May 1st, 2012
04:35 PM ET
11 years ago

EXCLUSIVE: McCain: 'Good thing' president is in Afghanistan

Washington (CNN) – Sen. John McCain, who earlier this week leveled harsh criticism at President Barack Obama for what he said was the politicization of the killing of Osama bin Laden, said Tuesday he did not believe the president's trip to Afghanistan was a political move.

"Well I think it's a good thing," McCain said when asked about the president's surprise trip to Afghanistan. "I think it's always good when the president goes to where our young men and women are in harm's way and I think that many of us who have been involved in Afghanistan are very involved in the strategic partnership agreement, which I'm sure he will be talking about, and we think that the agreement is good and we obviously would like to know the details."

On Sunday, McCain slammed Obama for turning the one year anniversary of the raid that killed the al Qaeda chief into a "cheap political attack ad."

McCain issued a statement Sunday asserting: "No one disputes that the President deserves credit for ordering the raid, but to politicize it in this way is the height of hypocrisy."

McCain, who was pitted against Obama in the 2008 presidential race, is a top surrogate for the likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Republicans including Romney claim Obama is using the anniversary of bin Laden's death to gain political points ahead of November's general election.

On Tuesday, McCain said the president's Afghanistan visit did not constitute "spiking the football."

"No, I don't see it as that," McCain said. "And I wish the president would explain more often to the American people why Afghanistan is important, that Afghanistan not return to a base for attacks on America."

McCain did say it was "regrettable" Obama hasn't given a major address on Afghanistan since June 2011, when he announced plans for troop withdrawal from the country.

"The American people need to know why sacrifices are being made, and they are being made, and in my view the president really has been remiss in not talking to the American people and our young people are in harm's way," McCain said.

Filed under: Afghanistan • John McCain • President Obama
soundoff (163 Responses)
  1. Person of Interest

    It's funny how it's not ok to politicize the killing of bin Laden or a trip to Afghanistan but it's ok for CNN, FOX, MSNBC, BBC, etc. etc. to make millions of dollars covering the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Most of the millions these media companies make off the wars aren't for reporting the news but their "Commentary" shows that argue about it. I'd rather Obama and/or Romney politicize the wars (cause it might actually change or effect policy) than the media making billions off the suffering of others.

    May 2, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  2. Joseph

    Agreed. I'm a conservative who is happy to see the CinC getting a closer look at our boys and girls on the ground.

    May 2, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  3. gg

    i remember back in the 80s osama bin laden and sadam hussein were both republican hero,s one was fighting the soviet union one was fighting iran,i remember the documentaries,how sadam was building schools and hospitals and fighting iran and bin laden who was using his wealth to fight the russians when he could have been laying on a beach having a good time

    May 2, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  4. Independant Texan

    Why can`t Americans ever leave a country? We are still in every country we`ve ever been in since WWII, friend or foe.-- Just get the hell out and mind our own business .............

    May 2, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  5. guest

    McCain should think about going some where else to do something. He is taking water claims from Native Americans in Arizona. His state bill could be a violation of the treaties sign with two Native american Nations.

    May 2, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  6. SF

    for those republicans still ignorantly delusional saying this is all about 'politics' for Obama...first of all, he's not on some ship with a banner that reads "mission accomplished" when it wasn't...with an entire fleet. Obama DID ACCOMPLISH his mission....1. Iraq war over 2. OSAMA IS DEAD...and 3. Afhanistan will soon be over...just like he said it would be. If anyone deserves to brag is President Obama! you right wing nut jobs vote people in as looney as yourselves! and then you want to act as if YOUR candidate didn't lie, politicize wars or crap like that...GET A CLUE!

    OBAMA 2012!!!

    May 2, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  7. The Real Tom Paine

    Four and The Door

    When you make Osama Bin Laden #1 on your agenda for 10 years, create Homeland Security and the TSA, it's more than ok to brag when you bag him!
    Previous Presidents throughout US history have been very clear about giving full credit to the men and women in the military whenever there was credit to be given. Obama was all about,"I did this...", and " I made this decision...", and " I authorized that...". It is just a new approach to the Office of The President of The United States of America that just sets the bar quite a bit lower. No surprise from our Politician In Chief, especially with the results of the last 3 years and now he has to try and get reelected. I'm surprised the Democrats would even nominate him in 2012.
    I'm surprised the GOP will be nominating Mittens, given his record of raising fees and taxes in MA, and his effective abandonment of the job after 2 years. Does the new GOP have that short and attnetion span? Apparently yes

    May 2, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  8. pm

    Funny how Bush can appear on a battleship two weeks after the invasion of iraq and proclaim victory in a flight suit, but not a word from McCain and the GOP, but when the Obama administration actually killed public enemy number one and actually wants to stop the two illegal, unfunded wars the previous neo-cons started he is called out for politicizing it. Why not? Why wouldn't you point out your successes? It is because Mitt can't point to anything except making money off the backs of the middle class by breaking up companies and sending jobs overseas. i guess since Mitt can't tout his record, except for how much money he has made, the President isn't allowed to point to his sucess.

    May 2, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  9. Celeste

    Our President is a remarkable and great leader. No One measures up to him or the capabilities of his administration. It is about time John McCain takes a trunk seat to the politics and the rest of the odd idiots should as well. All Americans should want him to succeed and we need his hawkish, skillful, heroic and fearless talents for the next four years. America should vote for the Democratic Party as a full team and the whole team of The Democratic Party should continue to move the country in the right direction without all the stupid drama we have had to endure.

    May 2, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  10. ThinkAgain

    FACT: During the 2004 presidential election (February 24, 2004, to be exact), Ed Gillespie (former GW Bush advisor) said "If John Kerry had his policies in place today, Saddam Hussein would not only be in Baghdad, he'd be in Kuwait."

    FACT: GW Bush said in front of Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi (September 21, 2004): "We agree that the world is better off with Saddam Hussein sitting in a prison cell. And that stands in stark contrast to the statement my opponent made yesterday."

    But President Obama mentioning the FACT that on his order, Osama bin Laden was eliminated and also saying this in front of Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is somehow wrong, "disappointing" and in general unseemly?

    These Republicans are just JEALOUS that they will never be able to claim this kind of military success – or any kind of substantial success – because ALL of their economic, military and foreign policies are PROVEN FAILURES.

    Obama/Biden 2012 = The only way forward.

    May 2, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  11. Bobby

    Why is it that we have to have John McCain comment on every thing that President Obama does? If you haven't noticed over the past three and a half years, McCain is still bitter about losing the election to our countrys first black President. Move on CNN. There are 100 US Senators, let's get their opinion on things instead of always putting a microphone in old bitter John McCain's face all the time.

    May 2, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  12. Lynda/Minnesota

    Lucky for McCain he's got Dana Bash hanging onto him like a lost little puppy, else America might never know what John McCain thinks. Bit hypocritical to suggest that the killing of bin Laden isn't political, considering Bush used bin Laden to secure a second term. We've all seen the video clips. Hell, we LIVED it. I don't suppose it matters one way or another. OBL caused more damage to America than any other human being in history - past or future. I for one am glad he's dead. The rest of this three ring circus is just that ... a circus, with silly-man Romney the Ring Leader orchestrating from behind his safety net of useless blabber.

    May 2, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  13. ObamaJoe

    God bless America,,,

    God bless President Obama,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    May 2, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
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