The beginning of tit-for-tat with Obama and McCain

To me, at least, the daily back and forth between McCain and Obama is getting boring already. It’s silly statements they’re arguing over. The latest is a statement that McCain made which Obama, and others, dispute.

Here’s a report from AOL News:

MILWAUKEE (AP) – Republican John McCain’s estimate of U.S. troop levels in Iraq touched off squabbling with Democrat Barack Obama on Friday, the latest turn in the presidential rivals’ escalating disagreement over the war.

The likely GOP nominee told an audience Thursday: “We have drawn down to pre-surge levels. Basra, Mosul and now Sadr City are quiet.”

Obama responded: “That’s not true and anyone running for commander in chief should know better.”

In fact, U.S. troop levels are not yet down to levels before President Bush’s troop increase last year, a strategy shift McCain had pushed for some four years before the president authorized it.

There were 15 combat brigades in Iraq before the increase began. Five were added, and the United States has been reducing numbers since December. As of Friday, there are 17 brigades in Iraq, another brigade will depart in June and the plan is to pull out another in July, returning the level to 15.

Before the increase, there were 130,000-135,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. As of this week, that number was 155,000, and the Pentagon plans to drop that to 140,000 by the end of July.

The McCain campaign blamed a parsing of verb tense and semantics. But McCain, himself, insisted Friday that he didn’t misspeak.

“Of course not. I said we’ve drawn down,” the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee said at a news conference. “The rest of them will be home at the end of July.”

He added: “We have drawn down, we will continue to draw down and I hope that General (David) Petraeus will see fit to recommend for the consideration of the president of the United States an additional draw down after the end of July.”

Obama seized on McCain’s insistence that he didn’t misspeak. “Today, Senator McCain refused to acknowledge that he had made a mistake,” Obama said at a rally Friday in Great Falls, Mont. “Just like George Bush, when he was presented with the truth, he just dug in and refused to admit his mistake.”

Video of McCain defending his statement:

This is going to be a long campaign if the argument is over issues such as this. In fact, I’m dreading most of the season until they get to actual debates in August between Obama and McCain. Until then, it will be this tit-for-tat in the press. Obama will say something, McCain will dispute it, and vice-versa. Maybe that’s what campaigns are about but it’s boring to me as I’d like to see the actual issues debated and where each of the candidate stands on them.

Maybe I’m overreacting, what did you all think, is this blown out of proportion? Clearly McCain seems to be mistaken on this, but if he is, it doesn’t change either candidate’s stance on Iraq.

  • Christopher Schwinger

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=cLfsG8XKWfw

    Take a look at this. It’s embarrassing!

  • OBAMA_SUCKS

    Obama loves to just hit McCain all the time with such arrogant answers, but then when he is hit by McCain or Hillary, he acts like its an outrage that they do this, and turns it into racism and ultimately he is a hypocrite.

  • OS, that’s why I think this back and forth nonsense is futile, it solves nothing by either candidate.

  • Grey

    Like you said, we can always hope that issues of actual substance will lay themselves out when the formalized debating starts. Well, as long as ABC news isn’t handling the debate.

    To me it feels like I’m in political pre-season and I’m waiting for the playoffs to start. Politicians are shifting stances here and there, there’s a bunch of minor clashing going on, but none of it really matters until the general election comes about.

    I think that this specific issue is partially blown out of proportion. The reason I don’t totally agree is that for some idiotic reason issues like these actually have a sway on the opinion of the general public. So the issues themselves may be totally moot, but unfortunately people are affected by them. In light of that, I don’t think the candidates are at fault for addressing issues like this- they do what they have to do.

  • Cameroon

    ****REMOVED by Moderator******

    Cameroon, please be respectful in future posts…

  • Robert

    In the phrasing of Obama, aren’t the American people tired of these distractions?

    McCain struggles to balance conservative ideology with moderate pragmatism. It’s a tough path, but if he can do it, the election is his.

  • Pats

    McCain said that Obama is inexperience. He’s the experience one, and should therefore demonstrate that.

  • Babs

    Obama responded: “That’s not true and anyone running for commander in chief should know better.”

    That’s a very bold statement for a man who’s visited 57 states excluding Hawaii and Alaska. It’s also very childish, and if this is the best Obama can do it’ll be a cake walk to the White House for McCain. 🙂

  • IndiMinded

    I’m starting to be amused by the number of people who have jumped on this 57 states remark. I actually heard a caller on the radio the other day who firmly believed that Obama really didn’t know how many states there are. Ok, it was a funny misspeak – sort of like him spotting dead war heroes in his memorial day audience – but it seems like the stuff of lettermen to me.

    This isn’t really an issue, but it’s reminiscent of the style our current administration has taken toward this war since the start. We started with “mission accomplished” and gradually moved toward “turning a corner”. Bush has been all smiles and thumbs up about this since the onset, and obviously there have been some bumps in the road he hasn’t wanted to admit to.

    Optimism’s fine and good, but there is a difference between saying “we’re back at pre-surge levels of troop deployment!” and “We’re on schedule to be back at pre-surge levels of troop deployment by the end of july!” I’m glad someone sternly corrected him on this, but I sort of wish it had been the press instead of Obama.

    It’s a petty issue to be making a scene over, especially from someone who has spoken so much about the need to stop focusing on distraction issues and divisive partisan politics. Obviously Obama’s reaction was, itself, unnecessarily divisive.

    This is going to become a very disappointing campaign if the man who won the primaries by campaigning to rise above partisan politics and distraction issues plans to win the oval office by pointing the finger at his rival and yelling “Bush #3” until his face turns blue.

  • Babs

    IndiMinded,

    Surely that caller didn’t seriously believe Obama didn’t know how many states there was, that’s pretty ignorant. I used the comparison because it’s like you said, the stuff Letterman is made of. I’m afraid this campaign is going to turn into a lot of the “Bush #3” crap, if nothing else it’s just what Obama’a become used to in the primary against Hillary. Hopefully things will raise a level or two between Obama and McCain. Tearing apart everything each other says isn’t going to do it, though.