The first response is to say something along the lines of "of course he's saying this. He's just like George Bush. George Bush would do this and so is McCain." The other is to call the issue, whatever it is, a "distraction." Or in the case of a presser last night "flippant" or "sarcastic."
Even when he's talking about our troops in Iraq. (My story on this HERE.)
This Q and A below is from the transcript of a press avail on his campaign plane last night, emphasis mine (These aren't in exact order, if you want to read it yourself the transcript is HERE.)
So, it's the same old Dem playbook. Evil Republicans. Criticisms are "distractions."
Q: What do you make out of how long it has been since you went to Iraq? Is that relevant?
BO: I don’t think it’s relevant but I think you know their strategy seems to… [break as pilot is speaking], I don’t think that John McCain or the Bush Administration have a very strong argument to make about their foreign policy so they’re going to try to come up with diversions or distractions and not argue the substance. Because when you argue the substance, what you see is a failed strategy, a worsening situation in Afghanistan, enormous expenditures in blood and tragedy and a diminished reputation for America around the world. That’s not a strong track record to run on.
Q: Can you respond to McCain saying you’re more willing to meet with Ahmadinejad than with General Petraeus?
BO: You know, I don’t have a — you know, that’s just a, you know, a typical sarcastic comment that doesn’t have anything to do with the substance, and is patently untrue since I just saw General Petraeus when he was testifying in Washington.
Q: He’s saying outside of those meetings on the Hill, you would not set up your own meetings with General Petraeus, never attempted to meet with him?
BO: And I haven’t - look, it’s just a flippant comment, it’s not designed to actually talk about substance. It’s a political comment that doesn’t get anywhere.
Q: Also want to talk about this could be a loss of civility between these two candidates.
BO: Well, at the point where John McCain is willing to argue the substance of his Iraq policy, and his desire to continue this policy that is inherited from George Bush; he wants to talk about how we’re going to deal with challenges economically from countries like China; if he wants to start talking about the bread and butter issues here in the United States, where he has no clear agenda for how he wants to move forward - then we’re going to have a substantive debate. So far at least, we have not seen a desire on his part to have that kind of substantive debate.
Q: But as we’ve seen him in the last week, the tone is totally suggesting of how the general election is going to be. Perhaps the American public was thinking, from some of the comments that you’ve made, and some of the comments that McCain has made previously, that this wasn’t going to be the tone in this election.
BO: Well I think you’re going to have to ask John McCain what kind of campaign he intends to run. So far, it’s pretty standard Republican fare.
So much for change.