May 25, 2007 — -- Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., have abandoned the troops with their opposition to a recently passed Iraq War funding bill, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani told ABC News Radio in an exclusive interview Friday.
Obama and Clinton have "moved from being not just anti-war, but to being anti-troops," Giuliani said.
Republican presidential candidates have been lining up to criticize the two leading Democrats of turning on the troops by voting against the compromise Iraq War supplemental bill that Congress passed Thursday night.
In an interview with ABC News' Jake Tapper on Friday, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called the Democrats' vote "the height of irresponsibility."
At a campaign appearance in Iowa Friday, Clinton said she voted against the spending bill knowing it was going to pass in the Senate "overwhelmingly."
"I think it is important for someone like me who has been a strong supporter of the military -- the best thing we can do right now is get [the troops] out of the middle of this sectarian war in Iraq," Clinton told the crowd.
But Giuliani, in a telephone interview with ABC News Radio, accused Clinton of flip-flopping on her support of the troops.
"On May 7, three weeks ago, she said she would vote in support of the troops. And then on May 24, she voted against them," Giuliani noted. "Only she can explain what happened in that three week period to get her to change her mind."
The New York senator was quoted by The Associated Press on May 7 that "of course" she would eventually back a troop funding bill.
McCain said he couldn't "fathom the motives" behind the Democrats' "nay" votes, either.
"It's obvious that there's influence by the extreme left wing of their party," McCain said. "But it is so irresponsible to tell these young men and women who are serving in uniform with the orders of their commander in chief that you're not going to give them the necessary ability to defend themselves. In my view it's terribly misplaced priorities."
Explaining his vote in a statement, Obama addressed the criticism he's faced from McCain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, saying, "This country is united in our support for our troops, but we also owe them a plan to relieve them of the burden of policing someone else's civil war. Gov. Romney and Sen. McCain clearly believe the course we are on in Iraq is working, but I do not. And if there ever was a reflection of that it's the fact that Sen. McCain required a flack jacket, 10 armored Humvees, two Apache attack helicopters, and 100 soldiers with rifles by his side to stroll through a market in Baghdad just a few weeks ago."
McCain returned fire with a statement, saying, "While Sen. Obama's two years in the U.S. Senate certainly entitle him to vote against funding our troops, my service and experience combined with conversations with military leaders on the ground in Iraq lead me to believe that we must give this new strategy a chance to succeed because the consequences of failure would be catastrophic to our nation's security."
McCain concluded the statement: "By the way, Sen. Obama, it's a 'flak' jacket, not a 'flack' jacket."
In an interview with ABC News' David Muir on Friday, former Sen. John Edwards lamented congressional passage of an Iraq funding bill without withdrawal language and repeated his charge that the "war on terror" is "nothing more than a political slogan."
Giuliani took equal aim at Edwards and said that the Democrats running for president are "highly unrealistic and…in denial about the threat that America faces from the Islamic extremists."
"A war on terror is going on all around this world, terrorists are here or coming here planning to kill us. And if you can't recognize that, I don't think you can lead," Giuliani said in response. "If you can't face reality, it's very, very hard to safely lead people."
"As commander in chief, I will keep this country safe," Edwards told ABC News while campaigning in Iowa. "What I will not do is use political slogans to try and justify behavior you can't otherwise justify -- the ongoing war in Iraq, Guantanamo, the illegal spying on Americans. What this president has done is use a bumper sticker to try and justify behavior that otherwise can't be justified. And he hasn't kept the country safe."