Blitzer did not challenge McCain on his own war-funding vote

››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

On Late Edition, Wolf Blitzer did not challenge Sen. John McCain's assertion that "Senator [Barack] Obama opposed it [the troop surge], said it wouldn't work, even voted to cut off the funds for the men and women who are fighting over there." Blitzer did not point out that McCain himself voted against legislation that would have provided funds for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

During the July 27 edition of CNN's Late Edition, host Wolf Blitzer did not challenge Sen. John McCain's assertion that "Senator [Barack] Obama opposed it [the troop surge], said it wouldn't work, even voted to cut off the funds for the men and women who are fighting over there." Blitzer did not point out that McCain himself voted against legislation that would have provided funds for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and directed more than $1 billion to the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as other legislation funding care for veterans.

Moreover, Obama has voted in the past to provide funds for fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. As Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz wrote, "Obama has frequently voted to finance the war but was one of 14 Senate Democrats to oppose a war-funding bill last year -- after Republicans removed troop withdrawal deadlines -- saying he did not want to be 'validating the same failed policy in Iraq.' "

From the July 27 edition of CNN's Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer:

BLITZER: If you were president, and Nouri al-Maliki is still the elected prime minister of Iraq, and he says he wants all U.S. troops out, what do you do?

McCAIN: Well, first of all, I know Prime Minister Maliki rather well. I know that he is a politician, and I know that they are looking at upcoming elections. I know that he knows and every -- and the other leaders know there that it has to be condition-based. Any withdrawals -- which we will withdraw. We have succeeded. The surge has succeeded. And we're on the road to victory. And we will be out of there. And we may have a residual presence of some kind, as I've always said. But the fact is, the surge has succeeded. And the fundamental here is that I supported that surge when it was not the popular thing to do.

Senator Obama opposed it, said it wouldn't work, even voted to cut off the funds for the men and women who are fighting over there and still -- and he still doesn't understand to the point where he doesn't agree that the surge has succeeded. No rational observer, no rational observer who sees the conditions in Iraq today as opposed to two years ago could possibly, could possibly conclude that the surge hasn't succeeded. So he sees it as a political issue. He doesn't understand the importance of this victory and the consequences of failure and the benefits of success.

If we had done what Senator Obama wanted to do -- which, by the way, initially would have been the troops out last March -- we would have had greater Iranian influence. We would have had an increase in sectarian violence. We would have seen possibly a wider war in the region, which would have drawn us back. So I can assure you that Prime Minister Maliki understands that conditions have to be kept. And I want to find -- tell you again. General [David] Petraeus, one of the great generals in history, strongly disagrees with Senator Obama. And our highest-ranking military officer also says it would be a very dangerous course. We're not going to go down that road.

BLITZER: But if Maliki persists -- you're president, and he says he wants U.S. troops out, and he wants them out, let's say in a year or two years or 16 months or whatever, what do you do? Do you just -- do you listen to the prime minister?

McCAIN: He won't. He won't, he won't.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, Defense Funding, Military Personnel & Veterans
Network/Outlet
CNN
Person
Wolf Blitzer
Show/Publication
Late Edition
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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