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. Nick

    Barack Obama is a man who is willing to voice hard truths, even if it's not what people want to hear. Enough of the Bush/Palin feel-good nonsense – let's get a REAL straight talker into the White House.

    October 6, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  2. J

    I guess you have to go what you have to do when you have no ideas and can't even hang in a debate on the issues... but I am sure all the racists will still vote you...

    October 6, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  3. Eric

    Barack is not that bad at least he has some experience compared to Sara Palin who can't even speak without the permission of John McCain, the bottom line is we don't want to here about the lies that she is trying to bring up, we need to hear about how we will be able to survive in this country with the job rate being like it is, I hear people say obama has something to do with fannie mae and company, but wasn't it John McCain who received 169.000 dollars from lobbist of fannie mae and Barack only received 16.000

    October 6, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  4. Nervous in Texas

    McCain/Palin really gives me the creap. And that feeling is growing by the minute. All they do is underhanded stuff. Our ecomomy is in the sh**ter and this is all that you have? People's 401K are pummeting and you want to play dirty politics. Y not talk about how your wife stole funds from her charity org, or how Palin & fam want to separate from the US and not up hold the American flag, or how you yourself are the board of director of an organization with terrorist ties, oh and thank you so much for taking campaign contributions from Charles Keating. But I guess if you say you're sorry then we should forgive you. But if Obama is in the same room as say Keating then he would be taking bribes from a convicted felon? And what about Rick Davis your top campaign advisor, being on the take for Freddie and Frannie all the way til last month when the gov finally took it over. Mr.McCain, you were the victim of this same style of politic in 04' and now you have enlisted all the key players to run the same type of tactics. Stop selling your soul.

    October 6, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  5. Sue

    Obama just talks and talks and talks, says what he thinks is appealing to the group he is talking to. He has no culture, no background, no character, no firm values. He is an empty suit, and Americans want him to be leader of this country? They must be either black,demented or just plain idiots.
    They are certainly swayed by nuances, accepting of lies with smiles, wanting their leader to give them something by taking from someone else. What foolishness!

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

    Since when did it become dishonorable to tell the truth? Yes we are doing more in Afghanistan than what Sen. Obama said, but if honestly the Republicans will not admit that stuff is happening, then none of them deserve to be in office, because they are blatantly putting the blinders on and ignoring basic truths. This has nothing to do with being against war, I am an ROTC cadet and you have to be able to admit when bad is happening in order to bring good.

    October 6, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  7. Ron from Baltimore

    McCain, you are pathetic. "Dishonorable" is how you apparently want to be remembered. Shoddy campaigning, shoddy campaign staff. Out with the bunch of you; highly UNAMERICAN MCCAIN.




    October 6, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  8. Annette

    I think McCain/Palin better call it back. They are just asking for same to start on them. People really don't want to hear this garbage. They want issues. It really is the economy stupid.

    Palin is ruining any chance she will ever have of being a national figure by going so negative in the race. Gutter politics has no place right now with jobs, health care and housing in the position it is in.

    She also has some really bad things in her own mirror she needs to worry about. Troopergate, AIP, her witch hunter pastor, then her saying the preacher and her saying that the war in Iraq is a mission from God. People that didn't vote for Bush are going to hell, things like this.

    Does McCain really want to go there????

    October 6, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  9. Jason Jackson

    John McCain may have alzhermiers...he refused to release his Medical Records to the public and he is 72 years old. When he gets like this ...attacking Obama via his nurse he has started to scare me. Who is the real John McCain? Why doesn't he release his medical records? Why does he really not like Obama? In the next couple of days I am going to get my 401 K statement...Depending on how that looks someone will get my vote. This election is not about John McCain or Obama it is about me. The economy stinks and while John McCains poll numbers are dropping it seems like he will say or do anything to hold on to the White House for GW Bush......Mcshame please release your medical records. I don't want a 72 year old man with cancer who has his nurse as VP running the Country. John McCain may have alzhermiers and we don't know.

