Saturday, December 20th, 2014

Foreign Policy Fusillade!

SUMMARY: A television ad from John McCain attacks Barack Obama on several foreign policy issues. We find he gets two things mostly right, but another claim falls short of its target.

Just as Sen. Barack Obama was preparing for his first major overseas trip as a presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain released an attack ad on foreign policy.

"Barack Obama never held a single Senate hearing on Afghanistan," an announcer states. "He hasn't been to Iraq in years. He voted against funding our troops — positions that helped him win his nomination. Now Obama is changing to help himself become president. John McCain has always supported our troops and the surge that's working."

We checked three items from this ad and found some truth in the claims, but a few things in need of explaining.

On the Senate hearings on Afghanistan, we found a few questions about whether the right place to hear them was Obama's Foreign Relations subcommittee on Europe. But it's also true that Obama, who was busy on the campaign trail, didn't hold any hearings. We rated this claim Mostly True .

On Obama's travel to Iraq, it's true that the last time Obama visited Iraq was January 2006. But Obama was getting ready to depart for Iraq when this ad appeared, so McCain's statement was only true for about 48 hours. With that caveat, we gave it a Mostly True .

On the matter of funding for troops, McCain is right that Obama voted against funding the war — once. Obama said at the time it was a protest vote because language setting a timetable for withdrawal had been removed from the bill. On other occasions, Obama has voted to fund troops in Iraq. So we found McCain's statement only Half True .