Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Obama advisors say McCain "confused" "confusing" Iraq policy "confusion" But not about McCain's age.

| 10 Comments

WASHINGTON—Team Obama pounced on comments about Iraq made by presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) on NBC’s“Today Show” on Wednesday morning, portraying him as “confused.” McCain said when it comes to keeping troops in Iraq what is important is causalities—not whether or not troops stay on an open-ended basis.

Obama’s Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and top foreign policy advisor Susan Rice on a conference call with reporters hit back. Rice, talking about McCain foreign policy used the phrase “real confusion” and said McCain is “confusing” and “confused.”

Is that a code for suggesting McCain is too old to understand what is going on?

Rice replied, “McCain has gotten it wrong, and not just once…I am not ascribing it to any particular function…I am simply pointing out a pattern that is notable.”

There is a question of whether McCain “ has a firm grasp of the issues.”

When it was my turn, I asked Rice if she realized that use of the words confused and confusing could be taken to refer to age. Obama will be 47 in August; McCain is 71.

“If you want to suggest another word for the same lack of understanding, misunderstanding,… they all amount to the same thing,” Rice said. There is a McCain “gap” with “reality” and “that is disturbing.” It is “hard to have good judgment if you don’t have a fact based foundation,” Rice said

Kerry jumped in. He said it is “unfair and even ridiculous” to “jump to the conclusion” that “somehow” this has to do with age. Kerry said there are “plenty of senators” older than McCain—he used Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) for an example who “know who the Sunnis are.”

Obama foreign policy advisor Richard Danzig said, “I don’t think it is a question of age at all…None of us feel inclined to back off.”

Obama spokesman Josh Earnest could not resist. “Now that we have straightened out any confusion about the use of the word confused, we’ll take the last question.

Which was about Obama’s judgment tapping former Fannie Mae chief Jim Johnson to lead his vice presidential vetting team. Will get to that in the next post.


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) also weighed on McCain’s Today interview.


Emanuel said, "When asked this morning about American troops coming home from Iraq, John McCain said 'that's not too important.' Senator McCain, to the men and women who are serving their second, third, or even fourth deployment in Iraq, and to their families, it is incredibly important.

"Once again, John McCain has displayed a fundamental misunderstanding about the situation in Iraq, our strained military, and American troops and their families. The truth is, with more than 160,000 American troops in Iraq with no plan from the Bush Administration for a timely exit, Al-Qaeda reconstituting on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border, and the American military strained beyond all appropriate readiness, bringing American troops home from Iraq is incredibly important. With each passing day, the more John McCain talks about Iraq, the more the American people are reminded of how much we need change in Washington - not more of the same from Senator McCain."


Emanuel’s statement was sent out by Sarah Feinberg, the communications director for the caucus. By the way, Feinberg is married to Obama spokesman Dan Pfeiffer.


Pelosi Statement on McCain Comment That It Is 'Not Too Important' When Troops Redeploy from Iraq

Washington, D.C. — Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement today in response to Senator John McCain’s comments on the “Today” show this morning that it is “not too important” when our troops can redeploy from Iraq:

"Senator McCain’s statement that it is ‘not too important’ when U.S. troops are redeployed from Iraq is yet another indication how out of touch he is with the effect the war in Iraq is having on the readiness of our military. Addressing the national security implications of the military readiness crisis ought to be considered as extremely important by someone who aspires to be commander in chief.

"The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, said again yesterday that our military commitment in Iraq is hindering our ability to meet threats to our national security in places such as Afghanistan. Military leaders agree that the demands of frequent deployments to Iraq are stretching our Army to the breaking point, and that unacceptable strain is being placed on our troops, their families, and their equipment.

"For our military readiness, for the families of our brave men and women in uniform, and for our national security, America needs a New Direction in Iraq -- not the continuation of the Bush-McCain plan for an endless war in Iraq.”

# # #

10 Comments

MCCAIN IS GOING TO GET WHAT HE NEEDS, A PERMANENT RETIREMENT!

Seems to me Obama is confused.

Obama apparently has indicated in one of his books that he thought that Saddam Hussein had chemical and biological weapons, and that he still coveted nuclear weapons. He has explained this by saying that he felt in 2002 that Saddam could be contained through diplomacy, coercive inspections, and smart sanctions. However the sanctions, coercive inspections, and diplomacy were not containing Saddam. The sanctions were widely expected to be lifted, and Saddam had worked to undermine them and get around them in a variety of legal and illegal ways. The inspections were ineffective in themselves in ways, the sanctions and threats of military action were used to give them any possiblity of sucess. Saddam had shown his willingness to work against inspections any way he could. Diplomacy had been tried for years. While the US may have tried longer before 9/11, after 9/11 we did not feel we could afford to take a risk. France and the USSR were both prepared to veto any resolution they felt wouild lead to military action in Iraq. That is why the US always held the option to use the military itself. Another words, the same solutions Obama supported were the solutions that were not working.

McCain has a much more realistic view of our position in the world, and where we stand in relation to other nations. Obama seems to be willing to trust our national security to policies that have failed in the past, such as with Carter.

