McCain-Obama Flak-Flack Flap
A silly exchange between the candidates currently in second place for their respective party nominations, Barack Obama and John McCain, is getting plenty of attention in the blogosphere.
McCain said that Obama’s vote against the supplemental war funding bill amounts to “a white flag to al Qaeda.” The Obama camp responded:
“This country is united in our support for our troops, but we also owe them a plan to relieve them of the burden of policing someone else’s civil war. Governor Romney and Senator McCain clearly believe the course we are on in Iraq is working, but I do not. If there ever was a reflection of that it’s the fact that Senator McCain required a flack jacket, ten armored Humvees, two Apache attack helicopters, and 100 soldiers with rifles by his side to stroll through a market in Baghdad just a few weeks ago.”
The McCain camp came back with this: “While Sen. Obama’s two years in the U.S. Senate certainly entitle him to vote against funding our troops, my service and experience combined with conversations with military leaders on the ground in Iraq lead me to believe that we must give this new strategy a chance to succeed because the consequences of failure would be catastrophic to our nation’s security.
“By the way, Senator Obama, it’s a ‘flak’ jacket, not a ‘flack’ jacket.”
For good measure, a McCain aide added, “Obama wouldn’t know the difference between an RPG and a bong.”
Mark Kleiman gets this one right. Not only is it silly to try to score cheap political points over a misspelling on a press release likely written by a junior staffer, but it’s even a defensible spelling.
Further, Obama’s response to being accused of surrender to al Qaeda was both reasonable and restrained. McCain chose to compound his initial cheap shot with a variant on the silly “only veterans have a right to speak about the war” meme. And, certainly, the bong reference is simply unseemly coming from a Senate office.
Score this one for Obama.