In his opening remarks at the Veterans of Foreign Wars' Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida this morning, Senator Obama spoke out against John McCain and his campaign's recent tactics, calling for a debate based on the merits of policy, not on personal attacks. Barack said:
If we think that we can use the same partisan politics, where we just challenge our opponent's patriotism in order to win an election, then the American people will lose. The times are too serious for this kind of politics.
... Let me be clear: I will let no one question my love of this country. I love America, so do you and so does John McCain. When I look out over this audience, I see people of different political views. You're Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but you all served together and fought together and bled together under the same proud flag. You did not serve a red America or a blue America. You served the United States of America.
Andrew Sullivan: The McCain Formula
Here's a revealing passage from his speech to the VFW Convention:
This [beginning the surge] was back when supporting America's efforts in Iraq entailed serious political risk. It was a clarifying moment. It was a moment when political self-interest and the national interest parted ways. For my part, with so much in the balance, it was an easy call. As I said at the time, I would rather lose an election than lose a war.
The clear implication is that someone who disagreed with McCain early last year could not have had a genuine reason to doubt that the surge would work and therefore could not have had a different view of the national interest. For McCain, it seems, everyone who disagreed with him was pursuing an unpatrotic selfishness - and only he was noble enough to "put country first." Good For Obama for challenging this today:
I have never suggested that Senator McCain picks his positions on national security based on politics or personal ambition. I have not suggested it because I believe that he genuinely wants to serve America's national interest. Now, it's time for him to acknowledge that I want to do the same.
Over to McCain, right?