John McCain's campaign renewed its effort to portray Barack Obama as dangerously inexperienced in foreign affairs after Obama's running mate, Joe Biden, told campaign donors that Obama would be tested with an international crisis early in his presidency. (Seattle Times)
What the commentators said
Biden's warning raises new questions about Obama's readiness, said William Kristol in The Weekly Standard online. He said that Obama would be tested the way another young president, John F. Kennedy, was, and that his response won't necessarily seem like the correct one. So Biden doesn't just think his boss is "inexperienced," he expects Obama to respond weakly to "testing by a dictator."
That's not exactly what Biden said, said Domenico Montanaro in MSNBC. He said that Obama would need his supporters to rally behind him because he might have to make some "unpopular decisions." But Biden also said that anyone who tests Obama's mettle is "going to find out this guy's got steel in his spine." He wasn't saying Obama isn't ready; he was arguing "precisely the opposite."
Then what's with the Kennedy analogy? asked the New York Post in an editorial. Shortly after Kennedy "bungled the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba," Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushev "determined the rookie chief executive could be had," and he proceeded to push Kennedy with the construction of the Berlin Wall and the Cuban missile crisis. Biden is saying Obama will be tested the same way, and might stumble. "Terrific."
What Biden's doing, said Jennifer Skalka in the National Journal online, is raising the "temperament issue," by asking voters to think about who they'd "rather have leading the nation, communicating with the countries of the world." He's also giving himself a pat on the back, by saying there's no need to worry with him at Obama's side. "Remember who's standing next to the other guy."
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