ABC News' Bret Hovell Reports: Presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., continued questioning his rival’s preparedness for the office of President Wednesday, saying that Democratic frontrunner Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., needs to "listen and learn" on a range of issues, most specifically Iraq.
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McCain pressed Obama for only having gone to Iraq once and for not having visited the country since the so-called surge of troops started early last year.
"Senator Obama has been to Iraq once a little over 2 years ago he went and he has never seized the opportunity except in a hearing to meet with General Petraeus, General Petraeus!" McCain told the crowd at a Boys and Girls Club in Reno, NV. "My friends...this is about leadership and learning."
McCain proposed that he and Obama go to Iraq together.
"I would be glad to go with him because these issues are far more important than any election," McCain said.
The Obama campaign fired back that McCain is complicit in a failed war, one that the Illinois senator has been challenging for years.
"Senator McCain stubbornly insists on pursuing the failed Bush policy that continues to cost so much, while Senator Obama believes it's time to begin a deliberate, careful strategy to remove our troops and compel the Iraqis to take responsibility for their own future," said Bill Burton, a spokesman for the Obama campaign.
Nearly 700 people attended McCain’s town hall meeting here, and were lively in their support for the Arizona Republican and presumptive Republican nominee.
McCain also borrowed an Obama criticism from the Clinton campaign, slamming Obama for the way he has handled the chairmanship of the Subcommittee on Europe, which has some purview of the war in Afghanistan via NATO.
"Senator Obama is the chairman of an important subcommittee that has the oversight of what's going on in Afghanistan," McCain said. "He has not held one single hearing on Afghanistan, where young Americans are in harm's way as we speak."
McCain also hit Obama for his willingness to sit down with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
"Now why is it that Sen. Obama wants to sit down with the president of Iraq but hasn't yet sat down with General Petraeus, the leader of our troops in Iraq?" McCain asked rhetorically.
On the pertinent local issue of the day, McCain said he is in favor of using Yucca Mountain as a storage space for nuclear waste. His response received no boos and evoked scattered applause from about a quarter of the gathered group.
He also said that he'd prefer to have an international system in place to coordinate the storage of nuclear waste, and that he also believes nuclear waste should be reprocessed. He blamed former President Carter (whose name evoked boos) for a "misguided decision" that set the course against reprocessing in this country.