Wednesday, June 11, 2008

McCain Campaign Conference Call On Barack Obama And Iraq

Today, U.S. Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and John Thune (R-SD) and McCain campaign Foreign Policy Advisor Randy Scheunemann held a conference call on Barack Obama and Iraq, saying:

Senator Joe Lieberman: "Well, to put it mildly, I'm disappointed by these reflexive attacks on what Senator McCain said this morning on 'The Today Show,' because if you read the paragraph and not take a single clause out of context, it's very obvious what John McCain is saying and it's consistent with everything he's said along the way.

"I view the attacks on Senator McCain this morning as another partisan attempt to distort John McCain's words to distract the American people from the fact that John McCain has been both courageous and right about the Surge in Iraq, and Barack Obama has unfortunately been consistently wrong. And I think this is exactly the kind of partisan political game that the American people are sick and tired of. It's again obvious if you read the short paragraph that Senator McCain is saying what -- answering a question about what his estimate is based on the success of the Surge, which he's supported as I will get to in a minute."


"I must say that of the various parts of this attack on John this morning for these comments, the part that I find really most outrageous is the suggestion that he's out of touch with the needs of our troops and insensitive to their families. I mean the obvious fact is that more than most any American, Senator McCain knows the sacrifices that our men and women in uniform make and the burden that their families bear and it really is wrong to suggest otherwise."

Senator John Thune: "Joe described it well but let me just add, too, this clearly is a deliberate distortion that is trying to change the subject. The Democrats are trying to blow this up as an issue because they don't want to talk about the success of the Surge, and the stability that's been delivered throughout Iraq. And they don't want to talk about the differences between Senator McCain and Senator Obama which could not be more distinct when it comes to the issue of winning in Iraq. Senator McCain spoke out against the status quo. He called for the Surge. He has been the change candidate when it comes to our strategy in Iraq and his support for a change in tactics in Iraq should be credited for the current success and progress that is being made in the coun try today.

"Senator Obama on the other hand didn't have the experience to recognize the need and the wisdom of the Surge. He voted and spoke out against it. And now that it's produced needed results his feet are still stuck in the sand on this issue. He doesn't -- Senator Obama doesn't want to be held accountable for his mistaken position, and he's trying to use this to distract the media and the public.

"If you look at, again, the facts on this -- I mean, Senator McCain, as Joe said, has been their eight times. I've been to Iraq a couple of times with him. And my understanding is it's been 885 days since Senator Obama has been to Iraq, I mean he's never had a personal meeting with General Petraeus. There isn't anybody who has worked harder to stay informed and to try and fashion a strategy that would bring about victory and success than has Senator McCain. And frankly, to suggest for a moment, after everything that Senator McCain and his family have been through, that he doesn't understand the sacrifice our troops are making is just absurd."

Randy Scheunemann: "Cleary the Obama campaign is playing the cynical politics of the past and they want to divert attention from the progress in Iraq because they are so wedded to their strategy of defeat. What shows confusion in the issue of Iraq is Senator Obama's position that sticks with an arbitrary timetable for withdrawal when he says he will ignore events on the ground, ignore the advice of military commanders, and shows no concern for the consequences of a forced withdrawal to our interests in the region and to the interests of our armed forces.

"What shows confusion is in January 2007 when Senator Obama said adding 15 to 20,000 troops would not make a difference in sectarian violence, when it demonstrably did.

"What shows confusion is in 2005 when Senator Obama said we shouldn't cut off funds for troops in the field and to turn around in May 2007 and vote to cut off funds to our troops in Iraq, which had that position prevailed, would have forced the most precipitous withdrawal imaginable.

"And what shows confusion is to leave this rather murky statement about a counterterrorism force behind in Iraq to strike at al-Qaeda which Senator Obama has said as recently as March 2008. So I think it's clear which candidate and which campaign is confused about events on the ground in Iraq."

Listen To The Full Conference Call.

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