Obama Hits Back
by Todd Beeton, Wed Jun 18, 2008 at 07:05:27 PM EDT
Throughout the primary, Barack Obama developed some effective rapid response skills, usually hitting back on criticisms immediately, using whatever event he was holding at the time as a platform from which to launch a defense and/or counter-attack. Running against Hillary Clinton, Obama got a lot of practice at it and it's become a freakin well-oiled machine that's being put to good use now that McCain and his GOP goons have begun to unleash the tired 2004 playbook on him. The latest attack on Obama from the oh so civilized McCain camp, is that Obama is "naive" about terrorist threats.
In a conference call with reporters, McCain adviser Randy Scheunemann said Tuesday: "Senator Obama is a perfect manifestation of a September 10th mind-set. ... He does not understand the nature of the enemies we face." Former CIA director James Woolsey said Obama has "an extremely dangerous and extremely naive approach toward terrorism ... and toward dealing with prisoners captured overseas who have been engaged in terrorist attacks against the United States."
I suppose this blatantly dishonest character assassinating propaganda is the sort of thing that would get the Morning Joe stamp of approval.
Barack's response was swift and strong:
"These are the same guys who helped to engineer the distraction of the war in Iraq at a time when we could have pinned down the people who actually committed 9/11," the presumed nominee told reporters aboard his campaign plane. "This is the same kind of fear-mongering that got us into Iraq ... and it's exactly that failed foreign policy I want to reverse."
Nice. But Barack wasn't done. Today, he continued his fierce indictment of the Bush-McCain foreign policy in remarks made to reporters after meeting with his new Senior Working Group on national security. Over the past year, Senator Obama has often said that he welcomes a debate on national security with Republicans because "that's a debate I'll win." He wasn't kidding.
"Now in their attempt to distort my position, Senator McCains campaign has said I want to pursue a law enforcement approach to terrorism. This is demonstrably false, since I have laid out a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy that includes military force, intelligence operations, financial sanctions and diplomatic action. But the fact that I want to abide by the United States Constitution, they say, shows that I have a pre-9/11 mindset.
Well I refuse to be lectured on national security by people who are responsible for the most disastrous set of foreign policy decisions in the recent history of the United States. The other side likes to use 9/11 as a political bludgeon. Well, lets talk about 9/11.
The people who were responsible for murdering 3,000 Americans on 9/11 have not been brought to justice. They are Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda and their sponsors the Taliban. They were in Afghanistan. And yet George Bush and John McCain decided in 2002 that we should take our eye off of Afghanistan so that we could invade and occupy a country that had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11. The case for war in Iraq was so thin that George Bush and John McCain had to hype the threat of Saddam Hussein, and make false promises that wed be greeted as liberators. They misled the American people, and took us into a misguided war.
Here are the results of their policy. Osama bin Laden and his top leadership the people who murdered 3000 Americans have a safe-haven in northwest Pakistan, where they operate with such freedom of action that they can still put out hate-filled audiotapes to the outside world. Thats the result of the Bush-McCain approach to the war on terrorism."
Gotta love it. With statements like this Obama is sending several important messages: 1. he won't be swiftboated; 2. if you attack him, he'll go on offense right back against you; and 3. he's not like those other Democrats who shirked from a debate about 9/11 and national security. As Greg Sargent says:
Only two years ago, some Dems were still saying, "please, please, PLEASE, let's NOT talk about 9/11." Now Obama is inviting an argument about it -- and more important, he's saying it's an argument he will win.