Clinton and McCain Spar on Iraq

Posted: Jan 25, 2008 8:05 AM
Clinton and McCain Spar on Iraq

Republican John McCain swiped at Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who recently claimed she is the best Democrat to face-off against the war veteran McCain on issues of national security, at the GOP Florida debate Thursday evening.

McCain said, “If we do what Senator Clinton said that she wanted to do night before last, and that's wave the white flag of surrender and set a date of withdrawal, then we will have expenses, my friends, in American blood and treasure, because al Qaeda will then have won.”

On January 21, Clinton said at a Democratic debate in South Carolina that she would begin to withdrawal U.S. troops from Iraq within 60 days of her inauguration.

“I serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee,” she said. “I've been to Iraq three times. I've met with the leaders of the various factions. But there is no military solution, and our young men and women should not remain as the referees of their conflict.”

Clinton and McCain serve together on the Senate Armed Services Committee, which overseas defense policy. As Ranking Member, McCain is the top Republican on the committee. Clinton, on the other hand, only outranks three Democrats on the committee.

In regard to McCain, Clinton said in South Carolina that: “If John [Edwards] is right and Senator McCain is the Republican nominee, we know that once again we will have a general election about national security. That is what will happen. I believe, of any one of us, I am better positioned and better able to take on John McCain or any Republican when it comes to issues about protecting and defending our country and promoting our interests in the world.”

In a still-crowded Republican field, McCain could be considered the party?s frontrunner, which is likely what prompted Clinton?s attack. After five major primaries, there have been three different winners. McCain has won two primaries in New Hampshire and South Carolina. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has won two as well in Michigan and Nevada, although most of the candidates did not aggressively campaign in Nevada. (He also took the largely insignificant Wyoming primary.) Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee won the first contest in Iowa.