Iraq Barbs Get Sharper; Bitter Road Ahead

Candidates have flaws to exploit—if attacks don't get personal first
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2008 3:30 PM CDT
Republican presidential candidate John McCain addressed the annual Veterans of Foreign War convention yesterday.   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Appearances by the presidential contenders at a veterans convention highlight not only substantive differences on the Iraq war, Dan Balz observes in the Washington Post, but a growing undertone of personal enmity. After McCain yesterday questioned Obama’s judgment on the troop surge as politically motivated, Obama’s “indignation was evident as he denounced the 'political attacks’ leveled by McCain” today, Balz notes.

“Economic issues are still likely to be the most important to most voters, but the foreign policy debate is in many ways as or more critical, given the unsettled world the next president will inherit,” Balz concludes. The clash “brought all this back to center stage on the eve of the Democratic and Republican conventions, and reminded voters that these two candidates are heading for a clash of seismic proportions.”