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Biden calls McCain 'dangerously wrong'

From NBC/NJ's Mike Memoli

CINCINNATI, Ohio -- In a speech meant to both question McCain's judgment to be Commander-in-Chief and demonstrate his own expertise on foreign affairs, Biden said the Arizona senator has been "dangerously wrong" on many of the critical issues facing America in the world today.

Biden also stated emphatically that the man at the top of the Democratic ticket, Obama, "is ready to be Commander-in-Chief of the United States of America."

"Ladies and gentlemen, it is absolutely clear, it is absolutely clear to me that we need a candidate that has the judgment and the vision to renew the promise of America not only here at home but around the world," he said. "I know. I don't guess. I know who that candidate is. That candidate is Barack Obama."

Today's event was meant to be the second of two "framing" speeches by the vice-presidential nominee making a clearer contrast between Obama and McCain on domestic and international policy. And to make the case on the latter, Biden spoke for 40 minutes on a range of challenges abroad, from the war in Iraq and the war on terrorism, to the threat posed by Iran and a "resurgent Russia."

At the heart of the speech was Biden's contention that by supporting a continued and unending presence in Iraq, McCain is putting the nation at greater risk of a terrorist attack in the future. He said that the surge "is over," but that the political reconciliation it was intended to produce "has not materialized." And at the same time, he said, al Qaida continues to strike, as it has just recently in Yemen and Pakistan.

"So much for the Bush-McCain claim that we're fighting them in Iraq, so they won't attacks us over here," Biden said. "Mark my words. If, God forbid there's another attack on the United States of America, it will not come from Iraq. It will almost certainly come from the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan."

He said America spends more in one month in Iraq than it has since 9/11 in Afghanistan, a dangerous region where he noted again today his helicopter was "forced down." And if there is another attack, Biden continued, "we'll be asking ourselves … how did this happen? How did we take our eyes off the ball? How did we take our eyes off the real threat?"

*** UPDATE *** McCain campaign spokesman Ben Porritt sends this response: "Joe Biden, the Senator turned salesman, has gone through so many disjointed transformations on Iraq that he no longer represents credible leadership on the issue. A short time ago Joe Biden questioned Barack Obama's judgment and leadership on Iraq accusing him of 'cutting off support that will save the lives of thousands of American troops' when he voted against funding our military.  He has abandoned his criticisms of Senator Obama, and his own firmly held beliefs in order to reflect Barack Obama's record of trying to legislate failure in Iraq and ambition-first style of leadership."