Tom Raum
Associated Press
July 22, 2008

Republican John McCain worked on Monday to wrestle the spotlight from rival Barack Obama’s tour of Iraq by insisting he was right and the Democrat was wrong about the war and releasing a new critical ad blaming higher gas prices on his opponent.

As Obama toured the war zones trailed by U.S. network TV anchors, McCain ridiculed him from afar during a visit with the first President George Bush at his summer home on the Atlantic. At the same time, the Republican contender released an eyebrow-raising new ad flatly blaming the Illinois senator for higher gasoline prices.

The Republican and Democratic presidential contenders have differed sharply over Iraq. Obama has said he would withdraw U.S. troops from combat there over 16 months while reinforcing the U.S. effort against al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan. McCain has resisted any timetable for withdrawal, insisting that victory in Iraq is a necessary precursor to success in Afghanistan.

Any withdrawal of troops from Iraq “must be based on conditions on the ground,” McCain told reporters as he stood beside the 84-year-old former president.

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