McCain Attacks Obama on Troop Withdrawal

(CBS)

From CBS News' Andante Higins:

TYLER, TEXAS -- Slamming Barack Obama for comments he made at last night's Democratic debate, John McCain attacked Obama's position on withdrawing troops from Iraq.

"I am not embarrassed to tell you that I did not watch the Democrat debate last night," McCain said. "But I am told that Senator Obama made the statement that if al Qaeda came back to Iraq after he withdraws, after American troops are withdrawn, then he would send military troops back if al Qaeda established a base in Iraq."

"I have some news. al Qaeda is in Iraq," McCain added sarcastically.

Obama responded to McCain at a rally in Ohio.

"I have some news for John McCain," Obama said. "There was no such thing as al Qaeda in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq."

Obama claims that Bush and McCain have ignored the threat of al Qaeda in Afghanistan, strengthening the terrorist organization there. "John McCain may like to say he wants to follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell, but so far all he's done is follow George Bush into a misguided war in Iraq that's cost us thousands of lives and billions of dollars," Obama said.

McCain argues that the surge in Iraq is working, and that al Qaeda is on the run. But he stopped short of calling Obama inexperienced on national security. "I don't make that judgment," he said. "I just question as strongly as possible the premise that somehow you could leave Iraq and defeat the entire purpose of this strategy we're now employing, which is now succeeding."

CBS News' Maria Gavrilovic contributed to this report

  • Andante Higgins

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