John McCainJohn Sidney McCainVeterans group to hand out USS John McCain T-shirts for July 4 on the National Mall Will we ever have another veteran as president? Meghan McCain clashes with Joy Behar as the 'sacrificial Republican' on 'The View' MORE rekindled the troop surge debate today in an address to the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) National Convention in Orlando, Fla., after the campaign had largely shifted to other issues--such as Russia's invasion of Georgia--in recent weeks.

McCain reiterated his accusation that political selfishness drove Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBiden, Eastland and rejecting the cult of civility Biden lays out immigration priorities, rips Trump for 'assault on dignity' Democrats not keen to reignite Jerusalem embassy fight MORE to oppose the troop surge in early 2007.

"It was a moment when political self-interest and the national interest parted ways," McCain said. "For my part...I would rather lose an election than lose a war."

McCain's critics pounced on him earlier this summer after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki endorsed Obama's timeline for troop withdrawal and President Bush backed the notion of a "time horizon" for bringing troops home--seemingly contradicting McCain's vehement opposition to withdrawal time frames.

But McCain recommitted himself today to the argument that he, too, would bring troops home as president, and that a President McCain would ensure victory in Iraq while his opponent would not.

"In short, both candidates in this election pledge to end this war and bring our troops home. The great difference is that I intend to win it first," McCain said.

McCain continued to argue against a scheduled withdrawal, maintaining that now is a critical time to cement security gains in the war-torn nation.

"The hard-won gains of our troops hang in the balance. The lasting advantage of a peaceful and democratic ally in the heart of the Middle East could still be squandered by hasty withdrawal and arbitrary timelines. And this is one of many problems in the shifting positions of my opponent, Senator Obama," McCain told the VFW.