Klein questions McCain's temperament

Time's Joe Klein says John McCain's remarks about his opponent's Iraq policy weren't presidential.

Published July 23, 2008 1:38PM (EDT)

On Tuesday, John McCain said, "I had the courage and the judgment to say I would rather lose a political campaign than lose a war. It seems to me that Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign."

This is not a new message for his campaign. But it is unusual to see the candidate himself attacking his opponent in such terms, which are usually left to surrogates. That McCain would stoop so low raised the ire of Time's Joe Klein, who wrote, on the magazine's blog Swampland:

I can't remember a more scurrilous statement by a major party candidate. It smacks of desperation. It renews questions about whether McCain has the right temperament for the presidency. How sad ...

There is a reason why politicians who want to be President don't say these sort of things: It isn't presidential ...

McCain should be proud that he helped salvage a disastrous situation by pushing the counterinsurgency plan. It's something to run on. But, at this point, McCain must sense that it's not a winning hand. Obama, the poker player, has drawn to an inside straight: the Iraqis favor his plan over McCain's long-term bases. That must be galling. But it's no excuse to pop off the way McCain did. It was, shockingly, unpresidential.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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2008 Elections John Mccain R-ariz.