WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – Republican Sen. John McCain’s personal narrative as a war hero in Vietnam has Democrats treading carefully when they criticize him. 

Instead of trading barbs with each other, Democratic White House hopefuls Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton this week have trained their attention on McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee. 

mccain21.jpgObama, an Illinois senator, and Clinton, a New York senator, have assailed McCain for his support for the Iraq war and his backing of President George W. Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. 

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.