Dear American Voters,

Hon. Senator McCain and Obama, besides each having many attributes and characteristics. The critical differences between the two of these presidential presumptive nominees are as under:

1. Presidential "Temperament and Composer".
2. Little Washington "insider Versus outsider" experience.
3. "Vision and mission" for our nation future rather than past.
4. American policies, " first U.S.A Centric" than any other country [ ies ] centric.

In my professional opinion Senator Obama leads in all above qualities.

The need of our next movement and generation is a change. The Change in " past Washington and its Leadership". A change we can believe in and not the seductive, deceptive, and confusing slogan of "leader we can believe in" [? Effexor ?".

Our Greatgrand Nation has to address many present and future challenges and start with new clean "Slate and Senator".

God Bless America. its diverse people, and our Greatgrand Nation.

Our Greatgrand Nation is needs the CHANGE at every level and for long time.

I am sure Senator Obama with the help of Senator Clinton and her supporters, can deliver that CHANGE.

Please stay involved, stay engaged, and stay informed. Please do not allow any seduction, deception, and or confusion by some partisan media and leaders effect your vote [ Psychological Terrorism ]..

Yours truly,

COL. [retd] A.M.Khajawall
Disabled American Veteran
Forensic psychiatrist, Las Vegas

Pelosi has no room to talk. I thought she was going to have the troops out already. Another lie from the Democrats in power.
GIVE US CLINTON OR MCCAIN. NOOBAMA NOWAY

I will agree with Rice. "It is hard to have good judgment if you don't have a fact based foundation". Ok. Her point is established. Now, let's talk about Obama's "fact based foundation". It would be extremely hard for Obama to have a foundation at all given his friends, associates, marxist beliefs and etc. This is a big probme with Obama's "fact based foundation". He built his own foundation with these questionable types for over 20 years! I'd say Rice has hit it right on the head of the issue. The real scary candidate is Obama.

DEMOCRATS FOR MCCAIN

I actually saw Senator McCain this morning when he made the statement about 'not mattering how long they stay in Iraq but the casualties' - he meant exactly what he said and I actually agree with him. See..for Senator McCain he isn't focused on "bringing the troops home" like 'others' we know. Senator McCain is focused on keeping the troops and OUR country safe. God bless him for this. I feel it all comes down to TRUST. Given the two options we have, who do you really trust to run our country? (be honest). For me, it's very simple, Senator McCain. By the way, I'm a Democrat, but won't be voting that way in Nov. unless something happens and they finally find that Senator Obama isn't electable after all. Hey a girl can dream right?

HE WROTE THE BOOK, YOU READ THE BOOK, STOP TRYING TO ANALYZE WHAT
HE SAID IN THE BOOK, ENJOY THE BOOK, ENJOY LIFE, STOP THE NONSENSE
AND THE WORLD WILL BE A BETTER PLACE!
YOU SEE WHO THE BETTER CANDIDATE IS, IF YOU DON'T YOU BETTER
START ANALYZING YOURSELF!

JOHN MCCAIN IS LOSING BY 8 POINTS AND IT'S GOING TO GET WORSE,
JUST THINK WHEN ALL OF HILLARY'S SUPPORTERS COME OVER AND THE
INDEPENDENT VOTERS FIGURE OUT THAT MCCAIN IS THIRD TERM GEORGE
BUSH, AND REAGAN DEMOCRATS SAY, YOU KNOW WHAT THIS YOUNG GUY IS
THE REAL DEAL, AND I'M ON HIS TEAM, MCCAIN LOSES IN A LANDSLIDE!
THAT'S WHY THE GOP IS SO PICKY ABOUT ANYONE THEY BELIEVE IS A HELP
TO BARACK OBAMA, THEY KNOW IT'S ONLY GOING TO GET MORE WORSE!
AND BELIEVE YOU ME, THEY ARE CORRECT! THE GOP IS ON THE RUN!

Apparently “whoisconfused” is confused. Saddam Hussein eventually agreed to unconditional inspections after being “coerced” by the threat of invasion. Bush declared war anyway. Let’s not re-write history.

With all due respect to the Colonel. Senator Obama doesn't possess any of the most important characteristics needed in a president.

1. Experience. He has no real experience whatsoever. He has never had any type of executive leadership. His short stint in the Illinois legislature was most notable for his astounding number of "present" votes. He doesn't even really have experience as a Senator. Not only is he still in his first term, he left Washington and hit the road to campaign for the presidency almost as soon as he got there.
2. Judgment. Obama claims that his judgment qualifies him to be president because he says he was against the Iraq war. Never mind that he said while running for the senate that he wouldn't do anything differently from President Bush. He also voted against the surge which has been an overwhelming success. And unlike that chaos, genocide and regional war that would have resulted from pulling out as Obama wanted to do, the surge has brought and continues to bring increasing security, stability, reconciliation and sovereignty to Iraq. Barack Obama voted against all this for political expediency. That is horrible judgment.

