Obama Focuses Iraq Attacks on McCain

By Ed O'Keefe

Mar 20, 2008 12:25pm

ABC News’ Sunlen Miller Reports: Barack Obama is looking back on Iraq and forward to the general election.

For the second day in a row, Obama, D-Ill., delivered an Iraq-themed speech pegged to fifth anniversary of the start of military operations on March 19, 2003.

In a 26-minute address, the Democratic contender criticized both nomination rival Senator Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and potential general election foe Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., but Obama mentioned McCain’s name nine times and Clinton’s name only once.

Watch the VIDEO HERE.

"Because of the Bush-McCain politics, our debt has ballooned. This is creating problems in our fragile economy," Obama told the Charleston, West Virginia, crowd.

Much of the speech was spent attempting to connect McCain with President Bush uin an attempt to paint McCain as responsible for the negatives of the war.

Obama complimented former President George H.W. Bush, saying he understood how important it was to manage the costs of war, but reserved no mercy for the current President.

"None of this has been the case in the war George W. Bush and John McCain have waged the current Iraq war," he added.

Obama asserted that McCain "refuses" to learn from the "failures" of the Bush years and claimed instead of offering an exit strategy from Iraq, McCain is offering a 100-year occupation.

"John McCain seems determined to carry out a third Bush-term," Obama said.

Obama also criticized McCain for his stance on Bush’s tax cuts saying, "John McCain once opposed these tax cuts –- he rightly called them unfair and fiscally irresponsible. But now he has done an about face and wants to make them permanent, just like he wants a permanent occupation in Iraq."

The candidate’s sole mention of Clinton also involved McCain.

"At that debate in Texas several weeks ago, Senator Clinton attacked John McCain for supporting the policies that have led to our enormous war costs," Obama said, "But her point would have been more compelling had she not joined Senator McCain in making the tragically ill-considered decision to vote for the Iraq war in the first place."

For all the latest from the campaign trail, read The Note every morning exclusively on ABCNews.com

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