October 6th, 2008
01:00 PM ET
13 years ago

McCain targets Obama's year-old comment on Afghanistan

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/06/art.mccainad.cnn.jpg caption="A new McCain ad questions Obama's past comments."]

(CNN) - John McCain's campaign released a new ad Monday that targets year-old comments from Barack Obama about the conflict in Afghanistan, calling them flat out "dishonorable."

The ad comes as the Arizona senator's campaign aggressively steps up its attacks on Obama's readiness to be a commander-in-chief and raises questions about his background with only a month remaining before voters weigh in.

Watch: New ad targets Obama comments

"Who is Barack Obama? He says our troops in Afghanistan are ‘just air-raiding villages and killing civilians,’” the ad's announcer says. "How dishonorable."

The ad refers to an answer Obama gave at an August 2007 town hall meeting with New Hampshire voters, during which the Illinois senator was asked whether he had plans to shift U.S. troops out of Iraq to other terrorist hotspots like Afghanistan.

"We've got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we're not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there," Obama said of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.

Those comments were immediately seized by GOP critics. The Republican National Committee sent out a press release shortly after the remarks calling them "offensive," and demanding he apologize. The McCain campaign has also highlighted the comments several times this campaign season. An AP Fact Check later reported Western forces had been killing civilians at a higher rate than insurgents.

"Congressional liberals voted repeatedly to cut off funding to our active troops," the ad also says. "Increasing the risk on their lives. How dangerous. Obama and congressional liberals."

Palin also made similiar comments in an interview with CBS anchor Katie Couric last week and on the campaign trail in Florida Monday morning.

The campaign says the ad will run nationally, though it did not reveal the extent of the buy.

Responding to the ad, the Obama campaign released a statement from retired Admiral John B. Natham.

"Senator Obama has consistently voted to fund our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and, just as importantly, a proven record of support when they return home," he said in the statement. "That's why independent veterans organizations give Senator Obama higher marks than Senator McCain. Despite consistent distortions of his record, thousands of veterans like myself support Senator Obama because he has the judgment, character and integrity to be a great president. We will need a great president to lead us in these very challenging times."

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (298 Responses)
  1. Slash

    Obama doesn't need to go personal to counter McCain. He can stick the issues.

    KEATING FIVE, perhaps?

    October 6, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  2. Edge of cliff

    Let's stick to the real issue, which is that Obama is unfit to be president.

    October 6, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  3. Try Again

    The McCain campaign is so pathetic. This is what you do when you are free falling in the polls and you are desperate, use smear tactics. Unfortunately for them they only suceed in insulting the intelligence of the american people.

    Obama/Biden 08'

    The smart peoples choice!

    October 6, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  4. Al P.

    McCain has no honor - just lies and smear tactics. Obama has run an entirely honorable campaign from day one.

    If you elect McCain, you elect someone willing to do ANYTHING, willing to tell ANY LIE to get elected. How do you think he'd be as president? Do you think he'd start being honorable again once he was inaugurated? Or do you think he'd be as cynical and dishonest has he has been on the campaign trail?

    America, don't be fooled! One party is trying to talk to you like an equal, the other one is trying to treat you like a sucker!!

    October 6, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  5. Bob Indianapolis IN

    "An AP Fact Check later reported Western forces had been killing civilians at a higher rate than insurgents."

    McSame: a desperate liar with the same daddy issues as Dumbya, the Clown Prince! Plus, a folksy data-dumping droid as a running mate.

    It's all over now but the attempted vote caging! The landslide will be so deep and wide, not even Tony Scalia will be able to fix this one!

    October 6, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  6. cnn junkie

    i campaign for john mccain,knocked on doors,its really shameful that i man i held in high esteem has decided to stoop so low,running a dishonourable campaign.
    i am so sad,so sad john

    October 6, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  7. Pam Willson, FL

    I agree John McCain may have alzhermiers spread the word......He refuses to release his medical records to hide from the facts. When John McCain started to attack Obama he was confused he had a past. Why was John McCain taking money from Keating? Why did he suspend his campaign during the first debate?

    John McCain is a 72 year old POW that lies and may have Alzhermiers...Watch that commercial that comes on the signs are: He becomes confused, he lies, he calls people out of their names, he has erratic behaviors......John McCain wants to play hard ball we have Obama back. Don't lie on Obama it could become nuclear Senator Old man McCain. We have tried to be nice, but it is time to fight for our Country now.....Lies will not work this year on me. I voted for Bush and John McCain sounds like Bush with his message of reform.

    October 6, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  8. South African for OBAMA

    Wow....this reminds me of soccer games where in the last few minutes, the team that is down 1-0 starts throwing everything into attack in the hope of tying the game and maybe even win, but the drawback to this strategy is that the team leaves its defence exposed to counter attacks (Keating 5, Palin's troopergate and Alaska secessionist party), and the opposition doubles the lead

    October 6, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  9. Shirley

    If McCain really wants to get people to vote for him. Stop all the negative ads. This is really turning people off when you got a VP with a very bad scandel on her back. McCain/Palin why can't you clean up aroung your own door step before you try to condem someone who is trying to help the American People get away from Liars like you two. Remember Palin is a liar and a fake, McCain is a liar with past corruptions that if thing turn ugly Palin needs to think about returning to Alaska.

    October 6, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  10. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I would have hope that this statement wasn't true but it has a great deal of fact behind it. There have been stories in the press about the president of Afghanistan calling for less airstrikes and shelling because of the huge mistakes in where the bombs and shells have been hitting - civilian targets ( I will presume that these were mistakes).

