As Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama continues his highly
publicized overseas tour, his Republican opponent, Senator John McCain,
is doing all he can to remain part of the election debate. VOA
National correspondent Jim Malone has more on the McCain campaign from
Senator McCain's strategy going into the week was
to focus on domestic economic issues, which the polls say are the top
concerns of voters this year.
But with all the attention focused
on Senator Obama's trip to the Middle East and Europe, Senator McCain
finds himself in reaction mode as he comments on what Obama is doing on
The war in Iraq continues to be at the center of
their disagreements. At a town hall meeting in New Hampshire Tuesday,
McCain reminded his audience that he was one of the few members of
Congress to speak out in support of President Bush's surge strategy in
Iraq at a time when the war effort was not going well.
McCain added that Obama has yet to say that the surge has been a success.
would never have succeeded and we would have had defeat, and my
friends, that would have been a catastrophe for the United States of
America," he said. "He was wrong then, he is wrong now and he still
fails to acknowledge that the surge succeeded. Remarkable.
McCain opposes setting a timeline for the
withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Senator Obama has vowed to remove
most combat troops within 16 months of taking office. Obama got a
boost of sorts Monday when an Iraqi government spokesman said he would
like to see U.S. troops out of Iraq by the end of 2010, roughly within
Obama's proposed timeline.
Senator McCain told supporters in New
Hampshire he looks forward to U.S. troops coming home, but only as a
result of success on the ground in Iraq, and not pre-set withdrawal
"And we will be coming home, my friends," he said.
"Our troops will be withdrawing, but they will come home with honor and
victory. They will not come home in defeat. They will come home with
honor and victory!"
Obama has enjoyed a bonanza of news coverage
during his trip so far. He visited Iraq and Afghanistan with two
fellow senators, Democrat Jack Reed of Rhode Island and Republican
Chuck Hagel of Nebraska.
Obama spoke about his plans for Iraq at a news conference in Amman, Jordan.
three of us, I think, we struck by both the peril and the promise of
this moment," he said. "If we responsibly end the war in Iraq, we can
strengthen our military, step up our efforts to finish the fight
against al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan, and succeed in leaving
Iraq to a sovereign government that can take responsibility for its own
future. In short, we can seize this moment to make America more
Obama says there has been security progress in Iraq, but that the focus now must be on a political solution.
also acknowledged that the U.S. commander in Iraq, General David
Petraeus, opposes the idea of a timetable for the withdrawal of
McCain strategists are trying different ways to
gain attention while Obama is on his overseas trip. The McCain
campaign has launched an Internet video critical of the news media for
what it believes is overly positive coverage of Obama's run for the
"The media's love affair with Barack Obama is all-consuming," states McCain's ad.
traveling with Senator McCain have also noted speculation that the
presumptive Republican nominee might announce his vice presidential
running mate this week to draw attention away from the Obama trip. But
so far there has been no official indication from the McCain campaign
that they are close to making any announcements on that.