(CNN) – John McCain and the Republican National Committee have issued sharp words for Barack Obama this week after Obama suggested in an interview that the United States can combat terrorism "within the constraints of the Constitution."
One McCain adviser said such comments demonstrate Obama’s foreign policy "weakness" and his "September 10th mindset."
But in consecutive days, the McCain campaign has attacked Obama's so-called "law enforcement approach" by offering up a pair of high-profile Republican surrogates who themselves have appeared to favor legal avenues for prosecuting terrorists.
The McCain campaign pressed their case against Obama on Thursday by convening a conference call with former GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson.
Thompson accused Obama of being "inconsistent on matters of national security and foreign policy" and criticized Obama's support for last week's milestone Supreme Court ruling, which determined that terrorists being held at Guantanamo Bay should be granted habeas corpus rights.
But during Thompson’s presidential run, he also appeared to support legal pathways if Osama bin Laden were captured.
Thompson told CNN’s John King in September: "I think bin Laden is more of a symbolism than he is anything else."
He also told the Associated Press in South Carolina last fall that if bin Laden were captured, "we've got due process to go through."
Thompson's campaign later clarified that the candidate meant to say that due process should be conducted through a special military court - and added that bin Laden should be treated like the the other detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
Yesterday, the McCain camp convened a conference call with former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, who said it was a "real problem" for Obama to say that the criminal prosecution the four men accused of bombing the World Trade Center in 1993 was "correctly handled."
However, the Democratic National Committee was quick to point out that when Giuliani was mayor in 1994, he struck a slightly different chord: the terror convictions, he said, demonstrated "that New Yorkers won't meet violence with violence, but with a far greater weapon - the law."
Giuliani also told CBS Evening News at the time: "I think it shows you put terrorism on one side, you put our legal system on the other, and our legal system comes out ahead."