From NBC's Mark Murray
In addition to the earlier back-and-forth over Obama's remarks yesterday on prosecuting terrorism, former presidential Rudy Giuliani -- remember him? -- has now weighed in.
"Throughout this campaign, I have been very concerned that the Democrats want to take a step back to the failed policies that treated terrorism solely as a law enforcement matter rather than a clear and present danger," Giuliani said in a statement released by the McCain campaign. "Barack Obama appears to believe that terrorists should be treated like criminals -- a belief that underscores his fundamental lack of judgment regarding our national security. In a post-9/11 world, we need to remain on offense against the terrorist threat which seeks to destroy our very way of life. We need a leader like John McCain who has the experience and judgment necessary to protect the American people."
As Politico's Ben Smith notes, both John Kerry and former counter-terrorism official Richard Clarke fired back in defense of Obama. Said Kerry: "[McCain] has fully embraced, willfully, openly, fully embraced the failed tragic policy of the Bush Administration over the last 7 and a half years, and he's really defending a policy that's indefensible.
Said Clarke: "I'd like them to show where in the record Sen. Obama has ever said he is in favor of a pure law enforcement approach."
Here are the Obama remarks from yesterday that Giuliani and the McCain campaign are pouncing on: "And it is my firm belief that we can track terrorists, we can crack down on threats against the United States, but we can do so within the constraints of our Constitution. And there has been no evidence on their part that we can't. And, you know, let's take the example of Guantanamo. What we know is that, in previous terrorist attacks -- for example, the first attack against the World Trade Center, we were able to arrest those responsible, put them on trial. They are currently in U.S. prisons, incapacitated."
"And the fact that the Administration has not tried to do that has created a situation where not only have we never actually put many of these folks on trial, but we have destroyed our credibility when it comes to rule of law all around the world, and given a huge boost to terrorist recruitment in countries that say, 'Look, this is how the United States treats Muslims.'"