Democrats mix criticism of McCain with praise
WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – Republican Sen. John McCain’s personal narrative as a war hero in Vietnam has Democrats treading carefully when they criticize him.
But they have made clear the attacks are not personal.
Just before accusing McCain of lacking an understanding of how to fix the struggling economy and of pushing policies that amount to “standing on the sidelines” of the housing crisis, Obama at a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, commended McCain for his service to his country.
“Most of us know his biography and it is worthy of admiration. This is a man who is a genuine American hero and has served his country with distinction,” Obama said.
“My argument with John McCain is not his biography. It’s with his policies,” he added.
Clinton adopted a similar tone in Philadelphia on Tuesday, where she addressed a crowd of union workers. Just before she accused McCain of being just like Bush on labor issues, she too paused to give the former POW his due.
“After seven disastrous years of George Bush and Dick Cheney, the stakes in this election couldn’t be higher, and the need to change course couldn’t be more urgent,” she said.
“But I’m here to tell you Senator John McCain, a friend of mine, someone whose service to our country I admire, is only offering more of the same,” she said.
McCain was serving as a Navy pilot when his plane was shot down over Hanoi. He spent 5-1/2 years as a prisoner of war, where he was tortured.
McCain’s service during Vietnam is in the spotlight this week as he takes a tour focusing on his life story.
Photo credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst (McCain speaks during a town hall meeting in Alexandria, Virginia)