Georgia Conflict Offers a Test for US Candidates

Obama urges calm; McCain takes harder line on Russia
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 9, 2008 1:59 PM CDT
Russian vehicles heading towards the Georgian border and South Ossetia today.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The conflict between Russia and Georgia provided one of the first real tests of how the presidential candidates would respond to that infamous 3 a.m. phone call about a world crisis, Politico notes. The upshot: Barack Obama echoed the international consensus, George Bush included, by calling for calm and negotiation. John McCain issued a more aggressive response, demanding that Russia withdraw and "reverse its perilous course."

A McCain spokesman criticized Obama's call for restraint on both sides because Russia is clearly the agressor. “That's kind of like saying after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, that Kuwait and Iraq need to show restraint." Obama's camp said McCain isn't taking into account all of the region's complexities, and “the fact that we have to deal with Russia to deal with our most important national security challenges.”