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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

National security still matters, McCain says



TAMPA -- The country's financial crisis will pass and when it does, threats to America's security will remain, John McCain told a crowd of about 100 invited guests in Tampa today. McCain made his remarks after hosting a national security roundtable with senators and military experts.

McCain said Obama is not prepared to defend the country. "The question is whether this is a man who has what it takes to protect to America from Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda and other grave threats. He has given no reason to answer in the affirmative," he said.

McCain said he has the support of such leaders in international affairs as former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger, Lawrence Eagleburger, and George Schultz, who doubt Obama has the wisdom and judgment to defend the country.

He said Obama opposed the war in Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein as its leader. "And now he obstinately opposes the need to defend the young democracy of that country," he said.

McCain drew laughs from the crowd of about 120 supporters when referring to comments Obama’s running mate, Joe Biden, made at a fundraiser about Obama being tested by America’s enemies if he is elected.

"Sen. Biden has a way of straying off-message and stumbling on the truth," McCain said. "Because he is untested, Barack Obama can only invite an international crisis."

Most likely, McCain said, that crisis would be a nuclear-armed Iran and a nuclear arms race in the region.

And Obama’s intention to meet with such leaders as North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and the Castros in Cuba would be perceived as a sign of weakness.

Finally, McCain said if Obama becomes president with a Democratic majority in Congress, it will result in cutting defense spending and raising taxes, which would be a threat to both the country’s national security and economy.

When European countries took such an approach, they knew they could rely on America to protect to them, McCain said.

"If America takes the same tack, who will guarantee our security?" he said.

[Last modified: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 4:42pm]


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