By Michael D. Shear
SREDONA, Arizona -- Sen. John McCain immediately began
using Joe Biden's own words against him early Saturday morning,
drawing on the Democratic vice presidential nominee's criticism of
Sen. Barack Obama during the Democratic primary.
"There has been no harsher critic of Barack Obama's lack of
experience than Joe Biden," said McCain spokesman Ben Porritt. "Biden has denounced Barack Obama's poor foreign policy judgment and has strongly argued in his own words what Americans are quickly realizing -- that Barack Obama is not ready to be President."
Running against Obama for the presidency, Biden said nominating
someone without national security credentials would be a "tragic
mistake" and said that the presidency "is not something that lends
itself to on-the-job-training."
The first volley from McCain's staff arrived at 1:50 a.m. ET, reflecting the new pace of presidential politics in the Internet
era. And it foreshadowed what is certain to be a principal line of attack
Obama's selection of Biden, which began leaking out Friday
evening, set in motion a new Republican effort aimed at undermining
the Democratic ticket even as the pair prepare to make their first public
appearance as running mates in Springfield, Ill.
McCain aides are also likely to go after Biden by arguing that he
does not represent the fundamental change that Obama has been
promising since beginning his presidential run.
Biden, a 36-year veteran of the U.S. Senate, is a creature of
Capitol Hill, someone who is steeped in the nuances of the legislature
and is part of an institution that regularly gets terrible approval
ratings by Americans.
Obama has been running against Washington, saying that the people
there like McCain are the problem that needs to be fixed. McCain can
argue that by choosing Biden, Obama abandons that case.
But McCain has to be careful. He has served in the Senate
alongside Biden for more than two decades, a fact that Democrats are
certain to point out. And Biden's long experience with foreign policy
issues is sure to blunt some of McCain's criticisms of Obama.
Biden and McCain are friends, part of the elite Senate club, and
are likely to offer praise for each other even as the general election
campaign gets underway after the conventions.
But that will not prevent McCain from aiming his fire at his
colleague, starting with Biden's comments during the primary.
During one of the Democratic debates, Biden stood by comments
about Obama that "I think he can be ready, but right now I don't
believe he is. The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-
In August, Biden was harshly critical of Obama's lack of
experience, saying, "Having talking points on foreign policy doesn't
get you there."