by Jordan Zakarin
Presumptive Republican Presidential nominee John McCain accused Democratic Rival Barack Obama of having a “July 3rd mindset” during a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, touching off a war of words between the two candidates that played out through the media.
“With all due respect, I frankly believe that Senator Obama is living in a pre-July 4th world,” McCain said. “Perhaps he does not quite grasp the gravity of what occurred on that otherwise quiet summer day in the summer of 1776, but I do, because I was there.”
Continuing his attack, the Arizona Senator said that he believed that Obama was guilty of naïvely underestimating the threat that is facing the United States. “What my opponent does not understand, is that we must remain on the offensive, ever vigilant against the unrelenting desire to destroy our democracy that drives King George’s fanatical Red Coats.”
Obama fired back at the GOP standard bearer, saying the accusations were both false and a sign of the McCain campaign’s weakness. “Let me say that, I respect John McCain’s service to his country. He displayed bravery all those years ago. But for him to accuse me of being naïve, that just smacks of desperation. He wouldn’t be attacking me if he didn’t think his record could stand on its own. We all know he’d just be a continuation of King George.”
Later in the day, McCain responded with a defense of his foreign policy and military credentials, a resume that he hopes to turn into a cornerstone of his campaign. He hammered Obama for not meeting with the top generals in charge of the Continental Army, saying he was in close contact with a number of Colonial military leaders.
“Perhaps Senator Obama does not truly understand the situation we are in because he has not taken the time to meet the heroes that are waging this war against the King’s forces,” McCain charged. “I have known Generals Washington and Morgan for years, having served with them in the French-Indian War. Horatio Gates and Lafayette are also close personal friends of mine. And I’ve visited with all of those great men on the battlefields of this war, amidst the fog of the muskets and cannons, and the bayonets breathing down our throats. So don’t tell me I don’t understand this modern day enemy.”
A short time later, McCain made his most piercing remarks, echoing President Bush’s speech in Israel last month that suggested that Obama was appeaser in the vein of Neville Chamberlain.
“My opponent likes to talk about hope, but my friends, my most sincere hope for this country is that it is not taken down from the inside by Tory loyalists and tea-tax sympathizers,” a now impassioned McCain said. He continued to hammer away at Obama, whom he called “someone who apparently believes Bunker Hill could have been avoided if we had all sat down together and ‘talked’ like nice colonists.”
“Now, for all the talking the Senator from Illinois likes to do about judgment, let me remind my fellow Americans that are unsure of the distinction between the two of us, that I was the first to go out on a limb, bucking both Federalists and Jeffersonian Democrat-Republicans, in calling for a change in strategy in the war. Now that the strategy I advocated, General George Washington’s strategic retreats through New York, is being utilized, I believe we have taken a significant turn in this war.”
Obama had the final word, at a late-night rally in Michigan, where he insisted that McCain was too entrenched in an outdated politics to make an effective commander-in-chief. “Today, we are in need of a new kind of politics, a hopeful foreign policy, and I’m afraid John McCain is stuck in the past, fighting the same old battles that Americans and British alike are ready to move on from.”