McCain, Obama in spat

John McCain trades barbs with Barack Obama's campaign.

By Alex Koppelman

Published April 1, 2008 12:04AM (EDT)

If you think Barack Obama will be the eventual Democratic nominee and are looking for a good example of the themes and rhetoric we can expect to become intimately familiar with over the next few months, Monday provided a good, concise blueprint.

Speaking to reporters Monday, John McCain took after Obama, hitting the Illinois senator, unsurprisingly, on the issue of experience, especially when it comes to national security. McCain said Obama "displays a fundamental misunderstanding of history and how we’ve maintained national security, and what we need to do in the future to maintain our security in the face of the transcendent challenge of radical Islamic extremism. And I understand that because he has no experience or background in any of it ... [The American people will] understand over time if they don’t know that he has no experience or background on these issues."

The Obama camp wasn't about to take that lying down. In a statement e-mailed to reporters, spokesman Bill Burton said:

Barack Obama doesn't need any lectures from John McCain, who has consistently misunderstood American national security and the history of the Middle East in arguing for an invasion and 100-year occupation of a country that had nothing to do with 9/11. Instead of spending trillions of dollars on permanent bases that the Iraqis don't want and that won't keep the American people safe, Barack Obama will end the war in Iraq and finally press Iraq's leaders to take responsibility for their future.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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2008 Elections Barack Obama John Mccain R-ariz.