John McCain’s latest jab at Barack Obama—“It seems to me that Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign”–stuns Joe Klein, who writes in Time that the Republican’s Iraq claim is the most “scurrilous statement by a major party candidate” he’s heard in nine elections. “It smacks of desperation,” Klein says. “How sad.”
Klein sympathizes with McCain that the Democrat drew “an inside straight” when Iraq’s prime minister sided with him on withdrawal—even though the McCain-backed surge made it possible. But that’s no excuse to “pop off” in such a “shockingly unpresidential” fashion. “Questions about whether McCain has the right temperament for the presidency,” Klein says, are officially renewed.