From NBC/NJ's Adam Aigner-Treworgy
TAMPA, Fla. -- McCain tried to shift the public conversation back to national security with a roundtable at the University of Tampa here today and a statement featuring some of his harshest language pointing out Obama's lack of security credentials.
"The question is whether this is a man who has what it takes to protect America from Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, and other grave threats in the world," McCain said. "And he has given you no reason to answer in the affirmative."
Surrounding McCain during his statement were various admirals, generals, and national security bigwigs like former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge and former Navy Secretary John Lehman. McCain used these advisers as examples of respected people who doubt Obama's ability to handle an international crisis.
"These statesmen and those who have joined me here today are supporting my candidacy, because we share many of the same convictions and the same assessment of the national security challenges before our country," McCain said. "And with good reason, they question whether my opponent in this election has the wisdom or judgment to serve as commander in chief."
Referencing Obama's initial opposition to the war in Iraq and his opposition to the troop surge strategy, McCain said that the current economic crisis was a "cloud" under which his opponent was hoping that Americans would "forget" his previous positions.
Although McCain acknowledged the seriousness of the current domestic crisis, he confidently proclaimed that the country would get through it. But on the other side, McCain predicted that America would find itself faced with the same international security challenges as it is today, and a Democratically controlled Washington would be ill-prepared.
"We're getting only a glimpse of what one-party rule would look like under Obama, Pelosi, and Reid," McCain said. "Apparently, it starts with lowering our defenses and raising our taxes. Our national security is dependent on our economic security, and the plans of a Democratic-dominated Washington would harm both... At least when European nations chose the path of higher taxes and cutting defense, they knew that their security would still be guaranteed by America. But if America takes the same path, who will guarantee our security?"