It has been a bumpy ride, to say the least, for John McCain's Double Talk Express this year. The one-time maverick turned his back on straight talk, putting his principles aside to do whatever it took to propel his struggling presidential campaign forward. For the five days leading toward the New Hampshire primaries, the DNC is recapping the sharpest and most egregious turns of McCain's Double-Talk Express. Today's issue: Iraq .
WASHINGTON, Jan. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Throughout 2007, John McCain lost ground among independents over his stubborn promise to deliver a third Bush term on the war in Iraq . Last night McCain reiterated that promise, and echoed President Bush 's vow to leave the war in Iraq to future Presidents, only well into the next century. [Video of McCain Derry, NH town hall meeting (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vf7HYoh9YMM), 1/3/08; Boston Herald, 1/18/07; LA Times/Bloomberg poll, 1/18/2007; Washington Post, 12/18/07]
McCain not only interrupted a voter's question, telling him we should "make it a hundred" years in Iraq and "that would be fine with me," he told a reporter after the town hall meeting "that U.S. troops could be in Iraq for 'a thousand years' or 'a million years,' as far as he was concerned." [motherjones.com (http://www.motherjones.com/mojoblog/archives/2008/01/6735_mccain_in_nh_wo.html), 1/3/08]
The exchange highlighted a major problem for McCain. Throughout 2007 McCain played a delicate balancing act, both trying to distance himself from the war's problems, but refusing to accept a change of direction in Iraq . McCain even tried to convince New Hampshire voters that he opposed the President's initial Iraq strategy, while in reality he consistently stood with President Bush and echoed Don Rumsfeld as early as 2003, claiming that the end was "very much in sight" in Iraq . In 2005, McCain was still backing the President, arguing that another year would prove "stay the course" was working, and in 2006 argued that Iraq was "on the right track" even as it slipped further toward civil war. [The Hill, 12/8/05; ABC News, Good Morning America, 4/9/03; MSNBC, Imus in the Morning, 3/1/06] And one of McCain's biggest falls over the last year came after the Arizona Senator claimed there were streets in Baghdad safe enough to walk through, but did so wearing a bulletproof vest while accompanied by "100 American soldiers, with three Blackhawk helicopters, and two Apache gunships overhead." [NBC Nightly News, 4/1/2007]
"John McCain must be underestimating Granite State voters if he expects them to believe that he opposed the Bush-Rumsfeld strategy while he keeps using its same old talking points," said Democratic National Committee spokesman Luis Miranda . "McCain's promise to keep American troops in Iraq for a hundred, a thousand, or a million years shows he offers nothing but a third Bush term on Iraq ."
McCain: A Third Bush Term on Iraq
2003: McCain Said Bush Led With "Clarity" And Did Not Exaggerate the Case for War. During an interview with a live audience, Senator McCain praised President Bush on his leadership on the Iraq war and said, "I think the president has led with great clarity and I think he's done a great job leading the country, don't you all?" And asked if he thought the president exaggerated the case for war, McCain said, "I don't think so. And I think thatd it's obvious that the 16 words should not have appeared in his speech. He acknowledged that again today. But I think that he made a strong case and I think that case has been verified with discovery of mass graves and the brutality of this incredible regime." [MSNBC, Hardball, 4/23/03; Fox News, 7/31/03]