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Obama vs. McCain: Clash over Iraq

The L.A. Times notes how McCain and Obama clashed on Iraq yesterday. "Responding to Obama's frequent mocking of McCain's suggestion that U.S. troops might remain in Iraq for 100 years, the Republican nominee-in-waiting said the Illinois senator failed to understand that America has kept forces in Korea, Japan, Germany and Kuwait long after wars in each country ended. 'In all due respect, it displays a fundamental misunderstanding of history, of how we've maintained national security, and what we need to do in the future to maintain our security in the face of the transcendent challenge of radical Islamic extremism,' McCain told reporters on his campaign plane. 'And I understand that, because he has no experience or background in any of it,' McCain added."

"Obama and other critics have dogged McCain over his remark in New Hampshire last year that the U.S. might keep troops in Iraq for as long as 100 years." More: "Campaigning Monday in Allentown, Obama questioned McCain's judgment -- and that of New York Sen. Clinton -- in voting to authorize the war in Iraq. 'John McCain and Hillary Clinton, they had a chance to make a good decision on the most important foreign-policy issue of a generation, and they got it wrong,' Obama told a crowd of 4,000 at Muhlenberg College."

When asked yesterday about how he would respond to McCain's "Service to America" tour, Obama replied, per NBC/NJ's Aswini Anburajan: "I think it would be foolish to critique John McCain for being an American patriot. The guy's a war hero. He was a POW for years, and endured horrendous treatment and torture. So I would never challenge John McCain's patriotism." Obama added that he didn't expect McCain to play the patriotism card against his eventual Democratic opponent.

"To his credit, I haven't heard John McCain going around challenging other people's patriotism. I think John McCain, like many veterans, tend not to suggest that other people are unpatriotic," he said. Obama also said that he would challenge McCain on other grounds, including the Iraq war, his "absence" of a solution on the mortgage-lending crisis, and the Bush tax cuts. "But I would never challenge him on his patriotism, because I think that he has earned the honor and the respect of the American people on that front."