McCain Camp Continues Contrast With Obama on Georgia Conflict

(CBS)
From CBS News' Ryan Corsaro:

(NEWARK, N.J.) - John McCain travels with fellow Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., today to Michigan. There, McCain and wife Cindy will tour Beaver Aerospace and Defense, a company that builds commercial, military, and aerospace aircraft parts – he will then meet with and deliver remarks to employees. He'll also be greeted in Michigan by Mitt Romney's brother, George Scott Romney.

The press expect more statements from McCain later this afternoon, which will likely concern the ongoing conflict in the country of Georgia. In the past two days, McCain, his staff and supporters such as Lieberman have been addressing the Georgia issue in hopes of contrasting McCain's foreign policy experience with Barack Obama's.

On McCain's campaign plane yesterday, foreign policy advisor Randy Scheunemann told reporters, "I think the first major speech (McCain) gave expressing concerns about Russian policies in former Warsaw Pact or former Soviet Pact was in 1993. I don't know when the first statement Senator Obama might have given about Russia when he started issuing statements on Russia. So there's a depth of knowledge, a breadth of knowledge and an extent of historical experience that doesn't compare between the two on Russian policy."

"You can't compare a 15-year historical record with three or four statements over the course of fifteen months," he added.

Last night, Lieberman told a group of fundraisers that Obama did not have a "moral neutrality" in his statements on the violence in Georgia.

"The last few days, four or five days, we've seen one of the most unexpected crises in the world as the Russians moved into Georgia as aggressors," said Lieberman.

"And if you read the statements from the beginning, Senator McCain and Senator Obama, one had kind of moral neutrality to it, that comes I think from inexperience. The other, Senator McCain, was strong and clear and principled and put America where America always wants to be."

Obama has made several statements on Russia's aggressive actions in Georgia from Hawaii, where he has been vacationing with his family since this past weekend – just as both the Olympics began and Russia started engaging in military strikes in South Ossetia and moved into Georgia.

Yesterday, Obama issued a statement, saying, "Now is the time for action - not just words. It is past time for the Russian government to immediately sign and implement a cease-fire. Russia must halt its violation of Georgian airspace and withdraw its ground forces from Georgia, with international monitors to verify that these obligations are met."

Both candidates have spoken directly with Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili; Obama on Saturday and McCain as recently as Tuesday, which he recounted to supporters at a town hall that afternoon: "I told him I know I speak for every American when I say to him today we are all Georgians."
  • Ryan Corsaro

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