September 25th, 2008
08:00 AM ET
12 years ago

Fact Check: Did McCain criticize attacking al Qaeda in Pakistan?

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="What did McCain say?"]The Statement
Democratic vice-presidential candidate Sen. Joe Biden, in a September 24 speech in Cincinnati, Ohio, said nominee Sen. Barack Obama has asserted that "if we have actionable intelligence in Pakistan, I will take out bin Laden and I will take out al Qaeda." He said Sen. John McCain "characterized that as being irresponsible and said we'd be bombing our allies."

Learn the facts

The Facts
Obama, in a foreign policy speech on August 1, 2007, spoke about the need to confront al Qaeda and prevent the Taliban "from using Pakistan as a staging area for attacks in Afghanistan."

"If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will," Obama said, referring to the now former Pakistani president.

McCain delivered a speech on February 19, 2008, in Columbus, Ohio, in which he asked, "Will we risk the confused leadership of an inexperienced candidate who once suggested bombing our ally, Pakistan?"

He elaborated on his position on February 20, 2008, at a press conference in Columbus, saying "the best idea is not to broadcast what you're going to do. That's naive."

"You make plans, and you work with the other country that is your ally and friend, which Pakistan is, you don't broadcast and say you're going to bomb a country without their permission and without consulting them. It's just fundamental to the conduct of national security policy."

The Verdict: True. Biden accurately characterizes Obama and McCain's statements.

Filed under: Fact Check • John McCain
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