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. Chuck

    Oh what a glorious morning. The Republicans are down in the most recent national polls. Palin and McCain (notice who I put first since she has become the mouth of the campaign) are attacking Obama's character because they have nothing left. People except the racist, religious, evangelical zealots are wising up to the Palin / McCain lies and rhetoric. And best of all, there are only 26 more days until we don't have to hear from these two incredibly divisive, fear mongering, intelectually deficient, morally inept politicians. When they say watch the gloves come off, they mean watch how the two of us can distort the truth and show our true lack of character. But we will do it in the name of "Jesus". Praise the Lord.

    October 6, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  2. GARY


    October 6, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  3. KD NY, NY

    Did Obama ever apologize for using this phrase? Or did he just regret it like he did when he gave his "small town people" speech in San Francisco? "denounce" and "reject" may have similar meanings but "regret" and "I apologize" are completely different. Of course, this is coming from the guy who can't say he was wrong about the surge. Obama is like Bush in the worst way, they are both stubborn men who cannot admit when they have failed the American people.

    October 6, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  4. Amy, DC

    Oh my god, the McCain campaign has fallen so low on this one. There is a financial crisis, and I can't believe they are purposely trying to shift the focus away from the economy knowing how disastrous this could be for the future of our country. How out of touch!
    People are losing jobs, factories are closing and McCain finds nothing to do than declaring openly that he will shift away the focus from the economy.
    That my friend, is what i call DISHONORABLE.

    October 6, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  5. JW

    and John don't forget to note that he is black, Muslim, unpatriotic, aloof – all the negative stuff I hear every day from my dittohead friends.

    October 6, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  6. Tony

    Just more and more proof that Barack Obama isn't ready to lead - and never will be. I look forward to the Obamabots coming on here and complaining, and feel that I should remind them that if they haven't registered to vote yet: TOO BAD. Enjoy the sidelines.

    October 6, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  7. Ron Van Der Maarel

    PALIN – What a gigantic DUFUS – IF the people of the Republican party really think she is qualified for V.P. / President it is time for all of U to STOP & THINK about OUR country & its FUTURE!

    October 6, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  8. Looking for policy facts

    Will there ever be a time when the Republicans will run an ad that details their OWN plan to fix America? I see these ads that details what Obama wants to try to do but nothing from the Republicans. If they want my vote I suggest putting some substance into their ads. This is not a highschool homecoming vote so stop wth the rumors and he said she said crap.

    October 6, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  9. Deb n Texas

    McCain needs to explain why Palin is standing at the alter with this African witchcraft pastor laying hands on her, that is what McCain needs to answer if he wants to get tough.

    October 6, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  10. Julia in Eugene, Oregon

    Seriously? Senator McCain wants to play the who said what how long ago game? Really?

    Roll 'em out, campaign. You've got 26 years of "misspeaks" and "at the time, correct with the information known" quotes of McCain's to use.

    Let alone Gov Palin's complete lack of knowledge of Afghanistan. Who's the commander on the ground there, Governor?

    October 6, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  11. Concerned INDEPENDENT CT voter

    Look at the Dow -278pts .... omg... why are Republicans trying to talk about old stuff?


    October 6, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  12. Baze

    The McPain ticket disgusts me. What they can't beat they destroy.


    October 6, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  13. Slash

    McCain, who the hell are you to talk about honor? After voting against increased education benefits for returning vets, voting against children's health care because it relied on a tax increase (on cigarettes, which are just a wee bit more luxury than health care), voting against the torture ban (along with Bush), who are you to talk about honor?

    And after you and your running mate's disgusting lies about Obama, labeling him as a terrorist sympathizer, you have no right to open your mouth about anything. Be quiet, old man, and pray that Obama doesn't bring up your cheating on your first wife, your involvement in the Keating Five scandal, or revisit Hagee and Parsley.

