“Americans ought to be concerned about the judgment of a presidential candidate who says he's ready to talk, in person and without conditions, with tyrants from Havana to Pyongyang, but hasn't traveled to Iraq to meet with General (David) Petraeus, and see for himself the progress he threatens to reverse,” McCain said as his rival wrapped up the Democratic nomination.
In a speech intended to mark the start of the general election, McCain also sought to deflect Obama's frequent claim that the Republican is “running for President Bush's third term” because of his support for the Iraq war and extending the president's tax cuts.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Charlotte Observer
“The American people didn't get to know me yesterday, as they are just getting to know Senator Obama,” McCain said. “They know I have a long record of bipartisan problem solving. They've seen me put our country before any president, before any party, before any special interest, before my own interest. They might think me an imperfect servant of our country, which I surely am. But I am her servant first, last and always.”
The four-term Arizona senator also criticized Obama for voting for Bush's energy bill, which he said gave more breaks to the oil industry.
“I opposed it because I know we won't achieve energy independence by repeating the mistakes of the last half century. That's not change we can believe in,” McCain said, mocking Obama's campaign refrain that he offers a fresh direction for a country weary of the status quo.
McCain wrapped up the GOP nomination in March and has spent the past few months laying the groundwork for the general election.