McCain: Obama needs to show 'more leadership than going shopping'

Republican Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) blasted President Obama for not doing more to resolve the standoff in Washington over extending a payroll tax cut.

Speaking on CNN's "American Morning" on Thursday, McCain said the deadlock over extending the tax holiday "requires presidential leadership."

He said "previous presidents I've served under … would be calling them over to the White House, looking them in the eye and telling them, 'We need to fix this,' " said McCain.  

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McCain added that prior presidents "exerted a lot more leadership than going shopping," a reference to Obama's holiday outing on Wednesday.

Obama who has seen his poll numbers rise during the debate over the payroll tax, went on an afternoon Christmas shopping trip Wednesday, purchasing gifts for his family and speaking with voters.

Earlier in the day, Obama had called House Speaker John Boehner and urged him to pass a Senate bill that would extend the payroll tax cut for two months.

McCain suggested on Thursday that the House Republicans take up the Senate bill and "pass the exact same thing in the House but make it a year instead of two months. We could do that," said McCain.

McCain has been a strong critic of the House GOP stance. "Republicans are losing this fight. We need to get back on track," he reiterated.

Lawmakers are deadlocked over extending the tax cut, which will expire at the end of the year. 

Senators overwhelmingly passed a two-month extension on Saturday, but House Republicans rejected the bill and moved to call a conference committee to reconcile the Senate bill with a yearlong extension passed earlier by the House.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) have said they will not name conferees.  

The House GOP has been battered by harsh criticism over its stance from Democrats who say Republicans will take the blame for hitting 160 million Americans with a tax rise in the new year. 

The conservative Wall Street Journal editorial board on Wednesday lambasted House Republicans, saying they had "thoroughly botched" the payroll tax debate.

McCain also criticized the president's decision to withdraw all American troops from Iraq, after reports said a series of bomb explosions in Baghdad had killed at least 63 people Thursday.

McCain who has previously warned about the security threat to Iraq if American troops are gone, said that "unfortunately what I anticipated is taking place."

He said that the president's claim that the U.S. has "left a stable and democratic Iraq" was just "part of his campaigning."  

McCain called Obama's statements on Iraq "slick propaganda" and said the recent violence showed that the U.S. withdrawal was a mistake.