"Look at what happened in the last two years since Senator Obama visited and declared the war lost," the GOP presidential nominee-in-waiting told The Associated Press in an interview, noting that the Illinois senator's last trip to Iraq came before the military buildup that is credited with curbing violence.
"He really has no experience or knowledge or judgment about the issue of Iraq and he has wanted to surrender for a long time," the Arizona senator added. "If there was any other issue before the American people, and you hadn't had anything to do with it in a couple of years, I think the American people would judge that very harshly."
It started on Sunday, when Senator Lindsey Graham noted Obama's long absence from Iraq and floated the idea that Obama and McCain should go to Iraq together to be briefed by Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Asked whether he'd be willing to take such a trip, McCain told the AP: "Sure. It would be fine."
Obama's initial reaction was derisive. He called the proposed fact-finding trip "nothing more than a political stunt."
Feeling the heat over the criticism that he is not open to considering the facts which may not support his view, Obama announced yesterday that he is now considering a trip to Iraq.
McCain reacted positively to Obama's changed position, saying he is “confident” a trip to Iraq will convince Obama that victory is possible:
“I certainly was…glad to hear that Senator Obama is now quote ‘considering’ a trip to Iraq. It’s long overdue. It’s been 871 days since he was there,” McCain said at a nearly 30 minute media availability Wednesday afternoon, after slamming Obama on the issue at an earlier town hall in Nevada. “I’m confident that when he goes he will then change his position on the conflict in Iraq because he will see the success that has been achieved on the ground…Presidents have to listen and learn. Presidents have to make judgments no matter how unpopular or popular they may be. So the success in Iraq is undeniable.”
[. . .]
“The facts on the ground, I’m sure would convince any objective observer. That’s why I say that I’m encouraged that he’s going because the facts on the ground are very, very clear. The statistics are there. Facts are facts,” McCain told reporters. “And I’m confident that he would certainly…recognize that this strategy is succeeding, and we have drawn down troops to the pre-surge level and we will come home with honor and victory and there will be stability in the region and that will make for a long term benefit to the United States and our national security interests.”