From NBC/NJ's Adam Aigner-Treworgy and NBC's Lauren Appelbaum
CHICAGO, Ill. -- In what is quickly becoming a daily occurrence, the McCain campaign held yet another conference call with a former presidential candidate to attack Obama on his national security credentials.
This morning the former candidate-of-the-day was former Sen. Fred Thompson, but the call began off topic with a brief statement on Obama's decision to forgo public financing.
After admitting he would prefer to talk about national security, Thompson later agreed with communications director Jill Hazelbaker that Obama's decision to opt out of the public financing system was "another example of him doing whatever's necessary to achieve his goal."
"He's for public financing, you know, when it looked like it was for his benefit," Thompson said. "When the moment that it looked like it would not benefit him, he turned his back on it and then will not acknowledge what he's doing. So there's only one word for that and that's typical."
The more pressing matter -- at least as far as Thompson was concerned -- was once again Obama's support for the recent Supreme Court decision to afford enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay the right of Habeas Corpus.
"I'm more concerned about his vacillating and going back and forth and being inconsistent on matters of national security and foreign policy," Thompson said, adding that this is "typical of a liberal, young politician who is extremely ambitious."
The thrust of Thompson's argument on national security was that even in domestic criminal cases, petitions of Habeas Corpus are rarely filed until after a criminal proceeding, meaning that the court had awarded enemy combatants a right Americans a right-of-last-resort even for American citizens.
This showed that "the majority of the court doesn't take this as a real war," Thompson said, and "I don't think Senator Obama looks at this as a real war for which you would apply real war rules – that is Geneva Convention but no more than that if it works to our detriment."
The DNC pre-butted the Thompson call with some of its research:
Sept. 2007: Thompson: Osama Is Merely A Symbol. Thompson said that Osama bin Laden is "more symbolism than anything else." [AP, 9/7/07]
Sept. 2007: Thompson Argued bin Laden Should Get 'Due Process.' Thompson said that Osama bin Laden "should get due process if he's caught." Thompson also said that catching bin Laden would do little to lessen the threats to the U.S. "You know, that top-dog in Iraq that we killed a while back, you know, that was a great big deal, too. But how much changed after that?" Thompson posited. [AP, 9/10/07]