February 27th, 2008 by Rightsideup

Nice mature response here from Barack Obama to a legitimate criticism from John McCain. (From Jim Geraghty at The Campaign Spot on National Review Online.)

Obama apparently said the following in the Democratic debate Tuesday night:

As commander in chief, I will always reserve the right to make sure that we are looking out for American interests. And if al-Qaida is forming a base in Iraq, then we will have to act in a way that secures the American homeland and our interests abroad.

John McCain rightly pointed out when asked about the comment later:

I have some news. Al-Qaida is in Iraq. It’s called ‘al-Qaida in Iraq,’ [unless of course, you’re the New York Times, in which case Al-Qaida (or Al-Qaeda) is not in Iraq but in Mesopotamia, wherever that is…]

When presented with this snippet, Obama responded as follows:

I’ve got some news for John McCain, that is there was no such thing Al Qaeda in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade.

“I’ve got some news for John McCain. I’ve got some news for John McCain. He took us into a war, along with George Bush that should have never been authorized, never been waged. They took their eye off the people who were responsible for 9/11 and that would be Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, that is stronger now than at any time since 2001. I’ve been paying attention John McCain!

“John McCain may like to say that he wants to follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of Hell. But so far all he’s done is follow George Bush into a misguided war in Iraq that’s cost us thousands of lives and billions of dollars and that I intend to bring to an end so that we can actually start going after Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and in the hills of Pakistan, like we should have been doing in the first place. That’s the news John McCain!

“I respect John McCain, but he’s tied to the politics of the past; we’re about the policies of the future. He’s the party of yesterday. We want to be the party of tomorrow. That’s why I’m running for President of the United States of America.”

This is kind of the 46-year-old politician’s version of the schoolchild’s “oh yeah? well, you suck!” It doesn’t address the question itself, but instead tries to change the subject and counter-attack with something completely different. But, thankfully, Obama “respects” John McCain – phew. That’s alright then.

Now, I think it’s inevitable that during a campaign as long and arduous as all these guys have to go through, they’re going to goof every once in a while, and when it’s a Republican who goofs, it gets blanket coverage (see Romney saying Osama instead of Obama compared with this Obama goof and Hillary’s “Medvedev – whatever” comment from the debate last night). But it sure would be nice if the candidates would just say, “you know what? I misspoke. I apologize. What I meant was….” I guess we can dream on with that one…