Blasting Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) in a speech Monday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said negotiating with Iran would make President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “unlikely to abandon the dangerous ambitions that will have given him a prominent role on the world stage.” When Time’s Joe Klein pointed out that Ayatollah Kahmenei and the National Security Council — not Ahmadinejad — set Iranian foreign policy, McCain dismissed the important distinction, arguing that “any average American” thought of Ahmadinejad as the Iranian leader, and so he would, too.
Speaking with ThinkProgress yesterday afternoon, Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) blasted McCain for his “overwhelming lack of sophistication” when it comes to foreign policy, and said McCain, as a presidential candidate, should know more than “average Americans” when it comes to Iran:
I just think that it’s a reflection. I don’t want an average American as president. I have great respect for average — average Americans don’t want an average American president of the United States of America. I want someone above average. I want someone who knows what they’re dealing with. And it surprises me that John didn’t understand the complexities of the power struggle going on in Iran right now.
Biden argued the U.S. should exploit the rift in the Iranian leadership between Ahmadinejad and the theocracy, saying “a sophisticated foreign policy” would “take advantage of that division.”
McCain likes to claim that he has “the most experience” when it comes to foreign policy. But time after time after time, McCain has shown — in his own words — “a fundamental misunderstanding of the issues we face, particularly in the Middle East.”
Marc Ambinder has more highlights from Biden’s speech at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.