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Obama Attacks McCain on Troop Surge in Iraq


From CBS News' John Bentley:

Barack Obama will hammer John McCain about troop levels in Iraq at a town hall meeting tonight in Great Falls, Montana. "He's been proposing a joint trip to Iraq that's nothing more than a political stunt," Obama will say. "But it seems like Senator McCain's a lot more interested in my travel plans than the facts, because yesterday – in his continued effort to put the best light on a failed policy – he stood up in Wisconsin and said, 'We have drawn down to pre-surge levels' in Iraq. That's not true, and anyone running for Commander-in-Chief should know better."

Yesterday, McCain said that "we have drawn down to pre-surge levels [in Iraq]." Today, he clarified those statements. "We are continuing the drawdown of troops that were part of the surge," McCain said. "Three of five brigades, and the Marines that were part of the surge, are already back and two remaining brigades will be back at the end of July."

The McCain campaign accused the Obama camp of "nitpicking," and said that the surge is working, regardless of actual troop numbers. "I don't think tens of thousands of American troops amounts to nitpicking,' Obama will say. "Tell that to the young men and women who are serving bravely and brilliantly under our flag. Tell that to the families who have seen their loved ones fight tour after tour after tour of duty in a war that should've never been authorized and never been waged."

McCain argued today that the U.S. is already in Iraq, the troops should stay until Gen. David Petraeus believes the country is under control. "Sen. Obama predicted the surge would fail in Iraq, and he was wrong," McCain said. "We are succeeding."

Allison O'Keefe contributed to this report