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Sweet: In general election mode, Obama slams John McCain. "I've been paying attention, John McCain."

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Photos by Lynn Sweet

En route on the Obama plane from Cleveland to a rally in Columbus, Mark Halperin of "The Page" snapped this photo of Obama chief strategist David Axelrod and Lynn Sweet

COLUMBUS, OHIO—One of the Obama rules is to leave no disputable assertion unanswered if you think it distorts your position, your record or your honor.

Presumptive GOP nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) got a taste what it is like to be mocked by Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on Wednesday, in what seemed a preview of a potential general election match-up.


“That’s the news, John McCain” is Obama’s newest refrain, turning McCain’s words around and tossing the grenade back.

In Tyler, Texas, McCain, referring to the Democratic debate on Tuesday in Cleveland, took on Obama over his statement that if U.S. troops leave Iraq—he would send them back if Al Queda established a base in the country.

“I have some news,” McCain said. “Al Queda is in Iraq.”

Obama, at a rally at Ohio State University here told some 7,000 people (he did not fill the basketball arena) pushed back with some news of his own, after he said how much he “revered and honored” McCain.

But when it comes to policy, McCain “is looking backwards. He’s tied to the failed policies of George Bush. He is not going to bring about change.”

Obama recapped how this morning McCain delivered some “news” to him, based on an answer Obama gave during the debate.

“John McCain thought that he could make a clever point,” said Obama, inserting fresh material into his stump speech without notes.

“…Like I wasn’t reading the papers. Like I didn’t know what was going on. I said, well first of all, I do know that Al Queda is in Iraq and that is why I said we should continue to strike Al Queda targets. But I have some news for John McCain. And that is that there was no such thing as Al Queda in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq,” Obama said to cheers.

“I’ve got news for John McCain. He took us into a war along with George Bush that should never have been authorized and never should have been waged. They took our 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.

So 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 has cost us thousands of lives and billions of dollars and that I intend to bring to end so 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,” Obama said.


7 Comments

This incredibly naive child Obama needs to stop talking about foreign affairs because it just shows his ignorance. Al Qaeda used Iraq as one of their safe havens while Sadaam Hussein was in power. Obama should stick to his pep rallies and continue leading the "yes we can" chants.

McCain take note - repeating the tattered platitudes won't work with this guy. He's going to require you to think and speak off the cuff like he does -- and then your temper is going to make it clear to America why you shouldn't be in charge.

Al Qaeda, itself, has said that Iraq is the battlefront, not Afghanistan anymore.

So who is looking backwards, McCain or Obama?

The past is over. The battle is in Iraq. It doesn' matter why this is so. It just is. If you withdraw from Iraq, like Obama insists, then you have waved the white flag against the war on terroism.

Jerry....I suggest you read Brian Fishman's (an instructor at West Point) article about Zarqawi and AQI in the Autumn 2006 Issue of Washington Quarterly entitled, "After Zarqawi: The Dilemmas and Future of Al-Qaeda in Iraq." In it he explains that indeed Zarqawi was in Iraq starting in 2002 (prior to our invasion) but he was starting a terrorist organization (not called Al-Qaeda in Iraq because in fact he and bin-Laden had deep ideological disagreements) in Iraq whose ire was not directed at the U.S. but rather at muslim cultures he viewed as apostate. It was the invasion of Iraq that prompted Zarqawi and bin-Laden to drop their differences and prompted Zarqawi to start Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Do you really think Obama, a former Harvard Law Review editor in chief and U.S. Senator, and his staff don't do their homework? Do you really think that you have a keener insight into world affairs than Senator Obama and his staffers? Please.

Jon, What are taking about. Your Obama candidate is the most unqualified person for this job.

If this man is elected, our country will fall further down the toilet.


Jason, it's no use trying to explain to the likes of Jerry and Jan that any islamist insurgency (or any insurgency that finds it tactically convenient to represent itself as islamist) can hang out a shingle reading "Al Qaeda in X" and get instant worldwide press coverage...instantly incenting all of them to do it. Al Qaeda is the all-powerful enemy, lurking EVERYWHERE!!! They want you terrified and so do Jerry and Jan. Hmm, interesting coincidence.

There are many more significant threats to our security than Al Qaeda, and I can only hope that the next president will make it his/her early business to being repairing some of the damage this administration has done to our foreign intelligence services.

Take a deep breath folks, it's a big world and most of it is scared that we're going off the deep end over a minor threat of the kind that many of them have been dealing with for decades.

Can we be a little more local here, please? What the hell is Tuddle "Nepitism Man" Stroger doing? As well as all the Democrats in Cook County? My God, a 10%+ sales tax? For what??????
He and Dickey Daley are going to tax us people out of Illinois!!!!!! Good Lord, $6 for a pack of smokes? I do not know about any other common person in Crook County who is sensible, but I have already made a VERY SMART move out of Cook County, and am in Kankakee County. I think my next move will be to Northwest Arkansas. Damn tree hugging Liberals... I'll bet a Thousand Dollars these idiots vote themselves ANOTHER pay raise this coming year, too! I would like Crook County Board President Tuddle Stroger have a $35,000 a year job, and he try to pay child suppport, rent, and a car payment WITH INSURANCE. HOW ABOUT SPENDING WITH SENSE RATHER THAN TAXING TO SPEND SENSLESSLY?????Sherrif Dart, get you head out of your ass, and have 75% of your Guards at Cook County Jail stop acting like Gestapo Agents and act like HUMANS. Hell, we're paying them over $35,000 a year, HAVE THEM EARN IT!!!! I was in for DUI, and I might as well have been John Wayne Gacey.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on February 27, 2008 11:10 AM.

Sweet column: Clinton makes mighty try at Cleveland debate, but unlikely to knock Obama off course. was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet:Clinton tells Judy Woodruff, "I hate being a front runner." is the next entry in this blog.

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