Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

That pesky John McCain

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., disagreed with Bush that Kerry had “a fundamental misunderstanding” of the war in Iraq…

Little Scottie must really hate him.

Q Scott, this morning Senator McCain said that he disagreed with the things that President Bush has said about Senator Kerry misunderstanding the war on terror. What do you guys have to say to that?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think what Senator McCain said was that he believes that the President is the best one to lead us forward in the war on terrorism. He spoke about how the President is leading with moral clarity and strength, and that’s what we need as we move forward in the war on terrorism. There’s a clear choice on how we approach the war on terrorism and how we lead going forward. And Senator McCain — that’s what Senator McCain talked about. I saw what he said earlier.

Q He did say what you’re saying he said, but he also said he disagreed with the characterization of Senator Kerry, so I wanted your reaction to that part of what he said.

MR. McCLELLAN: I don’t know if those were his exact words. I think what he focused on — what he focused on was the President’s leadership, and how important his leadership is to prevailing in the war on terrorism. And that’s what this election is about; it’s about who can lead us forward to prevail in the war on terrorism. Senator Kerry has the wrong approach. The reality is we live in dangerous times, and the President has a comprehensive strategy for winning the war on terrorism, and we appreciate Senator McCain’s strong support for the strategy that the President is pursuing.

Q But he did say he disagreed with how the President is characterizing Senator Kerry. So can you guys react to that at all?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think the choice is very clear for the American people. The President is — he’ll talk about it again, today, in his remarks. If you look at what Senator Kerry’s — if you look at Senator Kerry’s record, and look at his views, it is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the war on terrorism. He has a record of weakness when it comes to national security issues. He is someone who has voted to significantly cut intelligence funding, right in the aftermath of the 1993 World Trade Center attacks. He has a view of retreat when it comes to Iraq. It’s important that we succeed in Iraq. Senator McCain talked about that this morning, as well, because Iraq is a central commitment to prevailing in the war on terrorism.