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Webb: McCain Is Consistently ‘Impugning People’s Patriotism’ And ‘Hiding Behind The Troops’

By ThinkProgress on April 14, 2007 at 6:23 pm

"Webb: McCain Is Consistently ‘Impugning People’s Patriotism’ And ‘Hiding Behind The Troops’"

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During his major Iraq speech last week, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) smeared congressional leaders who won the passage of legislation setting a timeline for withdrawal. “What were they celebrating? Defeat? Surrender? In Iraq, only our enemies were cheering.”

Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA), a former Marine and decorated combat veteran, responded aggressively to McCain’s comments during an interview with Bloomberg television:

I’m disappointed in John McCain. I’ve known him for many years. The day before we begin the debate on the Iraq bills, he pulled me aside on the Senate floor and said, Jim, we do not want the situation we had in the Vietnam War. We do not want one side impugning the patriotism of the other side, and John McCain has been doing this consistently since that time. I don’t believe that it is in anybody’s interest for members of the Senate to be impugning the other side’s patriotism, or by the way, to be hiding behind the troops as political justification for what we’re doing.

Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/04/webbmccain414.320.240.flv]

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Transcript:

BLOOMBERG: Senator, in a speech this week at VMI, in your state, Senator John McCain gave an impassioned defense of the Iraq war and he criticized congressional Democrats for playing politics with the war. And he lashed at those, he said cheered when the legislation setting the deadline passed, and I want to quote him. “What were they celebrating? Defeat? Surrender? In Iraq, only our enemies were cheering.” Pretty tough stuff.

WEBB: I’m disappointed in John McCain. I’ve known him for many years. The day before we begin the debate on the Iraq bills, he pulled me aside on the Senate floor and said, Jim, we do not want the situation we had in the Vietnam War. We do not want one side impugning the patriotism of the other side, and John McCain has been doing this consistently since that time. I don’t believe that it is in anybody’s interest for members of the Senate to be impugning the other side’s patriotism, or by the way, to be hiding behind the troops as political justification for what we’re doing.

BLOOMBERG: And you think he’s doing that?

WEBB: I think that John McCain and others have been doing that, and I’m very disappointed in it.

BLOOMBERG: Do you think he’s playing politics?

WEBB: I, you know, I think that John McCain has been impugning people’s patriotism and I really regret that he’s doing that.

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