McCain's Test

Joe Biden's impulsive prediction that Barack Obama's presidency would quickly be "tested" by a foreign power gave John McCain an opening to incite fear about Obama's ability to respond to an international crisis. McCain handled this opportunity with the same skill he has displayed throughout the campaign: he blew it.

“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,” McCain said Tuesday at a rally here. Then McCain veered off script to elaborate.

[more, my friends ...]

“Sen. Biden referred to how Jack Kennedy was tested in the Cuban Missile Crisis. My friends, I had a little personal experience in that,” McCain said. “I was on board the USS Enterprise. I sat in the cockpit of a flight deck on the USS Enterprise off of Cuba. I had a target. My friends, do you know how close we came to nuclear war? America will not have a president who needs to be tested. I’ve been tested my friends.”

McCain was tested by sitting in a cockpit? Kennedy didn't call McCain for advice while McCain was in his cockpit waiting to be told what to do. McCain could probably see Cuba from the flight deck of the USS Enterprise. By Sarah Palin's standards, that makes him an expert on Cuban affairs. But what does that have to do with testing a president in a crisis?

This is what happens when McCain goes off script. He reminds us that his military experience, however brave and laudable, was about taking orders. He wasn't making decisions about international policy during his military service. Obama should thank McCain for reminding voters that McCain hasn't been tested by crisis decision-making in the arena of foreign policy.

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    It's getting a fairly large amount of ... (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Salo on Tue Oct 21, 2008 at 09:32:44 PM EST
    ...drive time radio play.  I really don't consider Biden to be much of a Foreign Policy expert anyway.  He's been amazingly wrong on every decision and prediction for about 30 years.

    As a side note I've always denied that Obama has a genuine socialist bone in his body.  

    heh (5.00 / 0) (#4)
    by connecticut yankee on Tue Oct 21, 2008 at 09:34:27 PM EST
    McCain had a better gaffe tonight. He was talking about Murtha's comments about western PA being redneck or racist country and said, "I couldnt agree with him more"... then he kind of meandered around trying to find the talking points again.  It was very jumbled.

    I think McCain is getting a little wobbly. Hopefully it continues.

    Freudian slip (none / 0) (#12)
    by GlenR on Wed Oct 22, 2008 at 08:02:07 AM EST
    McCain knows he needs the racist vote to have a chance in PA just as he knew he had to accept Palin to secure the Evangelical vote. The man would sell his own mother to gain votes. Take a trip through the internet world of white power websites and you'll see why he let the remark slip. There's no differnce between the hate they spew toward Obama and the wacko Palin Evangelicals claiming Obama is the anti Christ.

    It's odd that they didn' t bring up.... (none / 0) (#2)
    by Salo on Tue Oct 21, 2008 at 09:30:03 PM EST
    ...Bush being tested--And found wanting.

     Also the Missile crisis was resolved by fairly level headed judgement after a series of arrogant attempts to destroy Castro.

    The Cuban missle crisis was caused by Kennedy's/Eisenhower's planning half cocked bellicosity toward Castro. Letting the Bay of Pigs go ahead and then not making sure the emigre's had the full support of conventional American arms at teh moment of landing was a recipe for escalating conflict.

    Castro had to install a deterent a bargaining chip for government to survive.

    Honestly, (none / 0) (#7)
    by BackFromOhio on Wed Oct 22, 2008 at 12:03:36 AM EST
    Biden blew it.  Yes, Biden's gaffe got McCain off message, but his message had not been working at all.

    & the Cuban Missile Crisis was no joke. If you weren't around or old enough at the time, I highly recommend the movie 13 Days.


    Held prisoner in that flight deck. (none / 0) (#5)
    by jerry on Tue Oct 21, 2008 at 10:07:42 PM EST
    No way to pee.  Nothing to drink.  

    The next pres. WILL be tested no matter who it is (none / 0) (#6)
    by FreakyBeaky on Tue Oct 21, 2008 at 11:44:21 PM EST
    pace Steve Clemons, because no one, friends of foes, knows anymore where we're strong or where we're weak, or what we'll commit to or how strongly.  They will all test the next president in ways big and small to find out.

    I think McCain is too angry and, what's the polite term these days, erratic (does that mean "bonkers"?) for the job.

    the last time i checked, and i could be (none / 0) (#8)
    by cpinva on Wed Oct 22, 2008 at 12:44:27 AM EST
    wrong, flight decks don't have cockpits. the planes sitting on them do, but not the decks themselves. perhaps sen. mccain should have spent more time in flight school actually paying attention in class and studying, and less time playing the part of a cocky navy pilot.

    gee TChris, how do you know for certain that pres. kennedy didn't make a secret call, on a classified radio frequency, to sen. mccain, as he sat on that flight deck, to get his opinion on how to handle kruschev? it coulda happened!

    hey, my dad was stationed in reykevick, iceland during the cuban missile crisis, he could see actual russian soldiers, from the air field control tower, surely that makes him more of an expert in foreign policy than gov. palin!

    Watch Your Mouth, Joe (none / 0) (#9)
    by bob h on Wed Oct 22, 2008 at 05:38:39 AM EST
    Joe's comment shows that they are already thinking realistically about the first term, and that is good.  But it was inappropriate for now, and I think the campaign should consider muzzling him for the next two weeks.

