- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sen. John McCain revisited criticism Monday that Sen. Barack Obama’s lack of experience would risk national security, following a prediction by the Democrat’s running mate that an international crisis will test Mr. Obama within six months if he is elected president.

“We don’t want a president who invites testing from the world at a time when our economy is in crisis and Americans are already fighting in two wars,” said Mr. McCain, the Republican presidential nominee.

The Obama campaign, which holds a lead in polls with just two weeks until the vote, shifted to a defense stance because of the remark by Democratic vice-presidential nominee Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. It said the remark merely acknowledged “the simple fact that history shows presidents face challenges from Day One.”

“After eight years of a failed foreign policy, we need Barack Obama’s good judgment and steady leadership, not the erratic and ideological Bush-McCain approach that has set back our security and standing in the world,” Obama campaign spokesman David Wade said.

The McCain camp has said the Delaware senator’s remarks undercut the endorsement of Mr. Obama, the Democratic nominee, over the weekend from President Bush’s former secretary of state, Colin L. Powell. Mr. Obama of Illinois touted Mr. Powell on Monday as an adviser to his future administration.

Mr. McCain said voters should be more troubled that Mr. Biden asked supporters to stand with Mr. Obama in time of crisis because it will appear he makes the wrong decisions.

“Forget apparent,” Mr. McCain said at a campaign stop in Belton, Mo. “Senator Obama won’t have the right response, and we know that because we’ve seen the wrong response from him over and over during this campaign. He opposed the surge strategy that is bringing us victory in Iraq and will bring us victory in Afghanistan. He said he would sit down unconditionally with the world’s worst dictators. When Russia invaded Georgia, Senator Obama said the invaded country should show restraint.”

The Obama campaign said the Arizona senator was “flailing” in search of a compelling message to break voters away from Mr. Obama, including saying Mr. Obama’s tax policies sound like socialism and that Mr. Obama’s failure to disclose the source of contributions less than $200 undermined the campaign-finance system.

Mr. Biden’s comments Sunday came at a fundraising event in Seattle.

“It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy,” he said. “The world is looking. We’re about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America. … Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.”

Mr. Biden said he could name four or five scenarios for Mr. Obama’s first international crisis, including confrontations in the Middle East or with Russia.

“We’re gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him,” Mr. Biden said.

On the stump, Mr. Obama kept focused on the country’s economic plight that has further soured voters on the Bush administration and helped solidify the Democrat’s lead over the last few weeks.

“The economic crisis we face is the worst since the Great Depression,” Mr. Obama said at a rally in Fayetteville, N.C., where he rattled off a litany of bad news, including 760,000 jobs lost this year, wages dropping to the lowest level in a decade and a tightening credit market.

“At this rate, the question isn’t just ‘Are you better off than you were four years ago?’ he said. “It’s ‘Are you better off than you were four weeks ago?’ ”

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