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. Jeff - Jax, FL

    What is dishonorable is that the McCain/Palin campaign is doing nothing but behaving like any other Republican trying to get elected. They realize they have nothing of value to sell, so they're just slinging mud because they know they can't win on their own merits.

    October 6, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  2. dianj

    So McCain has now gone on an all out negative attack spree. The same McCain who said (in his honorable days):

    MCCAIN: "Uh, I, I just have to rely on the good judgment of the voters not to buy into these negative attack ads. Sooner or later, people are going to figure out if all you run is negative attack ads you don't have much of a vision for the future or you're not ready to articulate it." [The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, 2/21/2000]

    October 6, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  3. Filipina

    "Who is Barack Obama" = The new president next month.


    October 6, 2008 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  4. Realistic

    So killing civilians is honorable? Oh, I forgot, that's what McCain did in Vietnam ................

    October 6, 2008 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  5. PA voter

    Wow! This is the bet they got? Our economy is crumbling right before our eyes and even with this $700B bailout, we won't be thru this mess before 2010...at best! In spite of all that, he is talking about some comments Sen. Obama made a year ago about strikes on Afghanistan? And, by the way, Sen. Obama was correct. Our strikes have been haphazard. They need to be controlled and effective! He's wrong for saying that? Get real, John!

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


    October 6, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  7. Chris S.

    Im truly amazed and outraged that Mccain would rather make this campiagn out Barack Obama than make this about the issues like the economy, healthcare, Joblosses. I mean come on dude. Sarah Palin is officially a joke for using the race card against Barack. Yes he is black but to say he is not like "us white people" is a new low. I hope they lose in a landslide and Sarah Palin disappear forever. I refuse to vote for Sarah Palin who can never match up to Hillary Clinton. John Mccain just puts this untested, unqualified, out-of-touch, unknown person on his ticket and expect millions to follow them blindly. No way, No how, No John Mccain

    October 6, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  8. Kristen

    McCain is once again running an ad on a topic where Obama was proven correct. McCain's going to shoot himself in the foot on this one once the public realizes Obama was right and Obama wants to divert troops from Iraq to Afghanistan to correct this problem.

    October 6, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  9. Brain in DC

    Running out of ideas and out of time, the dirtiest phase of the campaign begins. All we are going to hear from the Republican campaign is personal attacks on Obama and fear mongering. Using their obedient announcer Palin.
    Hey John, are you still their? Any attempt to regain control of your campaign? It carries your name after all!

    October 6, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  10. Bruce

    Again this was fact checked last week and is a mis-statment of what was said.
    McCain is getting desperate...just remember what the last republican attack against a democrat got us ...BUSH.....
    The Ayers thing is a non issue.
    McCain and Palin talk about what you are going to do and how, that is what the voters want to hear..we are all tired of the negatives and no answers from you.

    October 6, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  11. Roslyn

    Regarding this ad, I clearly heard Obama say that he strongly supported Afganistan. He recommended more funding for the war in Afganistan. His plan is on line, but Dog-Onit! can Sarah or McCain use the internet.

    October 6, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  12. Ryan, Florida

    Who do the Republicans think they are kidding? They still think the American voter is stupid?

    October 6, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  13. Desperate

    Trash. Just simply....trash. Will they stop at nothing?

    October 6, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  14. Ken in Dallas

    Even to attack his political opponent, McCain can't come up with a credible charge. Obama said what he said because ot was the truth.

    McCain's campaign claims the truth is hurting our troops, and it is, but it won't hurt them one bit less if we lie to ourselves about it. The troops know what's going on, and they have to sleep at night and look at themselves in the mirror, whether we share that truth with them or not. McCain and Palin want us to lie to ourselves not to benefit the troops, but to benefit themselves.

    Can we bear to know the horrors to which we have consigned our young people? Can we ever really know them again if we don't acknowledge what we put them through?

    Honor the man who speaks the truth, for the truth will set you free.

    Let the McCain campaign drown in its own mendacity.

    October 6, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  15. Robert M. Herbst

    Our country has serious issues with the concept of truth. There is no truth in advertising from hamburgers to politcal cadidates; it is time that the citizens of the United States of America demand truth by voting against those who twist the truth or just plain lie. Let's prove that we want the truth and a positive outlook–vote no to negative campaign ads. I'm tired of people just making things up as they go, and what is worst–the fact that many people of our great nation believe what they hear without question.

    Want to put our country on the right track? Start by being honest!

    October 6, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  16. sandy

    How Sad! McCain has shown he will do and say anything to become president. If anyone is dishonorable,it;s McCain. He has chosen his own presidential aspirations over his country by having Palin who is not qualified to be a possible president over the security of this country. It's turned into a very sad campaign.

    October 6, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  17. tatanka

    Go ahead McSame attack attack attack how about the economy stupid what are you going to do about it? I know nothing nothing nothing.
    To vote Republican for anyone who isn't rich is to vote against your own interests. Republicans ARE FOR WALL STREET. Democrats are for MAIN STREET

    October 6, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  18. pam Eugene OR

    Enough smear. The voters will decide on the honor of the candidates. Let's hear about the economy if you have any thing to say McCain.
    The lies won;t win for you.
    Concerned Voter

    October 6, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  19. btodd

    Lies, lies and more lies. Is this all McCain can do? Take a comment out of context and make a lie out of it? McPathetic will get what he deserves in the end...a landslide loss in the election and a long-overdue retirement.

    October 6, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  20. roy -IL

    This is the sign of a sad and desparate campaign, scaping the bottom of the barrell for any lies that can shore up McCain's slipping numbers. What happened to the straight-talking express? It is now a 'Bull-Talking MESS'!! McCain said at the convention to pick your fights carefully. Is this how he fights, with lies and innuendo?? Dirty fightling?? This is America First? Lies? Muckraking? Hey John, we just had 8 years of this, it was called the Bush administration. MORE OF THE SAME, and SHAME ON JOHN MCCAIN!

    October 6, 2008 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  21. Aviate

    Another day. Another desperate, dishonest and despicable ad from John McCain. The ad says "Change is coming" but the only thing McCain has changed is his promise to run an positive, honest campaign on the issues.

    As McCain himself once said, if all someone can do is run negative ads, it must mean they don't have anything to say on the issues that matter. He was certainly right about that.

    October 6, 2008 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  22. Greg M.

    Go away republicans, just go away o,k.

    October 6, 2008 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  23. Bruce

    You pathetic old fool and your sidekick Nitwit moran.
    Dishonourable Idiot wants to win the election by distraction?
    Americans are smarter than that.
    Vote Obama

    October 6, 2008 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  24. Bob in Western Pennsylvania

    Once again McCain is trying to distract voters from the issues we need to deal with.

    October 6, 2008 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  25. Dave V.

    More slander. Read the AP fact check. This kind of campaign tactics will not work this year. People want real answers not "Smear".

    October 6, 2008 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
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