Obama on McCain: Hypocrisy and fear-mongering
In an appearance in South Dakota just now, Barack Obama came back at yesterday's attacks from George W. Bush and John McCain, accusing them of "hypocrisy, fear-peddling, and fear-mongering."
He responded first to the charge from Bush that Democrats stand for appeasement in the Middle East.
"That’s exactly the kind of appalling attack that’s divided our country and that alienates us from the world, and that’s why we need change in Washington," he said, going to repeatedly link Bush and McCain.
"That was frustrating enough," he said of Bush's words. "Then John McCain gives a speech. He gave a speech in the morning where he talked about the need for civility in our politics. He talked about elevating the tone in our country.... Not an hour later, he turned around and embraced George Bush's attacks on Democrats. He jumped on a call with a bunch of bloggers and said that I wasn’t fit to protect this nation that I love."
McCain "accused me of not being fit to protect this nation – a nation my grandfather served in World War II– a nation that’s given me everything that I have," Obama said, then pivoted to attack Bush and McCain on a series of issues: Iraq; the survival of Osama bin Laden's and the Al Qaeda's leadership; Iran's strength; and Hamas's and Hezbollah's ascendancy.
He broke in particular with Bush's focus on democracy in the Middle East above all else.
"They’ll have to explain why Hamas now controls Gaza – Hamas that was strengthened because the us insisted that we have democratic elections in the Palestinian Authority," he said.
McCain "still hasn’t spelled out one substantial way that he’d be different from GB when it comes to foreign policy," Obama said, accusing both of "dishonest, divisive attacks."
He also mocked McCain's opposition to talking to Hamas in light of an interview McCain gave two years ago in which he appeared to support talking to Hamas.
Then he returned to themes familiar from his primary fight with Hillary Clinton.
"They’re trying to fool you. They’re trying to scare you. And they’re not telling you the truth. And the reason is that they can’t win a foreign policy debate on the merits," he said, calling their belief in the power of "tough talk" "naive and irresponsible" -- charges he exchanged with Clinton over his plan to meet with dictators.
He needs to keep on pounding on this. Linking McCain to Bush; turning McCain into a referendum on a Third Bush Term, and most of all, standing up to the lunacy in foreign policy of the last 7 years that has NOT made us safer.