Critic or Cheerleader? The Definitive McCain Iraq Timeline

John McCain has laid claim to having the courage, foresight and leadership to stand up to President Bush’s mismanagement of the war in Iraq (the strategic miscalculation is another matter).

But was McCain the critic of Bush that he makes himself out to be? Or was he a unabashed supporter of the President and his “my way or the highway” approach to Iraq?

TPM Election Central set out to compile McCain’s public statements on the War, and we’ve put together an extensive timeline.

The record is considerably muddier than McCain would have us believe. His criticisms about troop levels, while clear and unmistakable, were hardly outside the mainstream — and were sprinkled in among regular and vocal praise for the President and his policies.

Judge for yourself.

Late Update: The timelines we compile are in their nature works in progress. We compiled examples based on our own research, from McCain’s website (which emphasized McCain’s criticism) and from other lists focused on examples of McCain’s support for Bush’s policies. And we believe our list provides an accurate representation of the totality of McCain’s comments over the years. But inevitably many examples have been left out. So review our list and if you believe you have more examples that should be included in the list send them to our comments email address with the subject heading “McCain Timeline”. Be sure to include the exact quote as well as a citation to the source of the quote — jmm.