    October 6, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  10. Still for Hill, but voting McCain

    In Obama's interview with Bill O'Reilly, Bill asked Obama how long it had been since he had talked with Ayers.

    Obama's response: "I haven't spoke with Ayers in 18 months."

    Ironic that Obama has been campaining for about 18 months, right?

    Still for Hill, but voting McCain!

    October 6, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  11. donmcybertect

    Hmmm...connections to unsavory characters? Let's talk about the Keating 5!

    October 6, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  12. KJL

    Everyone in this country is sick of war except McCain. He wants to just BOMB BOMB BOMB everyone he doesn't like, civilians and all.

    October 6, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  13. Cincinnati girl

    Next up, McCain advisors decode the true meaning behind Obama's kindergarten paper "Why I Want to Be President".

    So much for not wanting to look backwards.

    October 6, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |

    McCain AGREED with Bush to pull our troops out of Afghanistan, and start the war in Iraq...... It is so sad to see McCain has truly lost his bearings.... McCain is FULL of Anger, Hostility, and very ERRATIC.

    October 6, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |

    air-raiding villages and killing civilians? and obama want to be the commander of these soldiers "How dishonorable." obama hate the fact that we are destroying the terrorist and seams for him that is not fair fight for the terrorist he want to make the fight fair for the terrorist by down playing and ultimately destroy our forces and the terrorist will have there fair fight. "How dishonorable."

    October 6, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  16. Bryan from Scranton

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news to McCain (and I am in no way trying to "dishonor the troops", but, unfortunately, Obama is correct...we did accidentially bomb civilians. This was reported in the NYT, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, the AP...should I go on? Will McCain attack the media again?

    October 6, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  17. Glenn

    What is dishonorable is a smear campaign based on half-truths and statements taken out of context. Why can't the McCain campaign stick with real issues that matter instead trying to create diversions? I was once a supporter of Senator McCain, but after his statements over the last 14 months I switched. This country cannot stand McBush policies and politics.

    October 6, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  18. Marcus

    How desperate is this 72 year old man.
    He puts himself first- not the party, not the country, not ethics, no morals.
    His judgement for VP? Tina Fey is better.
    McIdiot, McShame.
    What ever credit you had with the public is gone. There is no legacy left except for your negatives-greed, young models, gambling,dishonourable pow record, keating 5, and the list goes on and on–

    October 6, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  19. Bruce

    McCain you have TOLD SO MANY LIES that you must think American People are STUPID and you prove that by your choice for VP she is dumb enough to go around telling the same lies.

    Telling lies often does not meke them become true. They only show how stupid the person is that keeps telling them.


    October 6, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  20. jerome

    Get a life John!

    October 6, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  21. lanae

    I am so sick of the republicans.They have no solutions to this crisis they caused with lobbyist, inside crooked dealings and shady deals. They have caused the greatest financial catastrophe since the depressing and all they can do is smear obama with lies. Keep it up and it will be a landslide victory for obama cause people are fed up with this garbage.

    October 6, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  22. sabuc

    Desperate times calls for desperate measures. Did anybody expect any less from them?

    October 6, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  23. Chris from NY

    McCain is speaking to deaf ears. The millitary has all these data and still giving to Obama 6:1 in contribution and "D" for McCain and "B+" in marks for representing their interests. McCain is really desperate and grasping for straws. His house is on fire and all he can do is go after the rat that ran out from the burning house.

    October 6, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  24. Ryan

    I guarantee everyone here will love McCain a year from now if he's not elected president...that includes the New York Times, moveon.org and CNN.

    October 6, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  25. Mrs. Texas Teacher

    "Never wrestle with a hog. You will just get dirty, and the hog likes it."

    I wish I could recall who said that. But it doesn't matter. This is what the McCain Camp has come to. When you run out of facts and start attacking the character of your opponent, the debate is over! These are the tactics of desparation. McCain/Palin are just that, desparate!

    Obama/Biden all the way.

    October 6, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
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