McCain, Obama spar over war in Iraq

Leading presidential contenders exchange words on al-Qaida.

Published February 27, 2008 7:40PM (EST)

While campaigning on Wednesday morning in Texas, Sen. McCain mocked Sen. Obama for a comment he made during the Democratic debate Tuesday night, when he said he would take action as president "if al-Qaida is forming a base in Iraq."

In Tyler, Texas, McCain told a crowd: "When you examine that statement, it's pretty remarkable. I have some news. Al-Qaida is in Iraq. It's called 'al-Qaida in Iraq,'" according to the New York Times.

Sen. Obama shot back at a rally at Ohio State University: "I have some news for John McCain. There was no such thing as al-Qaida in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq. I have some news for John McCain. He took us into a war along with George Bush that should have never been authorized and should have never been waged. They took their eye off the people who are responsible for 9/11, and that would be al-Qaida in Afghanistan that is stronger now than at any time since 2001."

By Katharine Mieszkowski

Katharine Mieszkowski is a senior writer for Salon.

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2008 Elections Al-qaida Barack Obama Iraq John Mccain R-ariz. Middle East