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John McCain's "hundred years" in Iraq is the Democrats' new ad

April 27, 2008 |  1:12 pm

The Democratic National Committee has unveiled a new 30-second ad attacking Republican nominee-in-waiting John McCain.

Titled “100,” the ad -- which you can see below -- begins with footage of McCain, during a town-hall forum in New Hampshire in January, responding to a voter's comment about how long U.S. troops could be expected to remain in Iraq.

President Bush has talked about our staying in Iraq for 50 years,” the audio of the voter says as his words appear on half of a split screen.

“Maybe a hundred ...

... that’d be fine with me,” McCain responds in video from the event on the other half of the screen.

The ad then shows scenes of violence from the war, and ends with a picture of Bush and McCain together as an announcer says: “If all he offers is more of the same, is John McCain the right choice for America’s future?”

Although McCain’s words have been misconstrued and mis-characterized on the campaign trail as meaning that the war could last for a century, the Arizona senator has been careful -- both during the exchange with New Hampshire peace activist Dave Tiffany and in later interviews -– to liken the continuation of U.S. troops in Iraq to the ongoing U.S. military presence in Japan, Germany and South Korea, more than 60 years after the end of World War II and more than 50 years after the cease-fire in the Korean conflict.

Asked about the new ad today on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” DNC chairman Howard Dean criticized McCain for being "out of step with the American people" and rejected the GOP’s contention that McCain’s words were being taken out of context:

“First of all, we're not arguing that he's going to be at war for a hundred years. We don't think we ought to be in Iraq for a hundred years under any circumstances. Think of the hundreds of billions of dollars that are being spent in Iraq, which we need right here at home right now to preserve American jobs ....

“Now, does anyone think, who's watching this show, that if you keep our troops in Iraq for a hundred years, people won't be attacking them and won't be setting off suicide bombs and won't be having militias go after them? I don't think so. And most Americans don't think so. What Senator McCain is saying doesn't make any sense. We cannot be in Iraq for a hundred years. Those dollars belong in America. We're in trouble in this -- in, in America. And, frankly, the Bush-McCain economic program has put us in trouble in America. That money needs to be here in America.”

-- Leslie Hoffecker