Biden slams McCain on national security (stays on message)

Jake Turcotte

Billed as a speech on national security, Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden filled the role of attack dog today in Cincinnati.

Some could say the most notable achievement of the speech was Sen. Biden's ability not to contradict any of Obama's positions, which – given this past week – is a big improvement for the Senator.

While those less cynical could argue the speech was a powerful rebuke to John McCain's strong advantage (according to polls) on the foreign policy front.

McCain was right?

“This week, John talked about the judgment required to be Commander in Chief. He’s right: nothing is more important than judgment," Biden said, flirting with another possible gaffe.

"But time and again, on the most critical national security issues of our time, John McCain’s judgment was wrong," he said to the likely relieved sighs of the Obama campaign.

Non-stop failures

"Right after the terrorists attacked us on 9-11, John responded by urging that we consider attacking countries other than Afghanistan, including Iraq, Iran, and Syria," Biden said before going into many more examples of what he considered McCain failures.

"In the run up to the war in Iraq, John insisted that we would be greeted as liberators… that we didn’t need a lot of troops… that victory was imminent," he continued. "Then, he said he wasn’t worried about Afghanistan… that we would “muddle through”… and he declared Afghanistan to be “a remarkable success. In John’s judgment, there is nothing to talk about with Tehran. And he has one idea for dealing with Russia: kick it out of the Group of Eight nations."

Linking McCain to President Bush throughout, Biden called McCain's judgment "dangerously wrong" and issued a warning.

“Mark my words,” Mr. Biden said. “If, God forbid, there is another major attack on America, it will not come from Iraq. It will almost certainly come from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border where the Bush/McCain approach let down our guard and let our enemies off the hook.”

Pre-game feud

Even before the speech began the McCains and the Obamas – like the Hatfields and the McCoys – were already a-feudin' with the McCain team, emailing out criticism before Biden even delivered the first word.

Calling Biden a "salesman" McCain spokesman Ben Porritt said the Delaware Senator had no "credible leadership on the issue of Iraq" because of his "many disjointed transformations" on the issue.

"A short time ago Joe Biden questioned Barack Obama’s judgment and leadership on Iraq, accusing him of ‘cutting off support that will save the lives of thousands of American troops’ when he voted against funding our military," Porritt said.  "He has abandoned his criticisms of Senator Obama, and his own firmly held beliefs in order to reflect Barack Obama's record of trying to legislate failure in Iraq and ambition-first style of leadership."

Just like Favre

The McCain email detailed a litany of criticisms against Biden, as if trying to illustrate that his foreign policy positions are as scattershot as Brett Favre's passes were in the first half of Monday's game against San Diego. The email noted Biden supported the use of force against Iraq and that he believed Iraq's weapons posed a threat to the U.S.

Today's foreign policy speech is an appetizer to the foreign policy entree to be served on Friday evening, when the tops of the ticket will go at it discussing national security issues in the first of three presidential debates.

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