    October 6, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  14. Joe

    Here's my question. If the McCain Palin ticket is going to complain about the media's distortions of comments made by the Governor in media interviews, then why does this campaign feel so compelled to "explain" or distort comments made by Senator Obama?

    Let's face it, the McCain Palin ticket has nothing to say about moving this country forward. All it can do is try to make people feel that Senator Obama is a risky choice. Well, as the economy continues to falter, sticking with the same team we have now (which is essentially what the McCain Palin ticket offers) is pretty darn risky, too.

    It is time for a change and even the style of negative campaign he has run proves that Senator McCain is just more of the same.

    October 6, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  15. Tired

    I'm getting so sick of reading all this propaganda from the right. McCain should spend less time trying to twist the truth to his favor and more time concentrating on how he's going to save himself in the last two debates because those are his last chance.

    October 6, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  16. Levi in Iowa

    If you watch this disgusting and misleading video you'll see that the comment in question is perhaps the most poorly edited clip ever seen on national television. In order to serve their partisan purpose they had to chop Obama's words so tight it looks like a high school audition tape.

    McCain is the one without any honor, and as we look deeper into his past with the Keating Five and his questionable performance as a soldier and a non-leader, the choice for president becomes more clear - and it's Obama who can best lead us.

    October 6, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  17. David

    How come whenever Obama is crtical it's "Brillant" but,
    when McCain is critical it's "negative" ?

    When is Obama going to be asked about…..

    Receiving $125K from Fannie Mae
    His aide Frank Raines-ExCeo at Fannie.
    His aide Jim Johnston another Fannie Executive
    The $100K Obama got a campaign supporter to build a park, that wasn’t built?
    Ties to Radical Bill Ayers?
    Ties to ACORN, a radical organization and tied to the mortgage mess?
    Possible bribes to reporters for favorable artic

    October 6, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  18. jm for sc

    I hope the Obama campaign launch an ad regarding Palin's husband desire to be disconnected from America. I think Palin's husband has much more influence on her than Ayers had on Obama. I based my opinion on the fact that Palin can not speak without being programmed while Obama can.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 6, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  19. Muckinello

    Here comes the mudslinger.. with his kitchen sink strategy. It made my commitment to Obama stronger! I believe McShame will come to regret this king of politics. Talk about the issues!! My 401(k) is in shambles! That's what I care the most.

    McCain.. hopelessly out of touch!

    October 6, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  20. E POP

    But the fact is that allowing racism to creep into the discussion serves a purpose for McCain. As the fallout from Wright's sermons showed earlier this year, forcing Obama to abandon issues to talk about race leads to unresolved arguments about America's promise to treat all people equally.

    John McCain occasionally looks back on decisions with regret. He has apologized for opposing a holiday to honor Martin Luther King Jr. He has apologized for refusing to call for the removal of a Confederate flag from South Carolina's Capitol.

    John McCain is pulling the race card and making it seem that Obama is now a terrorist. McCain is desperate and is trying anything to win. And having his uninformed beauty queen to do the dirty work for him. It's over!

    October 6, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  21. Bruce

    McCain is beneath contempt. Taking a statement out of context and trying to smear someone is shameful.

    McCain how can Americans elect you and trust you when they see that you LIE all the time. No One Can Trust You. We do not need another BUSH that leads by lieing.

    October 6, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  22. Obama or Bust

    Please – pathetic ,desperate, crabby old man. It's obvious you smell defeat and are running scared. You have nothing new to offer America, so you have chosen to take the dirty campaign trail, huh??!!

    October 6, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  23. donmcybertect

    Good luck with that, John. Wasn't it you who said that using attack ads were the result of not having vision or any clear plan?

    October 6, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  24. Jessica

    McLame is a sad, sad excuse for a presidential candidate.

    October 6, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  25. carmen collins-foran

    The saddest part in all this is seeing Senator McCain, a man I used to respect ,lose his soul. Obama/Biden 08

    October 6, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
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