Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) and Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) were on CBS’s Face the Nation today debating the Georgia-Russia conflict. Bayh said that John McCain went too far by proclaiming that we are all Georgians now, and praised Obama’s foreign policy judgment.
Host Bob Schieffer asked Bayh if McCain went too far in his response to the crisis, and Bayh replied, “Bob, I do. We aren’t all Georgians now. If we were Georgians and the Russians were invading our country and killing our people, we’d be in a state of war. And clearly, that’s not what we want. And John, sometimes, he’s a good person, but he’s a little bit given to this kind of bellicose rhetoric, which has a tendency to inflame conflicts rather than to defuse them, and that’s what you want in a president.”
Bayh touted Obama’s judgment on Iraq, “I think Barack Obama has consistently demonstrated superior judgment to Senator McCain on a whole host of national security issues,” Bayh added. “Whether to go into Iraq or not: Barack Obama was correct. How to get out of Iraq: The Iraqis embrace Barack Obama’s position – even George Bush is coming around.”
He also said that Obama was correct about Afghanistan, “He was right about Afghanistan; finally, John McCain is coming around on that. He was right about engaging Iran; George Bush has come around on that. And he was right about Georgia. Months ago, he was calling for this conflict to be diffused. Instead, the president and John McCain are so obsessed with Iraq, we dropped the ball. If we’d listened to Senator Obama and his judgment, perhaps we wouldn’t be here today.”
This interview was 11:43 long, and 9:00 of it was dedicated to foreign policy. This debate between surrogates highlighted the choice that voters will have to make in November. Pawlenty was stressing McCain’s experience, while Bayh focused on judgment. The problem that the McCain campaign faces is that the experience argument has so far, not played well this year. The most notable failure of this strategy was Hillary Clinton’s primary campaign.
The arguments that each of these candidates are presenting are as old as the hills, and at the end of the day, this election will be determined by what voters feel the nation needs most, judgment or experience. With the focus of this election turning more towards foreign policy, the Obama campaign would be wise to consider adding a running mate with foreign policy experience, because McCain’s best chance of winning revolves around this race turning into a discussion about experience and foreign policy.
Watch the full discussion below: