Greg Sargent points out that John McCain has already begun mocking Barack Obama for making this comment in last night’s Democratic candidates debate:
“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.” The key being the word “if.”
McCain rejoined today: “When you examine that statement, it’s pretty remarkable. I have some news. Al-Qaida is in Iraq. It’s called `al-Qaida in Iraq,'”
Sargent also points out that the Republicans have had the upper hand at mocking their Democratic rivals over the past two election cycles. (Bush v. Gore, Bush v. Kerry) But, Barack Obama’s superior rhetorical skills should serve him well this cycle. To wit, his response to McCain:
“I have some news for John McCain,” Obama said, according to The Politico. “There was no Al Qaeda in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain” started their war.
That will likely become a stock message for Obama. He also uncorked this:
“John McCain may like to say 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.”
Ouch! But getting punch in the teeth, my friend, always hurts. McCain may want to stick to the issues and not get too cute. It does not serve him well, and is beneath his dignity. Or not. But this sort of mocking could come back to bite him.