Republican presidential candidate John McCain on Thursday intensified his assault on Barack Obama, portraying his possible Democratic general election opponent as a national security neophyte.
McCain questioned Obama's plan to leave a "strike force" of US troops in the Middle East after an eventual withdrawal from Iraq, and accused him of being "disingenuous" about his own Iraq stance.
Obama, who has pledged to end the war in Iraq in 2009, if he is elected, said this week that he would leave enough troops in the country to defend the US embassy, along with a strike force in the region to strike at Al-Qaeda.
"I think somebody ought to ask what in the world he's talking about, especially since he has no experience or background at all in national security affairs," McCain said in an MSNBC interview.
McCain also hit out at Obama for claiming he wants to wage a 100 year war in Iraq, saying that he was deliberately taking his remarks about a South Korea or Japan-style multi-generational peacekeeping presence out of context. "Senator Obama is being disingenuous because he knows better."
Arizona Senator McCain, on a week-long biographical tour, is turning increasing fire on Obama, apparently positioning for a general election showdown, should the Illinois senator finally triumph over Hillary Clinton.
Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs meanwhile argued that Obama's national security judgement was superior to that of either McCain or Clinton, whom he said both had faced a moment of foreign policy peril, and made the wrong decision.