    Biden's "Crisis" Statement (none / 0) (#10)
    by FrankMelbie on Wed Oct 22, 2008 at 06:49:52 AM EST
    I don't believe it was a slipup by Biden.

    I believe it is deliberate and an entrapment tactic to drag McCain and Palin to raise it up as an issue in their campaign messages. That is one reason why Biden did not address it.

    I thought it was a stroke of genius by the Obama campaign to have Biden to talk about a crisis in an Obama Presidency.

    Here is the Obama strategy:

    1.Obama campaign knows Biden's reputation for his foot in the mouth.
    They have briefed him, and ensure the messages he need to speak out.Obama runs a tight ship. A very tight ship.

    2.Having Biden talking about it to donors and then allowing the conversation to leak out.Biden is no fool not to know that what he says will come out.

    1. It is arrogance to talk about an Obama presidency and what will happen. That is NOT the style of Obama and totally out of character of the strategist in the Obama camp.

    2. The need to find a diversion to the economic issues... too much on the economy for the next two weeks have a downside -- voters get bored, you have only so much to say for 14 days and there will be slipups on an issue that is Obama's strength.

    3. The issue they chose was foreign policy/national security... McCain's strength.

    4. If you notice, Biden was talking about the RESPONSE to the international crisis. Biden did NOT say how the Obama Presidency will respond.

    5. The aim is to let McCain and Palin to take the bite on the issue raised by Biden. Let the media run it and let McCain and Palin to make a campaign issue.

    6. Once McCain and Palin raised it too often in their rallies, voters, especially the independent voters, will start to compare who is best suited to respond to an international crisis? McCain or Obama.

    9.Immediately, voters will be reminded of how McCain respond to the financial crisis, his erratic behaviour, his Angry-Old-Man persona during the Presidential debate, his impetuousness and irritability, impatience etc. While Obama had sold himself as a cool-hand, level headed, steadiness, tough and unruffled. Colin Powell best encapsulates that view.

    10. Voters will ask themselves, who can I trust to RESPOND to a criss if there is one involving foreign leaders and protecting our national security?

    11.If McCain and Palin pushed this issue further, Obama campaign or its surrogates will hurl it back on McCain and Palin (who has zero foreign policy experience.. reminding voters of McCain's behaviour and response to the financial crisis and his attitudes to his opponents. Not forgetting that Biden himself is a foreign policy oldhand. Palin is not.

    I thought it was a brilliant move by the Obama campaign with only 14 days to go.

    Whoever thought this out is a real genius!!! Hats off.

    Wow (none / 0) (#15)
    by ChrisO on Wed Oct 22, 2008 at 08:45:33 PM EST
    Assuming you're serious, you sure are reading a lot into this. A fallacy that I've heard a lot throughout this campaign is that candidates control every word that comes out of their mouths, and have already strategized the impact of their words before they say them. I heard a lot about how Bill and Hillary are such savvy politicians that everything they say has a purpose (and usually a nefarious one, of course.)

    The fact is, these people speak millions and millions of words during a campaign. A lot of times they say things they wish they hadn't, once they see the reaction. A perfect example is Hillary's assasination remark, which Obama supporters assured us was totally calculated as a signal to whack jobs that it was time to take Obama out. Leveler heads knew exactly what she meant, but I'm sure if she had it to do over she would have chosen her words diffeently.

    This is a classic Occam's razor situation. Joe Biden has a long history of gaffes. What possible evidence is there that this was somehow calcualted on his part, especially since your theory requires an awful lot of moving parts? Not to mention the fact that he had very little to gain from such a stunt, and a lot to lose.

    If your post was in jest then forget everything I just said.


    GOP spinning as usual (none / 0) (#11)
    by GlenR on Wed Oct 22, 2008 at 07:54:49 AM EST
    I'm still a confused on why Biden's remark on Obama being 'tested' by a crisis is a bad thing. Is it the contention of the GOP ticket that if elected any and all potential crisis will magically disappear due to McCain's manliness or Palin's direct line to God?

    No matter what 'tests' are in the future for the next president I'm a lot more comfortable with them being met by Obama than I am by angry John or clueless Sarah

    Time to look ahead... (none / 0) (#13)
    by JohnRJ08 on Wed Oct 22, 2008 at 11:51:17 AM EST
    Even though Joe Biden was historically accurate in pointing out that new leaders are often tested by their adversaries, I think he probably now regrets making the comment. Sadly, the issue is not whether Biden's remark was wise or accurate. It is more about whether or not it gave McCain and Palin another chance to distort and attack. We're seeing a lot of this tactic in the campaign.  Two days ago, it was Palin's "Pro-America" remark. Before that it was Obama's "spread the wealth around" remark, which McCain is still getting some mileage out of. None of this stuff has anything to do with anything. I wish Obama would start talking about what his plans are starting November 5th. Give us something to look ahead to that is positive and active. He can do this without sounding cocky or complacent. Rise above the sewage spewing from McCain/Palin pipeline. Time to start talking like a winner, and let McCain/Palin be the whiners.

    What no one is talking about (none / 0) (#14)
    by fisheyezen on Wed Oct 22, 2008 at 02:54:37 PM EST
    Lieberman: U.S. May Be Attacked In 2009
    McCain Supporter Says Terrorists Have Tested New Presidents By Launching Attacks In First Year Of Term

    This interview was in June.