. Next he's either going to call McCain, McBush or play his race/gender card and call it his idea – now that's disgusting, people are being slaugtered in the 21st century and

    1. G.W. Bush is watching and playing (Volleyball) Olympic Games
    2. Congress is out packing for their conventions or being threatened by not showing up to vote on drilling more holes in our earth
    3. as more and more Americans lose their homes, go hungry while a(nother) bureacracy is being established to prevent greedy Wall Street, as G.W. was caught saying, from ringing every red penny out of the American Economy.

    Is there anyone that cares?

    August 11, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  19. lois in CA

    Not suprising. Obama appears to be an opportunist to me: I think he'll play follow the public opinion polls, rather than stand on any kind of real principle-based platform. He's already reversed himself a number of times. Just another slippery, ambitious politician feeding at the trough of public discontent as far as I can see.

    August 11, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  20. Vig

    Here yeah, here yeah – Obama is nothing more than a WANNABE. He wants to be the "commander-in-chief", yet he doesn't have an original idea in his head that's not about himself. Who is writing his statements? Those band of white boys on the internet day and night researching "the right things to say" to come out of his mouth. American stop and think before you vote for this wannabe.

    August 11, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  21. Ella

    We need a strong national security president!

    August 11, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  22. tony

    Obama moves closer to McCain on Russia stance..

    enough said for me to vote for mccain,....

    August 11, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  23. Sick & Tired of Nobama

    Gee is that another flip – flop? Someone must have slapped him around and now has told him what to say.
    How can you obamarobots back this guy??

    August 11, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  24. bibek

    Obama moves closer to McCain on Russia Stance?

    So if CNN talks about some news after MSNBC covered it first, does that also count as moving closer?

    Obama '08- The smarter choice!

    August 11, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  25. Lisa

    I don't think anyone will listen to Obama he's too soft!!!! Michelle doesn't even listen to him!!!

    August 11, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
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