Barack Obama told ABC News' Terry Moran today in Baghdad that he still opposes the troop surge in Iraq and said that he was "absolutely convinced" at the time last year that the political debate on the issue had to change.
While Obama was meeting with Iraq's political leadership and U.S. military commanders including Gen. David Petraeus, John McCain campaigned in Maine and issued a strong criticism of the presumptive Democratic nominee's positions on Iraq.
McCain's plan for the week is to focus on domestic issues like the economy and energy but he spent part of his day pushing back on Obama's trip and hammering Obama, "someone who has no military experience whatsoever," as wrong on Iraq and the troop surge.
"He said it would fail and he refuses to this day to acknowledge it's succeeded. And my friends that's what judgment is about," McCain said. "That's why I'm qualified to lead and I don't need any on the job training."
Tivo Alert! Moran's interview with Obama will air tonight on Nightline.
Obama continues his overseas jaunt and heads to Amman Jordan tomorrow where he will meet with King Abdullah. The presumptive Democratic nominee will also hold a media availability in Amman. His traveling companions, Sens Jack Reed and Chuck Hagel, will join him when he takes questions from the press.
McCain will hit up several battleground states week to continue the domestic policy focus -- but how many questions will he get related to Obama's trip? On Tuesday, McCain holds a town hall in Rochester, NH and will talk about the economy and energy.
Today the McCain campaign released a new ad hitting Obama hard on gas prices. ABC News' Jennifer Duck reports that the ad criticizes Obama for not supporting offshore drilling and blames Obama for rising prices at the pump.
Per Duck, in the ad, a gas pump ticks up rising into the $5.00 range, a narrator asks "Who can you thank for rising prices at the pump?" Cue a photo of Obama next a picture of a gas pump and a crowd chanting, "Obama, Obama." The tag line:"Don't hope for more energy. Vote for it. McCain."
Per the McCain campaign, the ad will be cycled into their current buy on national cable and in key battleground states (Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin).
The McCain campaign is trying to cut through the media hoopla surrounding the Obama trip overseas by reaching out to local press and offering an op-ed to the New York Times, following up on Obama's last week. ABC News' Rick Klein and Sara Just report that the Times rejected McCain's piece on Friday night and asked for a rewrite to "respond directly to some of the claims in the Obama piece, and include an outline of the Republican's timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq and conditions for withdrawal."
On the campaign front. . .
-- 9:15 am ET: Radio interview.
-- 10:00 am ET: Attends meeting with Union Leader publisher Joe McQuaid.
-- 12:00 pm ET: Attends town hall event with voters, Rochester, NH.
-- 3:20 pm ET: Attends meeting with NH convention delegation.
-- 5:30 pm ET: Attends private fundraiser, Baltimore, MD.
-- Amman, Jordan.
At the White House. . .
-- 1:30 pm ET: Attends White House event in Honor of Colombian Independence Day.