The AP reports on Obama's swift and forceful response to Bush and McCain's criticism of his foreign policy approach:
Barack Obama laid into John McCain on Friday for advancing a tough-guy foreign policy that he called "naive and irresponsible," serving notice that he's ready to launch a full-throttle challenge to the Republican presidential contender on international relations in the general election campaign.
Lumping McCain together with President Bush, Obama declared: "If they want a debate about protecting the United States of America, that's a debate I'm ready to win because George Bush and John McCain have a lot to answer for." He blamed Bush for policies that enhance the strength of terrorist groups such as Hamas and "the fact that al-Qaida's leadership is stronger than ever because we took our eye off the ball in Afghanistan," among other failings.
The New York Times has more from the back and forth between McCain and Obama in what is the behginning of what is sure to be a long and intense debate:
Senator Barack Obama responded sharply on Friday to attacks on his foreign policy, linking President Bush and Senator John McCain as partners in "the failed policies" of the past seven years and criticizing them for "hypocrisy, fear peddling, fear mongering."
Confronting a major challenge to his world view, Mr. Obama tried to turn the tables on his critics, saying they were guilty of "bluster" and "dishonest, divisive" tactics. He cited a litany of what he called foreign policy blunders by the Bush administration and accused Mr. McCain, the presumed Republican nominee, of "doubling down" on them.
Earlier this week McCain had suggested that Obama was unfit to protect the US:
And the belief that somehow communications and positions and willingness to sit down and have serious negotiations need to be done in a face to face fashion as Senator Obama wants to do, which then enhances the prestige of a nation that's a sponsor of terrorists and is directly responsible for the deaths of brave young Americans, I think is an unacceptable position, and shows that Senator Obama does not have the knowledge, the experience, the background to make the kind of judgments that are necessary to preserve this nation's security.