Dems attack McCain over Iraq quote, McCain camp responds

Democrats wasted no time in jumping on a McCain quote in line the the famed “100 years” statement he made a while ago. This time McCain was speaking about Iraq with Matt Lauer on the Today Show when he said the following:

The story from The Politico:

The Obama campaign and Democratic leaders accused Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) of being confused and heartless after he told NBC’s “Today” show Wednesday that it’s “not too important” when U.S. troops return from Iraq.

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) said on a quickly organized Obama conference call that McCain’s comment was “unbelievably out of touch with the needs and concerns of most Americans,” saying that to families of troops in harm’s way, “To them, it’s the most important thing in the world.”

Kerry claimed “an enormous, fundamental flaw in his candidacy for the presidency, which supposedly has hung on his strength as commander in chief and his understanding of foreign policy.”

Susan Rice, an Obama foreign-policy adviser, accused McCain of “a real disturbing, even disconcerting, pattern of confusing the basic facts and reality that pertain to Iraq.”

The “Today” show statement, which McCain went on to explain, is damaging because Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has pledged to immediately begin withdrawing combat troops.

McCain, trying to mitigate the fallout from his January remarks that U.S. troops might be in Iraq for 100 years, predicted last month that “most” troops would be home by the end of his first term.

The video posted above came straight from the McCain campaign which took a preemptive offensive strategy on this statement.

The full quote:

McCain replied: “No, but that’s not too important. What’s important is the casualties in Iraq, Americans are in South Korea, Americans are in Japan, American troops are in Germany. That’s all fine. American casualties and the ability to withdraw; we will be able to withdraw. General [David] Petraeus is going to tell us in July when he thinks we are.

“But the key to it is that we don’t want any more Americans in harm’s way. That way, they will be safe, and serve our country and come home with honor and victory, not in defeat, which is what Senator Obama’s proposal would have done. I’m proud of them. And they’re doing a great job. And we are succeeding and it’s fascinating that Senator Obama still doesn’t realize that.”

Taken a bit out of context, similarly to the “100 years” quote. Especially since McCain went on to state that casualties are more important than a withdrawal date.