McCain Accuses Obama of Trying to ‘Legislate Failure’ in Iraq For Political Gain

By Julia Hoppock

Aug 18, 2008 12:29pm

ABC News’s Bret Hovell reports: Addressing the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars this morning in Orlando, John McCain came down harshly on rival Barack Obama for on his position and opinion on the Iraq war.

So what’s new?

This: McCain takes a new tack in tying Obama’s positions on the war to his personal desire to be president.  "Behind all of these claims and positions by Senator Obama lies the ambition to be president."

This is of course not the first time McCain has hit Obama on Iraq, and it is not the harshest attack. The harshest was the line that said roughly: Senator Obama would rather lose a war to win a campaign. This new line seems to get at the same point in a less accusatory fashion.

McCain talked about Iraq having potential as a "peaceful and democratic ally" in the Middle East, which could be "squandered by a hasty withdrawal and arbitrary timelines."

"This is one of many problems in the shifting positions of my opponent, Senator Obama," McCain said. "With less than three months to go before the election, a lot of people are still trying to square Senator Obama’s varying positions on the surge in Iraq."

McCain went on to describe Obama’s opposition to the surge, and what he describes as Obama trying to "prevent funding for the troops who carried out the surge."

"Not content to merely predict failure in Iraq, my opponent tried to legislate failure," McCain said. "This was back when supporting America’s efforts in Iraq entailed serious political risk. It was a clarifying moment. It was a moment when political self-interest and the national interest parted ways…’

Then the new line: political ambition is behind Obama’s positions, per McCain.

"Behind all of these claims and positions by Senator Obama," McCain said, "lies the ambition to be president. What’s less apparent is the judgment to be commander-in-chief."

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