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McCain Campaign Takes Aim at Obama-Biden

Posted on 24 August 2008

By Michael D. Shear
SEDONA, Ariz. — Sen. John McCain immediately began using Joe Biden’s own words against him early Saturday morning, drawing on the Democratic vice presidential nominee’s criticism of Sen. Barack Obama during the Democratic primary.

“There has been no harsher critic of Barack Obama’s lack of experience than Joe Biden,” said McCain spokesman Ben Porritt. “Biden has denounced Barack Obama’s poor foreign policy judgment and has strongly argued in his own words what Americans are quickly realizing — that Barack Obama is not ready to be President.”

Running against Obama for the presidency, Biden said nominating someone without national security credentials would be a “tragic mistake” and said that the presidency “is not something that lends itself to on-the-job-training.”

The first volley from McCain’s staff arrived at 1:50 a.m. ET, reflecting the new pace of presidential politics in the Internet era. And it foreshadowed what is certain to be a principal line of attack

Obama’s selection of Biden, which began leaking out Friday evening, set in motion a new Republican effort aimed at undermining the Democratic ticket even as the pair prepare to make their first public appearance as running mates in Springfield, Ill.

McCain aides are also likely to go after Biden by arguing that he does not represent the fundamental change that Obama has been promising since beginning his presidential run.

Biden, a 36-year veteran of the U.S. Senate, is a creature of Capitol Hill, someone who is steeped in the nuances of the legislature and is part of an institution that regularly gets terrible approval ratings by Americans.

Obama has been running against Washington, saying that the people there like McCain are the problem that needs to be fixed. McCain can argue that by choosing Biden, Obama abandons that case.

But McCain has to be careful. He has served in the Senate alongside Biden for more than two decades, a fact that Democrats are certain to point out. And Biden’s long experience with foreign policy issues is sure to blunt some of McCain’s criticisms of Obama.

Biden and McCain are friends, part of the elite Senate club, and are likely to offer praise for each other even as the general election campaign gets underway after the conventions.

But that will not prevent McCain from aiming his fire at his colleague, starting with Biden’s comments during the primary.

During one of the Democratic debates, Biden stood by comments about Obama that “I think he can be ready, but right now I don’t believe he is. The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training.”

In August, Biden was harshly critical of Obama’s lack of experience, saying, “Having talking points on foreign policy doesn’t get you there.”