U.S. Republican presidential candidate John McCain has accused his rival, Barack Obama, of not understanding what is at stake in Iraq.
In an interview with ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" broadcast on U.S. television Sunday, Senator McCain defended his statement that Senator Obama of the Democratic Party would rather lose a war than lose an election. McCain said Obama had opposed last year's surge of U.S. troops in Iraq for political gain. McCain supported the surge and says it has helped make Iraq a stable ally in the Middle East.
In a separate U.S. television interview broadcast Sunday and recorded in London Saturday by NBC's "Meet the Press", Obama acknowledged the U.S. troop surge helped reduce violence in Iraq. But he said Iraqi initiatives to fight militants such as the Awakening Councils, also have helped improve security. Obama said the United States needs a new kind of foreign policy that employs military, diplomatic, economic, cultural and education initiatives.
McCain, 71, has struggled to get media attention this past week during Obama's highly publicized tour of Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel and Europe. U.S. public opinion surveys show a tight race between the two presidential contenders, with 100 days to the election in November. Most U.S. voters rate economic issues as their top concerns.
says he plans to start the week focusing on the U.S.
economy. He has meetings scheduled Monday with former U.S. Federal
Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert
Rubin and billionaire investor Warren Buffett. McCain has been talking
about ways to meet Americans' need for oil. He
criticized Obama Saturday for opposing increased offshore oil drilling
and nuclear power plant construction.