[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/26/art.debate.ms.gi.jpg caption="McCain and Obama trade attacks over Iraq."]
OXFORD, Mississippi (CNN) - Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama disagreed sharply over Iraq at their first presidential debate on Friday, drawing starkly different lessons from the controversial war.
"We should never hesitate to use military force ... to keep the American people safe," McCain, an Arizona Republican, argued. "But we have to use our military wisely and we did not use our military wisely in Iraq."
The next president will have to decide when and how to leave Iraq and what the United States will leave behind, McCain said.
But he said the United States was now winning thanks to a great general and a new strategy.
"Senator Obama refuses to acknowledge that we are winning in Iraq,"McCain said of his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama.Obama responded: "That's not true, that's not true."
He blasted McCain as having been wrong about the initial phase of the war, saying McCain had failed to anticipate the uprising against U.S. forces and violence between rival religious groups in the country.
"At the time when the war started, you said it was quick and easy. You said we knew where the weapons of mass destruction were," Obama said, citing the key White House policy justifying the 2003 invasion.
"You were wrong. You said that we were going to be greeted as liberators. You were wrong," he said.
McC is name-dropping Ronald Reagan
HILLARY SUPPORT WHAT YOU ARE SAYING DOESNT' MAKE SENSE, YOUR FORMER CANDADITATE SUPPORTED THE WAR, OBAMA DIDN'T AND HAS NEVER CHANGED HIS STANCE ON THAT SO WHAT ARE YOU TALING ABOUT?
OBAMA ON POINT!
Schnider you are wrong, It is not only the surge that works and it does not matter anyways. What matters is what is next?
McCain thinks the surge is what helped the situation in Iraq. It was the local leaders who agreed to work together who created the change.
McCain will have the country in Iraq for another 100 years. He wants to "Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran" (to the Beach Boys). He is a war monger!!! He has not ability to use diplomacy. It is a word that is not in his vocabulary.
That 100 years means Trillions in money that could be used to fix the health care system, fix the country's infrastructure, invest in new technologies and jobs, and beef up homeland security they way it should be.
No to McCain
John McCain just keeps singing the same old song - we're winning, we're winning, we were right to go to Iraq! What absolute and utter garbage. Bush, McSame and the rest of the republican congress kept us in this debacle instead of winning in Afghanistan - we created the mess we're in by going into Iraq in the first place.
lol, can't lie about someone when he's standing right there, can you mccain?
It's funny how Mccain isnt wearing a flag pin now, but Obama is
Don't ignore Afganistan: help us Canadians find OSama Bin laden!
Oh .... here we go ... yes, Mr. McCain you some things right in the past ... stop reciting the history ... tell us what you want to do!
Stop with this same story......flatline on audience reaction.
Why did we go there. Someone had an axe to grind? MMMMMAYBE
Good point Sen. Obama – the UNITED STATES had NO reason to invade Iraq.
McCain's continuous stories about personal interactions is driving me nuts. This is NOT the venue. I want to hear the issues!
McCain keeps saying "we are winning the war in Iraq". What is he talking about? How are we winning????????????
John McCain, please do this country you love a favor.. retire, go have a nice vacation with your wife. Im young and the catastrophic choises you are going to make if you get elected are going to affect me for many years to come, you'll be in the clear i mean, you are a very very old man.. you dont have that much time on this planet, say another 10, 15 years (if that) please retire and have a happy life...
why won't McCain even look at Obama? It is a very strange thing to watch....he looks angry.
McCain ia a great patriot, but he's scaring the daylights out of me. His version of American will be military, military, military... Don't worry about your kids going to college because McCain's Army will take care of them just fine.
If the war was won in the middle east– I must have been sleeping
Mc C tell us how military moms don't want defeat. I am sure they don't want their sons'/daughters' deaths to be in vain. But it's not just about them. Most Americans don't want this war.
why does mccain not look at obama? What is he scared of? i wonder...
Obama has flip-flopped on the U.S winning the war...now that polls show that people believe that we are winning so does Obama.
What in the world does "winning" in Iraq mean? The Iraqi government itself is imposing restrictions and wants us out. "Winning" is the Nixonian construct from Vietnam that proved to be nothing more than words. "Peace with Honor" sounds like it's the next step.
This country will be in a world of hurt if mccain is elected i honestly think obama is the better choice for the future of this country he is not perfect but the lesser of two evils
I agree with Obama that we are wasting so much money in Iraq and having to pay billions to now rebuild it. While at home here our economy is crumbling. I think we could definitely use the billion a month here.