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McCain Drags out the Boogeymen in Attack on Romney

John McCain's hit piece (embedded below) against Romney is pure GOP bullshit.

McCain is the clown who makes jokes about bombing Iran, and his experience is what's needed in Washington?

Update: from the NYT:

Senator John McCain, who has long touted his own experience on matters of national security and foreign policy as top credentials, is now taking the fight directly to Mitt Romney on the topic.

And he is doing so using some of the most graphic imagery of violence in a political commercial in recent memory - reminiscent of the Lyndon Johnson "Daisy" ad that effectively used the image of an atomic bomb explosion and resulting mushroom cloud to convey the need for experience in a dangerous world.

The McCain spot, which is being released online only for now and obviously is intended as much to direct the conversation as needle his opponent, opens with horrific images of a suicide bombing somewhere evidently in the Middle East given the Arabic script on the news crawl.

There are explosions and siren and a badly injured man being dragged from the scene. Then there are images of masked terrorists in the desert, what looks to be an Al Qaeda training camp, and fighters prominently displaying their weapons.

Some three-quarters through the ad, the first words are spoken as an image of Mr. Romney appears on the screen.

"Mitt Romney says the next president doesn't need foreign policy experience," the announcer says.

Then simply: "John McCain for president."

That is it. Stark and pointed, using Mr. Romney's own comments to paint him as not only inexperienced, but dismissive of the need for foreign policy expertise.

The quote itself is truncated.

As the situation in Pakistan escalated, Mr. Romney was pressed in recent days as to why voters should feel confident that he had the credentials to guide the country on foreign policy matters.

In response, Mr. Romney has frequently pointed to Ronald Reagan as an example of another president with no traditional foreign policy experience, but one who he says nonetheless steered the country to victory in the cold war.

The quote used in the spot was pulled from an appearance on Fox News.

Romney's full statement is much more detailed:

"Well, if we want somebody who has a lot of experience in foreign policy, we can simply go to the State Department and pluck out one of the tens of thousands of people who work there," Mr. Romney said, repeating a line he told reporters earlier in Manchester, N.H. "They, of course, have been doing foreign policy all their careers. But that's not how we choose a president. A president is not a foreign policy expert."

Mr. McCain himself has been pointing to Mr. Romney's lack of experience on the trail, but using the example of his silence on Iraq and failure to recognize or speak out about the direction of the Bush Administration's war strategy.

Mr. McCain's own credentials are hard to dispute, given his role in national security decisions in the Senate for two decades. Mr. Romney obviously can not match him on that score, but has pointed to his work on the Winter Olympics, and helping plan the security for the event, as examples of working on security matters.

He also says that judgment, more than direct experience, is important for a president.

In an email to reporters, the McCain campaign pointed to a slew of comments by Mr. Romney about Iraq and other world hot spots, in an effort to show that his remarks were either glib or uninformed.

They quoted from an interview Mr. Romney gave in December 2006, when the buildup in troops was being hotly debated and Mr. McCain was championing the so-called surge:

"I'm not going to weigh in. I'm still a governor," Mr. Romney said. "I'm not running for national office at this stage. I'm not going to weigh in on specific tactics about whether we should go from 140,000 to 170,000. That's something I expect the President to decide over the next couple of weeks and announce that to the nation. I want to hear what he has to say."

Mr. Romney was not asked directly about Mr. McCain's criticism today during a news conference with reporters at a house party in Johnston but was queried about why he gave a sunny assessment of the war in Iraq after a visit in 2006, even though he now often says the aftermath of the invasion was not managed well.

You could look at what I said at that time. I was encouraged at that time that there was a creation of a coalition government and believed that was a positive step and I continue to believe that that was a positive step. Let me make it very clear. Not everything that happened over the period of time following Saddam Hussein's collapse was bad.

The establishment of a constitution, the election of a coalition and the creation of a coalition government. Those were positive developments but nonehtheless I felt in some respects the management of the post-Saddam Hussein conflict there was not as well managed as we would have hoped it would have been, and I think that was in part because we frankly did not have sufficient preparation and planning for what occurred.

Q: If you felt at that time, why didn't you say something then?

Mr. Romney: I don't recall all the things that I said at that time, so I'd just have to go back and look at my notes at that time.

Q: Wasn't it important to take a stand?

Mr. Romney: I said what I knew at that time.

Update: 2 p.m. As he was leaving his hotel in Concord here in New Hampshire this afternoon -- facing snowfall that is accumulating by the hour -- Mr. McCain said:

"Governor Romney stated that he did not think you needed foreign policy, national security experience," he said. "I beg to differ. That is why we have the endorsement of four former secretaries of state."

Anticipating a Romney response that pointed to Ronald Reagan, Mr. McCain said Reagan had vastly more experience at the time he was elected than Mr. Romney, and then added another jab.

"Apparently, those foreign policy credentials weren't good enough for Governor Romney to vote for him," Mr. McCain said. "Reagan had extensive national security, foreign policy experience," he continued. "The fact is Ronald Reagan fought communism for thirty years. Ronald Reagan was sent around the world by the Nixon administration as an envoy."


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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