Barack Obama also has a laundry list of relationships that show horrible judgment. Not only did his church pastors preach hate, racism and lies for 20 years, but His fellow congregants were on their feet cheering and clapping when their pastor said America brought 9/11 on itself, and that America created AIDS to keep African Americans down, excoriated white Americans and on and on. He did not have the judgment on his own to say, "this is wrong" and leave the church for 20 years. Only after the rest of the country pointed out how very wrong it was did he finally, after 20 years, have the good judgment to leave that racist, hateful church.

The problem is, we cant wait 20 years for Obama to have good judgment. A presidential term is only 4 years long.

He has also shown horrible judgment, if not suspicious behavior in his shady real estate dealings with his good friend, Mr. Rezko, who is on his way to prison.

And Obama has shown horrible judgment in his relationships with convicted terrorists William Ayers and Bernadine Dorn, who even recently have said if they had it to do all over again, would have set off more bombs. Obama didn't have the judgment to stay away from such people and he didn't have the judgment to renounce them until political pressure forced him to.

Obama also has a long association with the radical group ACORN, which aside from their radical agenda, has been convicted of vote fraud in multiple states.

But it isn't just Obamas horrible and suspect judgment in personal relationships, although there is great truth to the old adage, you can tell a lot about a man by the company he keeps. Obama has shown HORRIBLE judgment in policy. Americans are facing devastating gasoline prices that are causing real suffering, even more so among the poorest. Yet he has voted over and over again to block measures that would increase domestic oil supply by trillions of barrels, more oil than Saudi Arabia and Iraq produce combined by opposing drilling in the mudflats of ANWR, throughout the US and offshore, even though the Chinese are already drilling and siphoning off oil just outside Americas waters. He has voted over and over again to block increasing refining capacity and block infrastructure improvements. All of which would reduce the price of gas substantially.

Instead he has instead decided to demagogue oil companies for their enormous profits. What he doesn't tell you is the reason their profits are enormous is because they sell an enormous amount of oil, not because they are pricing it unfairly. The oil companies only profit about 8 cents per gallon sold. Compare that to government that takes about 45 cents from every gallon.

And in demagoguing oil companies for cheap political gain among voters who don't know any better, he has voted to dramatically increase taxes on oil companies, knowing full well that every penny oil companies pay in taxes comes directly from the money Americans pay for gas. In other words his answer to making oil cheaper is to make it more expensive!

Similarly, Obama's answer to a slowing economy is to vastly increase taxes and regulation, which would leave Americans with less money to spend and invest, would result in far more lost jobs and far more outsourcing by companies seeking lower taxes and lower regulation.

And finally Obama has said he would personally meet with the terrorist leaders of the leading state sponsors of terror, Iran and Syria, with no preconditions. We are already talking to all these regimes at lower levels even though Obama loves to imply we aren't meeting with them at all (in other words another lie). But meeting with the President of the United States confers legitimacy on any regime. It is especially bad judgment to meet with Iran and Syria, state sponsors of terror, because it legitimizes them, and it sends the message around the world that terrorism works. That if you kill enough civilians, America will cave and give you the legitimacy you want. This is why we must never negotiate with terrorists, and why if we meet with State sponsors of terrorism, it must be under strict pre-conditions, first and foremost like renouncing terrorism!

Barack Obama has horrible judgment!

3. Leadership.

Obama constantly claims that he will "bring Americans together." But his record shows just the opposite. He has the most liberal voting record in the Senate -- that means of all the Democrats in the Senate he was the LEAST willing to work with Republicans, the LEAST willing to compromise, and the LEAST willing to get along in the interest of accomplishing good for the country.

On top of that he has promised to investigate President Bush and his administration for war crimes and promised to reverse every executive order President Bush has signed regardless of what it is, on his very first day. One of the things that most separates Democracies from Tyrannies is that democracies do not criminalize policy they disagree with. Obama has made clear he is willing to do just that even though the policy he disagrees with was also approved by the majority of his own party.

Barack Obama not only will not unite America, he will make Americans even more bitterly divided.

John McCain has a long history of working together with Democrats, of respectfully disagreeing. We've all seen him on our TV news for years doing just that.

Obama has no history of getting along for the good of the country. Indeed his record shows he is extremely partisan and extremely unwilling to get along for the good of the country.

But Obama does have the advantage that the American people don't know all this about him.

So, no, Colonel COL. Khajawall, while I am very grateful to you for your service to our country, I couldn't disagree with you more.

1) I think what you call the most important criteria are not the most important.
2) And I disagree with you that Obama leads Senator McCain in those qualities to begin with. and,
3) In the qualities that I think really are the most important: proven experience, judgment and leadership, Obama is woefully unqualified and John McCain is easily far. FAR more qualified.

Leave a comment

Get the Sweet widget

More widgets

Video

Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Stay in touch

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on June 11, 2008 11:06 AM.

Dean says Democratic National Committee fund-raisers will no longer be secret. Says "wrong and unfair" to slam Obama if he opts out of public financing. was the previous entry in this blog.

McCain on NBC's "Today Show" talking about Iraq troop levels. is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.