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McCain Says U.S. Must Lead in World Affairs, Obama "Unclear" on Foreign Policy

(CBS)

From CBS News' John Bentley:

(PHOENIX) – Aggressively advocating his foreign policy ideals, John McCain told a group of veterans here today that America's enemies will not be defeated by the nations of the world coming together, but by democracies uniting under America's leadership. "There are those who say that our day as the free world's leader has passed, that our moment is waning," McCain told a group of roughly 7,000 veterans at the annual American Legion convention. "In times of trouble, free nations of the world still look to America for leadership, because they know the strength of America remains the greatest force for good on this earth."

He criticized Barack Obama for being "unclear" on his stance of America's role in world affairs. "He suggested that the end of the Cold War proved that there was 'no challenge too great for a world that stands as one,'" McCain said. "The Cold War ended not because the world stood 'as one,' but because the great democracies came together, bound together by sustained and decisive American leadership."

He also attacked Obama's statement on Georgia, where Obama said the U.S. should "lead by example" by not charging into other countries. "If I catch Senator Obama's drift, then, our failure to 'lead by example' was the liberation of Iraq. And if he really thinks that, by liberating Iraq from a dangerous tyrant, America somehow set a bad example that invited Russia to invade a small, peaceful, and democratic nation, then he should state it outright – because that is a debate I welcome," McCain said. "In the end, confusion about such questions only invites more trouble, violence, and aggression. To promote stability and peace, America must stand firmly on the side of freedom and justice. The next president must bring to office a clear-eyed view of our nation's role in the world, as the defender of the oppressed and a force for peace."

The Obama campaign responded that McCain had again attacked their candidate's patriotism. "The 'confusion' here is between John McCain rhetoric that no one's love of country should be questioned and the reality of his campaign's daily, false, personal and detestable attacks on Senator Obama," said Obama campaign spokesman Hari Sevugan. "In contrast, Barack Obama has called for strong American leadership and renewing strong alliances to finish the fight against al Qaeda and press Russia to live up to its obligations."