McCain Says He Could Lose Over Iraq War Stance

Discussion in 'Politics' started by ByLoSellHi, Feb 25, 2008.

  1. McCain Says He Could Lose Over War Issue

    Published: February 25, 2008

    Filed at 10:44 p.m. ET

    ROCKY RIVER, Ohio (AP) --
    John McCain said Monday that to win the White House he must convince a war-weary country that U.S. policy in Iraq is succeeding. If he can't, ''then I lose. I lose,'' the Republican said.

    He quickly backed off that remark.

    ''Let me not put it that stark,'' the likely GOP nominee told reporters on his campaign bus. ''Let me just put it this way: Americans will judge my candidacy first and foremost on how they believe I can lead the country both from our economy and for national security. Obviously, Iraq will play a role in their judgment of my ability to handle national security.''

    ''If I may, I'd like to retract 'I'll lose.' But I don't think there's any doubt that how they judge Iraq will have a direct relation to their judgment of me, my support of the surge,'' McCain added. ''Clearly, I am tied to it to a large degree.''

    The five-year-old Iraq conflict already is emerging as a fault line in the general election, with the Arizona senator calling for the U.S. military to continue its mission while his Democratic opponents urge speedy withdrawal.

    While most Republicans still back the war, many independents and Democrats don't. That presents a significant challenge for McCain and an opportunity for either Barack Obama or Hillary Rodham Clinton.

    McCain acknowledged the war will be ''a significant factor in how the American people judge my candidacy.''

    The lead Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, McCain has consistently backed the war although he's long criticized the way it was waged after the Saddam Hussein's fall. He was an original proponent of President Bush's troop-increase strategy, having called for more forces on the ground for several years. Last spring, McCain went all in on the war by embracing it as Bush took heat for boosting troop levels to quell violence.

    ''We can fail in Iraq,'' McCain said Monday in an Associated Press interview. But, he added: ''I see a clear path to success in Iraq.'' He defined that as fewer casualties and Iraqi troops taking over security to allow U.S. forces to return home. ''All of us want out of Iraq, the question is how do we want out of Iraq,'' he added.

    McCain has signaled that he plans to make Iraq and national security a major part of his general election campaign. Daily, he accuses both Obama and Clinton as wanting to ''wave the white flag of surrender.'' Democrats, for their part, are arguing that McCain's candidacy is simply a continuation of Bush's ''failed'' policies. They have seized on a previous McCain remark in which he suggested that U.S. troop presence -- at some level -- could extend 100 years or more.

    At a town hall-style meeting in suburban Cleveland, McCain accused Democrats of distorting that comment and sought to explain. ''The war will be over soon, the war for all intents and purposes, although the insurgency will go on for years and years and years. But it will be handled by the Iraqis, not by us,'' he said. Like after other wars, he said, the United States then will decide ''what kind of security arrangement we want to have with the Iraqis.''

    While McCain attracts voters across the political spectrum, he is sure to face resistance this fall for his Iraq position in Ohio and other swing states that have seen high numbers of residents die in Iraq.

    Over the next eight months, McCain said he would take the same approach when discussing Iraq that he's taken all year as he won primary after primary on his way to securing the GOP nomination.

    Speaking to reporters on his bus, he said he would ''tell them that I understand their frustration and their sorrow over the sacrifice that has been made and then I try to explain to them what's at stake and what's going on there now. And that's the best I can do.''

    McCain said his candidacy will be successful ''if I can convince the American people, the people of Ohio, that this is succeeding, that the casualties will continue down, although there are occasional spikes.''

    ''So I have to, and I believe can, make an argument that the surge is succeeding, that we will end this war and have the Iraqis take over those responsibilities as we more and more assume support roles and then withdraw,'' he added.

    McCain recalled reading a USA Today poll that he said showed most people believe the troop-increase strategy is succeeding, and said: ''Now, still the majority of Americans want out of Iraq. And, I understand that, too. So do I.''

    The survey actually found that 43 percent -- not a majority -- said the troop increase is ''making the situation there better,'' up from 22 percent in July.

    Asked why he asked to retract the ''I lose'' remark, McCain said much else could impact his chances.

    ''We've got many months to go before the general election,'' he said. ''But is Iraq an important part of the judgment that people will make of me, of course.''
  2. Sam321


    He's the only one who complained about the Iraq War correctly.

    While some said that we "stay the course," the rest ran like headless chickens finding reasons why we should split the scene completely, so Iraq can see hundreds of thousands more dead and have its oil surrendered to the Islamist pricks. How stupid.

    As I have said so many times on this forum (go ahead and search): taking Iraq makes a lot of long term geopolitical/economic sense.

    McCain complained about us doing a bad job in Iraq, and rightly so. But never suggested that we cut and run as a means to solve the problem.
  3. McCain has been right about iraq, but it's not like he came up with some inspired policy. It was obvious to a lot of people for a long time we needed both more troops and a change in tactics. Still, he gave Bush some important congressional backing and uncharacteristically bucked the mainstream media in doing it.

    The thing that scares people about McCain is that he seems to want to duplicate the post WW II foreign basing model. He sees a role for US troops in Iraq and the middle east that stretches indefinitely. Neither the Ron Paul wing of the republican party or large majorities of democrats and independents share that vision. McCain's notorious temper and thin-skinnedness are also a concern. Obama reassures voters. He is calm and seems to have good judgment. McCain by contrast seems angry, ready to explode and a large portion of his own party thinks he has terrible judgment.

    Rumors persist that McCain could have a Gary Hart-style girlfriend problem. The Times story about the Iseman woman was poorly supported, but it was hardly implausible. Somewhere out there could be some pictures of McCain with a hot woman not his wife. That will be the end of his candidacy.
  4. Do you seriously believe that the republican smear machine does not have a picture of Obama with another woman stashed away somewhere? Or worse... a picture of Obama with the Koran.
  5. That will be the end of Obama then. I doubt it exists however. Clintons would have played it by now.

    It's ironic that the same thing didn't affect Bill Clinton at all when he ran. But he was running as a charming reformed rogue. McCain is running as a self righteous, sanctimonious know it all, reminding listeners every other sentence that he was right about the surge and was a POW. Anyone who disagrees with him is either corrupt or evil. He couldn't survive a scandal.
  6. He keeps saying it's up to Petraeus to make the withdrawal call. So maybe if the good general gets religion before the election allowing McCain to campaign on a date certain for us to get out -he'd have winning strategy.

    Short of that, Reps are going to get cleansed.