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DEBATE REALITY CHECK: MCCAIN'S SUPPORT FOR BUSH ON THE WAR

Barack Obama's White House Campaign Office (D) posted a Press Release (Fact Check) on September 26, 2008 | 9:51 pm - Original Item - Comments (View)

THE FACTS: MCCAIN WAS ONE OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S LEADING CHEERLEADERS AND SUPPORTERS ON THE IRAQ WAR

2008: McCain Said "No One Has Supported President Bush on Iraq More Than I Have." During a March 2008 interview on The Mike Gallagher Show, McCain stated, "no one has supported President Bush on Iraq more than I have." [The Mike Gallagher Show, 3/28/08, For audio, Think Progress Blog, http://thinkprogress.org/2008/04/02/mccain-no-one-has-supported-president-bush-on-iraq-more-than-i-have/]

2006: McCain Had Full Confidence in Bush's Ability to Lead the War. McCain was asked if he had confidence in Bush and his national security team to "lead the war," to which he responded, "I do. I do. I have confidence in the president and I believe that he is well aware of the severity of the situation." He also said that "I know that the president's committed to win and I know the president's committed to prevail." [NBC News, 8/20/2006]

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 think the president exaggerated the case for war, McCain said, "I don't think so…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," 4/23/2003; Fox News, "Hannity and Colmes," 7/31/2003]

2003: McCain Declared He Would Have Done Nothing Differently From Bush In The Run-Up To The Iraq War If He Were President. Bill O'Reilly asked McCain, "All right, Senator, if you were president, what would you have done differently in the run-up to this war?" McCain stated: "Nothing." O'Reilly followed up: "Nothing?" McCain elaborated, "The president has handled this, in my view, skillfully." [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 3/18/03]

2002: McCain Said The President "Has Embarked On A Well Planned Effort" To Take On Iraq. "I think the president has embarked on a well planned effort to rid the world and this country of the threat of the use of weapons of mass destruction by Saddam Hussein." [CNN, 9/12/02]

2003: Prior To The Invasion Of Iraq McCain Said, "I Have No Qualms About Our Strategic Plans." "I have no qualms about our strategic plans. I thought we were very successful in Afghanistan," McCain told the Hartford Courant in March 2003, just prior to the invasion of Iraq. [Hartford Courant, 3/5/03]

2002: McCain Supported The Administration's Military Strategy For Iraq, Said Only 100,000 Troops Would Be Needed. In an interview on Meet the Press, Tim Russert asked McCain: "Let me read something that you wrote just last week in Time magazine. "I'm not yet convinced that the large U.S. force contemplated for the operation [in Iraq] is the best or only option.' Today, the front page of The Washington Post, "War Plans Target Hussein Power Base. Scenarios feature a smaller force, narrower strikes,' calling for 100,000 rather than the 500,000 we used in the Persian Gulf War, and not taking out power dams and electric grids, but focusing on Saddam and his Republican Guards. Is that what you see?" McCain responded, "Yes…And I believe that this strategy is based on one fundamental fact: Saddam Hussein is dramatically weaker than he was before. And what Iraq—in 1991—what Iraqi soldier is going to die for Saddam Hussein if he thinks he's on his way out? And so from everything I can tell, that seems to be a very good strategy, and I think we're going to take great advantage to the precision of our weapons that can be delivered from the air." [NBC, Meet the Press, 9/22/02]

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