    To stop things like this, we need to put more troops on the ground and more support to build and rebuild infrastructure in the country. We need to help the Afghans to produce their own foods and make products that will make them self sufficient weither it be food or something else.

    October 6, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  11. Teresa

    It is sad that McCain has come to this. The people want issues and we want real people in politics. What McCain does not get and neither does Palin is that the american people don't like politicians we don't like smear tactics and swiftboating.

    That is why we like Barack and that is why we will stand behind him and fuel this movement. Nothing you say or do is going to make it stop.

    SO GO ON McCain and Palin FUEL THE FIRE!! We will extinguish it!!!!

    October 6, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  12. Greg

    Might I suggest moving the "An AP Fact Check later reported Western forces had been killing civilians at a higher rate than insurgents." line closer to the top of this story. Why not start with the facts instead of the spin? The true story here should be "John McCain calls Barack Obama 'dishonorable' for wanting to better fund war on terror in Afghanistan".

    October 6, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  13. Jeff Brown

    This is coming from the people who brought you one of the dirtiest presidential campaigns in history! McCain's decision to wallow in the mud and sling it at Obama is pathetic. Only the John Q. Adams campaign was more disgusting. Mrs. Andrew Jackson was accused of adultery and bigamy and the people were repulsed by Adams for stooping so low. Jackson went on to win, just like Obama will win BIG in November!!

    October 6, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  14. McAncient

    So because he doesn't want to kill women and children unnecessarily that's dishonourable??...wow! For those of you who watched 60 Minutes last night you would have realized that this administration didn't want to kill Osama Bin Laden. He didn't get away..they let him escape on purpose.

    October 6, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  15. Not a Cultist

    Wow – Over 60 pro-Obama comments in about 10 minutes. And they're all saying (pretty much) the same thing. It almost seems organized. Either that or CNN is "moderating" the McCain supporters.

    October 6, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  16. Jim R. in NY

    How's about some ideas from the Senator of twenty five years. Stick to the issues and lay off of the negative stuff. I am voting for the candidate with the smarter policies!

    Voting in 08 for Obama/Biden!
    And My vote will be cast! I registered 2 months ago and I will be at my poll at 7 AM on Nov 4th.

    October 6, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  17. former gop

    McCain and Palin are behaving like a couple of catty cheerleaders.


    October 6, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  18. Susan, Newport

    Idiots are completely willing to elect Sara Palin to the possible highest
    office in the land, to take charge of their lives, knowing absolutely
    nothing of substance about her. This is how Hitler got into power.
    At least Senator Obama has been vetted. Believe me, he would not
    have gotten this far without the feds going over him with a fine tooth
    comb. You can't say the same about Sara Palin. It will be too late when
    you can't check certain books out of the library, or your daughter who's
    pregnant from rape can't have an abortion because fascist Palin won't
    allow it. Americans should wake up and stop being vunerable and
    stupid in their responsability to elect a qualified person to office. You
    see what happened to the country under Bush.

    October 6, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  19. kari, springfield VA

    I am sick of the smear! Personal attacks at this stage of the game will not do you any service McPalin! I have yet to hear what sort of "Change" your people plan to bring about, all I am hearing are personal attacks at Obama. Stop the crap!

    October 6, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  20. jm for sc

    This is what happens when a candidate is running out of idea, running out of time, and is out of touch. Obama taught me that. When you listen to a smart man like Obama, you learn a lot.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 6, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  21. banderson

    Misdirection, deception, propaganda this is the Republican way. The McCain campaign will do anything to win this election and they don't care if that means destroying our country. These are petty attacks and they know it. These people always talk about how you can't go backward and yet that is exactly what they do. BTW our military has bombed some villages in Afghanistan from the air and it has killed a lot of civilians and it has destroyed a lot of our credibility over there. Senator Obama is correct, we should be using more diplomacy and less military to accomplish our goals. Shame of John McCain, he would rather kill a bunch of civilians and then claim plausible deniability. This is the so called maverick who will reform things.

    October 6, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  22. Carl Dupont

    Bye Bye michigan, I AM SURE MCcAIN IS PLANNING TO WIHDRAW FROM OHIO, PA and MN, NC and VA. the next stage will be to withdraw from the National election!!!! I wish I was a democrate!!!

    October 6, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  23. a combat Vet

    This is from a real combat vet.

    I do not like Obama dissing our troops. Don't forget our troops gave us the freedom we enjoy today.

    If Obama thinks combat is easy why did he avoid going to Iraq and Afghanistan early and often.

    Obama is a jerk for saying this, "

    "We've got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we're not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there," Obama said of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.

    October 6, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  24. Mike, youngstown

    I used to respect John McCain but this sort of attack is beneath him. It was despicable when Karl Rove did it to McCain in 2000 and it's despicable now. I am going to donate more money to Obama to help get the message out about these lies? you hear tha Governor Palin? You just helped Obama/ Biden raise more money.

    October 6, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  25. Salliesue

    Well, at least now it's confirmed I chose wisely when I chose to support Obama/Biden. These acts of desperation should tell the entire American public just what they'd be getting if they vote for McCain/Palin – an administration that will change the subject as soon as they realize they don't have an answer and who have no ethical or moral line they are afraid to cross. I hope Americans are smarter than that – but time will tell. Obama may not have as much experience as McCain – but in this case, I think it's quality, not quantity. McCain is showing us the quality of his experience in these last days, for sure!

    October 6, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
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