[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/24/art.bidenforeign0924.ap.jpg caption="Sen. Biden spoken in Ohio Wednesday and took Sen. McCain to task over foreign policy."]
CINCINNATI, Ohio (CNN) – Joe Biden called Republican nominee John McCain “dangerously wrong” on foreign policy Wednesday.
The comment came as part of a wide-ranging foreign policy and national security speech Wednesday morning focused on the judgment of the two presidential candidates, billed by the Obama-Biden campaign as the second of two “framing” speeches.
"To me it is absolutely, unequivocally clear that Barack Obama is more prepared to be commander in chief of the United States of America than John McCain,” said Biden.
Biden weaved together sections on Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia and Georgia, dissecting the issues, praising Barack Obama’s judgment and foresight, and slamming McCain for “saber-rattling” and “bluster.”
“I'm just as convinced that the policies John would pursue as president would be wrong for America,” said Biden. “I'm just as convinced that nowhere, nowhere more so than our security and our standing in the world, would John McCain dig us into a deeper hole.”
Biden argued, as he and Obama do regularly, that the central front in the war on terrorism is on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, not in Iraq. He said that a timeline for withdrawal from Iraq must be implemented – noting that President George Bush and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki are currently negotiating such a plan – so that troops can be withdrawn and military and financial resources can be focused on Afghanistan.
“On this, John McCain is more than wrong,” said Biden. “He is dangerously wrong.”
The Delaware senator called for a “diplomatic surge,” promising a strengthening of relations with allies and talks with Iran while criticizing McCain for not encouraging either. Biden remarked that five former Secretaries of State encouraged a conversation with Iran and that Bush sent an envoy to meet with Iranian officials.
“John McCain's saber rattling is the most self-defeating policy I can imagine,” said Biden. “It forces the Iranian people who hate their government to unite behind their government. It takes away the voices of the moderate forces in Iran.”
“It's amazing how little faith John McCain has in himself and his foreign policy team that they're afraid to sit down,” he later added. “We can still say no, we can still say no.”
Biden warned that dealing with Russia would require close work with European allies and NATO as well as talking to Moscow directly. He condemned McCain’s call to kick Russia out of the G-8, saying it would have been ineffective and harmful to the U.S’s relationship with Europe, and derided the Arizona senator for saying last week he would not commit to meet with Spain’s president.
“A NATO ally who has Spanish forces in Afghanistan fighting side by side with the United States, John McCain said he will not meet with that leader. What kind of judgment is that? What kind of bluster is that?” asked Biden. “ Ladies and gentlemen, John McCain's notion in how to deal with our allies as well as our adversaries is rooted in something that I just simply do not understand.”
The McCain camp’s response to Biden’s speech centered on Iraq, noting Biden’s 2002 vote for military action.
“[Senator Biden] has abandoned his criticisms of Senator Obama, and his own firmly held beliefs in order to reflect Barack Obama's record of trying to legislate failure in Iraq and ambition-first style of leadership,” McCain spokesman Ben Porritt wrote in an e-mail to reporters.