John McCain's "100 years" comment about Iraq was perfect fodder for Barack Obama.
Asked in January about President Bush's willingness to keep a US troop presence in Iraq for 50 years, McCain cut off the questioner, saying, "Make it a hundred."
"We've been in Japan for 60 years," said McCain. "We've been in South Korea for 50 years, or so. That's fine with me as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed."
Even though the Arizona senator explained that he was referring to stationing troops in Iraq for 100 years rather than engaging in a century-long war, McCain's comment was a potential gift for Obama . . . as long as the Illinois Democrat played it straight.
If Obama had simply said on a regular basis that McCain is willing to stay in Iraq for 100 years, the Illinois Democrat would have been on solid ground -- and many in his audience might STILL assume that an on-going war is what McCain had in mind or that such a war would be inevitable.
Obama could also sensibly say, as he tried to do Monday, that without a "clear definition of success," U.S. fighting in Iraq could stretch on for much longer.
But rather than sticking to an airtight retelling of McCain's words, Obama deviated from McCain's comment on more than one occasion.
This is how Obama characterized McCain's position during a Feb. 9th town-hall meeting in Bangor, Maine: "And when it comes to foreign policy, John McCain says he wants to fight a hundred year war, a hundred years he says, as long as it takes. That is not designed to make us safe that is simply stubbornness. That is designed to try to make a bad decision look better." LINK
Obama was confronted on Monday for converting McCain's willingness to stay in Iraq into the unsubstantiated claim that McCain "wants to fight a hundred-year war."
While speaking to reporters at the Wo Go gas station in Lititz, Pa., Obama was asked by ABC's David Wright if his comments amounted to the kind of politics as usual that the Illinois Democrat often accuses Hillary Clinton of practicing.
"No, no, no, no. I don't think. I don't think. I don't think it's unfair at all," said Obama (ignoring comments he made in Maine and elsewhere). "I mean we can run the YouTube spot."
Watch Obama's extended Monday response HERE:
Watch McCain's original comments which were made at a January town-hall meeting in New Hampshire HERE.
The kicker: "I'm just quoting back what he said, unless you tell me that's a misquote." --Barack Obama on John McCain at a media availability in Lititz, Pa.
On the campaign front. . .
-- 11:45 am ET: Attends town hall meeting with voters, Wilkes-Barre, PA
-- 3:25 pm ET: Attends town hall meeting with voters, Scranton, PA
-- 11:15 am ET: Delivers remarks to the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, Philadelphia, PA
-- 2:30 pm ET: Attends town hall meeting with voters, Wilkes-Barre, PA
-- 7:30 pm ET: Attends rally with voters, Erie, PA
-- 11:45 am ET: Attends event with voters, Havre, MT
-- 3:00 pm ET: Attends event with voters, Great Falls, MT
-- 5:30 pm ET: Attends event with voters, Helena, MT
-- 7:45 pm ET: Attends event with voters, Butte, MT
As for the Republicans. . .
-- 10:15 am ET: Attends town hall meeting with voters, Alexandria, VA
-- Appears on the Late Show with David Letterman
At the White House and Beyond. . .
-- 2:00 am ET: Participates in arrival ceremony, Kiev, Ukraine