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
-- 2:20 am ET: Meets with the President of Ukraine, Kiev, Ukraine
-- 4:00 am ET: Meets with the President of Ukraine, Kiev, Ukraine
-- 5:05 am ET: Attends social lunch with the President of Ukraine, Kiev, Ukraine
-- 6:20 am ET: Meets with the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Kiev, Ukraine
-- 7:45 am ET: Visits St. Sophia's Cathedral, Kiev, Ukraine
-- 8:45 am ET: Visits School 57, Kiev, Ukraine
-- 10:00 am ET: Releases report on construction spending for February, Washington, DC
POLITICAL NEWS STORIES ON ABCNEWS.COM
ABC News' Jake Tapper Reports: Clinton Says She's in Race Till Bitter End LINK
ABC News' Ron Claiborne Reports: McCain's '100 Year' Remark Hands Ammo to War Critics LINK
ABC News' Ed O'Keefe Reports: Pelosi: President Should Consider Boycotting Olympics' Opening LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper Reports: Hillary Claims She "Spoke Out Against" NAFTA Starting in 1992 LINK
ABC News' Bret Hovell Reports: Day 1: McCain's Service to America Tour LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper Reports: Likely to Be Omitted from McCain's Autobiography LINK
ABC News' Sunlen Miller and Z. Byron Wolf Reports: Obama: No Evidence of the "North American Union" LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper Reports: Hillary Denies Saying "Big Boys" Were Trying to Bully a Woman Out of the Race LINK
ABC News' Z. Byron Wolf Reports: New Dem Wave Cresting for Obama LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper Reports: Legal Eagles LINK
ABC News' Eloise Harper Reports: On Econ Tour, Clinton Says She's a 'Big Believer in Attitude' LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper Reports: Who's Scrubbing the Trinity United Church of Christ Website? LINK
ABC News' Sunlen Miller Reports: Obama Claims Characterization of McCain's Statement on Iraq is Fair LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper Reports: Debt Be Not Proud LINK
ABC News' Gary Langer Reports: November LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper Reports: Obama's Grandmama LINK
POLITICAL VIDEO ON ABCNEWS.COM
Obama Defends Depiction of McCain War Remark
Sen. Obama claims his characterization of a McCain Iraq statement is correct. LINK
Convention or Bust?!
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Paulson Calls for Massive Oversight Reform
Treasury Secretary offers significant restructuring plan for federal agencies. LINK
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Gov. Rendell and Sen. Casey analyze where the candidates stand in the polls. LINK
No Surrender for Clinton
The New York senator vows to stay in the presidential race until the convention. LINK
Obama's Bowling Blues
The senator racks up gutter balls while campaigning at a Pa. bowling alley. LINK
Cheers and Jeers: Bush's First Pitch
The president gets a mixed response as he kicks off the MLB season. LINK
Obama Chases Hillary in Pa.
In Pennsylvania, the senator is trying to cut in on Clinton's lead. LINK
Will Bush Plan Protect the Economy?
Proposal calls for giving the Fed more enforcement teeth, but is it enough? LINK
CIA on Al Qaeda's Safe Haven
Director says terrorist organization's new agents are more western looking. LINK
Cease Fire in Iraq
Anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr orders his men off the streets. LINK
McCain and Iraq
The senator's political fate seems tied to the war Iraq. LINK
Rendell and Kerry: Democrats United?
Clinton supporter Gov. Ed Rendell holds out hope for "dream ticket." LINK
Lieberman in McCain's Corner
Former Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman's journey across the aisle. LINK
Roundtable: Economic Meltdown?
George Will, Donna Brazile, Paul Krugman and Robert Reich. LINK
The Green Room: Buyer's Remorse
Behind the scenes with George Will, Claire Shipman, Jay Carney, Cynthia Tucker. LINK
Clinton Still Has A Chance
Strategist Bob Shrum: Clinton now being blamed for all negative campaigning. LINK
Obama's Magical Bus Tour
Sen. Obama sets out on a 6-day tour hoping to narrow Clinton's lead in Penn. LINK
Obama Wants Hillary to Stay
Democrat says, "Clinton can run as long as she wants." LINK
Obama-Like Philly Mayor Backs Clinton
Michael Nutter, who's been compared to Obama, says he'd have left Obama church. LINK