McCain Camp Hits Obama Again on Iraq
Sunday, July 6, 2008
John McCain advisers Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia and Randy Scheunemann continued to hit Barack Obama for his position on withdrawing troops from Iraq, characterizing the Democrat Sunday as a flip-flopper whose positions change with the weather.
Obama has been thoroughly criticized in the past week for saying that he was refining his position on Iraq to make clear that he would take the advice of military commanders on the ground before pulling out U.S. troops. However, he also said he wants to move troops out of the country over the first 16 months of an Obama administration.
McCain’s camp says Obama’s inconsistency — since the expectation is that his position is unlikely to coincide with military commanders’ — is evidence of his failure to have visited Iraq since January 2006.
Obama “has held almost every conceivable position in the course of his relatively brief career in the Senate,” Scheunemann said. “You do literally need to have a kaleidoscope to follow Senator Obama’s positions on Iraq.”
Borrowing from an earlier speech by Obama, Scheunemann said, “Words do matter” and questioned what Obama’s true words on Iarq are. He claimed that in 2004-2005, Obama indicated he was open to additional troops to stabilize the situation in Iraq and he was opposed to a deadline for withdrawal or cutting off funds for troops in the field.
But in January 2007, Scheunemann said, Obama opposed the announced surge and later in the year voted to cut off funding for troops. In the fall of last year, Obama then said he would end the war and bring the troops home on his deadline.
“Now at the end of this week, we’ve seen a completely new position from him where he claimed he has always said the safety and security of the troops and the need to maintain stability in Iraq would guide his withdrawal — that is a new position, the need to maintain stability. He also said he would continue to refine his position,” Scheunemann said.
Cantor noted that he has said consistently that Obama is a great politician, “but he is a politician who’s caught between a rock and a hard place politically, because his anti-war base has frankly fueled the campaign, but reports have indicated now that the reality on the ground in Iraq is that there is progress that has been demonstrated.”