Here’s Barack Obama talking today in Denver:
It’s time for new leadership that understands that the way to win a debate with John McCain is not by nominating someone who agreed with him on voting for the war in Iraq; who agreed with him by voting to give George Bush the benefit of the doubt on Iran; who agrees with him in embracing the Bush-Cheney policy of not talking to leaders we don’t like; and who actually differed with him by arguing for exceptions for torture before changing positions when the politics of the moment changed.
We need to offer the American people a clear contrast on national security, and when I am the nominee of the Democratic Party, that’s exactly what I will do. Talking tough and tallying up your years in Washington is no substitute for judgment, and courage, and clear plans. It’s not enough to say you’ll be ready from Day One – you have to be right from Day One.
Obviously, Obama, too, would have some problems against John McCain who’ll argue that he’s too green. But the basic spirit here seems correct to me. You want to argue that discontentment with the fruits of Bush’s policies should cause you to vote against John McCain, and the best argument you can make to that effect is that Bush and McCain have very similar records. But to make that argument, you need to be able to step a couple of paces back from your opponent and really wind up and throw a solid punch.