McCain: Bush was unrealistic about Iraq

Republican presidential candidate John McCain said Saturday that voters are frustrated with the war in Iraq because of the Bush administration’s unrealistic projections early in the conflict.

The Arizona senator told reporters he was pleased with Gen. David Petraeus’ testimony before Congress this past week because it “did not present this totally rosy scenario. That’s why Americans are frustrated today.”

He blamed “different administration officials” for that. “It’s all the president’s responsibility,” McCain said, but those reporting to him were also responsible.

Earlier in the day, McCain was critical of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, saying his failings “frustrated and saddened” the American people.

McCain was in the midst of the South Carolina leg of his “No Surrender” tour, a trip that took him from Rock Hill in the Upstate to Little River along the coast near Myrtle Beach. At each of four speeches, he urged voters to pressure Congress to stay the course in Iraq. And he told reporters that Democrats are heading down a “blatantly unconstitutional” path on the war.

He drew crowds of 200 or better at each stop as he urged people to write lawmakers, including wavering Republicans, and “stand up for these young men and women” in uniform.

Between stops, McCain told reporters that Democrats, including presidential candidate Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, plan to overstep the role of Congress by trying to specify how long troops should stay in action.

“Where in the Constitution of the United States does it say that the Congress decides how long people spend on tours of duty and how long they would spend back in the United States? It’s blatantly unconstitutional,” McCain said.

McCain showed the crowds a copy of a newspaper advertisement, bought by the group, that charged Iraq war commander Petraeus with “cooking the books” on the Iraq war. It also played on his name by asking, “General Petraeus or General Betray Us?”

“My friends, that is a disgraceful thing,” McCain said at a packed Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Rock Hill.

McCain appeared with his wife, Cindy, who was on crutches and wearing a knee brace. She said she fell while grocery shopping and will have surgery to correct damaged ligaments.

In Florence, McCain led a parade and stopped at a barbecue restaurant before heading to the Aynor Hoe Down, a festival in a town not far from the resort area of Myrtle Beach. McCain’s “No Surrender” tour continues through Monday in South Carolina as he tries to re-ignite a campaign that foundered during the summer amid staff cuts and the backlash from his support of unpopular immigration-reform legislation.

In 2000, McCain suffered from rough-and-tumble campaigning here at the hands of Warren Tompkins. The former Bush consultant is now running Mitt Romney’s South Carolina efforts and was in the news in the past week after an employee put up an Internet site,, that lampooned White House hopeful Fred Thompson.

McCain said he has higher standards for his campaign. “We have never engaged in any of those kind of activities,” he said. “I will not allow such a thing to happen.”

McCain plans to spend Sunday courting voters around Anderson, a Christian conservative base for the state’s GOP. McCain, who is Baptist, said he’s not emphasizing his religion in a state where Baptists are the dominant faith. “It plays a role in my life,” McCain told reporters. “Do I advertise my faith? Do I talk about it all the time? No.”

Still, he said, “it’s why I’m here today.”


  1. Bill Jonke

    Does anybody really listen to McCain anymore? Talk about your wasted effort, his dead horse is unrecognizable as a once living being after all the beating and pummeling.

  2. Carl Nemo

    This is the same guy that was singing the refrain “bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” during the past year. He’s the guy who went carpet shopping in Bagdhad and came back saying everything was just peachy keen over there when in fact it was not and is not so. Now he feating Petraeus whereas Admiral Fallon to top theatre commander for the region thinks Petraeus is nothing but a sycophantic, chickens**t, suckup. McCain is the guy who likes to give George Bush “Barny hugs” whenever he gets the chance. I don’t care for George Bush’s policies, but McCain should be ashamed for criticizing Bush for his own personal political gain at this point in time. He’s been Bush’s buddy for so long, and now he’s stabbing the guy in the back. If he turns on George Bush, just think how he’ll turn his back on those that might be foolish enough to elect him. In fact with McCain at the helm, we’ll end up with George Bush in spades. McCain doesn’t seem to have his oars in the water as far as I’m concerned.

    My analysis indicates this guy is one messed up dude who needs serious counseling and meds. Better yet he needs to retire like Warner immediately if not sooner, and disappear from the American political scene. He’s become an eyesore from a TV viewers standpoint. Any vet who bonds with this guy just because McCain served, and did some downtime in the Hanoi Hilton best spend some time researching the “facts” about John. I’ll supply a link so those that are less than curious can get up to speed quickly concerning McCain.

    Carl Nemo **==

  3. Nogood

    I appreciate what McCain did in the military, but now he is a complete moron. He defintely needs some professional help. Maybe him and Bush could get some “shrink” together and get a good discount price. Wait, Bush doesnt need a discount, he has already stolen our children’s future.

  4. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    Remember when McCain was pining away about how much better things were on the ground in Iraq, he bought a rug from a man at the open air market and several days later that man was murdered for selling the rug to McCain.

    Then Bush pays his little surprise visit to Iraq and meets up with the Sunni Sheik, Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha, and just before Bush’s ‘feel good’ national address speech, Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha is killed.

    I just remember the photo of Bush shaking hands with Abdul-Sattar, Bush was positively beaming while Abdul-Sattar had this resigned, annoyed kind of look.

    Everything McCain and Bush touches just turns to dust.

  5. SEAL

    After 5 years of being subjected to one of the most sophisticated brainwashing programs in the world, we make him a US Senator. And now, some what him to be president. What does that say about the intellect of some of our citizens?

  6. keith

    I would like Mr. McCain to explain to us just what is so “blatantly unconstitutional” about ANYONE in Congress who might now be trying to extricate our country from the morass that Mr. Bush and his Cabal have gotten us into in Iraq.

    If Mr. McCain had even bothered to read the Constitution of which he now speaks so freely, he might have learned that the ONLY branch of our government that is specifically authorized in that document to declare (and therefore “un-declare”) wars IS the Congress!

    Just like the current President that he STILL seems to so unswervingly support, such remarks do nothing but demonstrate yet again Mr. McCain’s collective arrogance and ignorance of what is actually contained in our Constitution.

    And they are yet more proof that both he AND Mr. Bush are Constitutionally incompetent and therefore totally unqualified to hold the highest office in our land.