Washington (AP) - John Kerry says Republican John McCain doesn't have the judgment to be president.
If that's the case, then it's probably a good thing McCain rejected overtures from Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee in 2004, to form a bipartisan ticket and run with Kerry as his candidate for vice president.
Kerry had no kind words for his Senate colleague Sunday, accusing McCain of poor decision-making on everything from backing tax cuts for the wealthy to making support for continuing the U.S. military presence in Iraq the centerpiece of his presidential campaign.
"John McCain ... has proven that he has been wrong about every judgment he's made about the war. Wrong about the Iraqis paying for the reconstruction, wrong about whether or not the oil would pay for it, wrong about Sunni and Shia violence through the years, wrong about the willingness of the Iraqis to stand up for themselves," Kerry, who supports Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, said on CBS' "Face the Nation."
"If you like the Bush tax cut and what it's done to our economy, making wealthier people wealthier and the average middle class struggle harder, then John McCain is going to give you a third term of George Bush and Karl Rove," the Massachusetts senator added, echoing an Obama campaign talking point.
Kerry later said the McCain of 2008 isn't the McCain he courted in 2004.
"John McCain has changed in profound and fundamental ways that I find personally really surprising, and frankly upsetting. It is not the John McCain as the senator who defined himself, quote, as a maverick, though questionable," Kerry said. "This is want-to-be president John McCain. The result is that John McCain has flip-flopped on more issues than I was even ever accused possibly of thinking about."
McCain adviser Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said McCain was the one who stood up to the administration and urged President Bush to send more U.S. troops to Iraq to help control violence. Obama did not support the addition of troops.
Violence in Iraq has dropped to its lowest level in more than four years as a result of the 2007 buildup of forces.
"We're winning because John McCain understood Iraq better than anybody else," Graham said. "The surge has worked. The political, economic and military progress in Iraq is undeniable."
Not too long ago, Kerry might have described McCain, a fellow Vietnam veteran and former prisoner of war, as a bipartisan ally who could provide guidance on national security issues.
McCain came to Kerry's aid in March 2004 after Bush and his campaign tried to paint the Democrat as weak on defense. He rejected the suggestion in broadcast interviews and chided both parties for waging such a "bitter and partisan" campaign.
The two senators also discussed the vice presidency several times before McCain finally rejected Kerry's overtures to form a bipartisan ticket. Kerry ultimately selected then-Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) to join the ticket.
For the record, Kerry is not among those being mentioned as possible running mates for McCain.
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