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Sen. John McCain, seeking to back up his claim that Sen. Barack Obama is inexperienced on national security matters, said at a town hall meeting in Nevada that his opponent had been to Iraq only once.
"The security of this nation and its future security against the threats and the challenge of radical Islamic extremism, is transcendent," McCain told a crowd in Reno on May 28, 2008. "It's always transcendent to every president, all throughout our nation's history. And so Sen. Obama and I have a strong disagreement on this issue. And Sen. Obama has been to Iraq once."
News accounts confirm, and the Obama campaign did not dispute, that the senator has indeed traveled to Iraq just one time during the war, in January 2006. He traveled with Sens. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo.; Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind.; and Rep. Harold Ford Jr., D-Tenn.; and met with U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, American intelligence and reconstruction specialists and Iraqi election officials, according to news accounts from the time.
He also played basketball with troops in Kuwait. And in a phone call with reporters back home, he reaffirmed his skepticism about the war effort. "There is not going to be a military solution here in Iraq," Obama told the Chicago Sun-Times at the time. He said it was time to "start phasing down troops" and "to give the Iraqis more ownership."
McCain has been to Iraq eight times. One can argue about the significance of the disparity, but not about the numbers. We rule McCain's claim True.
Chicago Sun-Times, "Obama Sees No Military Solution in Iraq: He Visits Baghdad, Calls For Sunni Participation, U.S. Troop Reductions" by Lynn Sweet, Jan. 8, 2006
Los Angeles Times, "Lawmakers Call on Iraq to Shape Up" by Borzou Daragahi, Jan. 8, 2006
YouTube, "John McCain: Obama Should See Iraq for Himself" from May 28 speech in Nevada
Chicago Daily Herald, "Obama: 'Everything's Up for Grabs' in Iraq" by Eric Krol, Jan. 8, 2006
Interview with McCain spokesman Brian Rogers, May 29, 2008
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