"McCain has called Russia's Vladimir Putin many things, few of them good. He's called Putin 'a totalitarian dictator' and famously said he looked into his eyes and saw three letters 'K, G and B,' " ABC's John Hendren reports. "And when hostilities erupted along the Georgia-Russia border, McCain was characteristically bold and quick to act."
Hendren continues: "Obama also condemned the Russian invasion. But he cast a wider net for advice -- including Hadley, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and his foreign policy advisors. When he spoke, he was characteristically circumspect."
"It has been a rough few weeks for McCain on the foreign policy front -- paging Dr. Maliki -- but he appears to have been ahead of the curve in his assessment that Moscow was the bad actor here," Politico's Jonathan Martin reports. "McCain aides feel encouraged that their candidate appeared to get it right first, and they are now working to remind reporters that he's long been wary of Putin's Russia."
"John McCain's presidential campaign and his supporters are pressing the argument that the escalating conflict in Georgia verifies the Republican's foreign policy judgment and gives him a boost against his Democratic opponent Barack Obama," The Hill's Walter Alarkon reports.
"We need someone like Senator McCain who will take a stronger view, a more experienced view when it comes to international security and protecting America's interest," Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., told Jake Tapper Sunday on ABC's "This Week."
"For Mr. McCain, the crisis signals another opportunity for him to swing the presidential debate to the area where he is most comfortable -- foreign policy -- and away from the economy," Russell Berman writes in the New York Sun. "The Republican's campaign also attacked Mr. Obama's camp for making an issue of lobbying work conducted for the Georgian government by a top McCain foreign policy adviser, Randy Scheunemann."
But this is what happens when former lobbyists run your campaign: "John McCain's top foreign-policy adviser, Randy Scheunemann, is a leading expert on U.S.-allied Georgia -- and was a paid lobbyist for the former Soviet republic until March, in the run-up to what has become a major battle between Georgia and Russia," The Wall Street Journal's Mary Jacoby writes.
It's left to the DNC and other Obama surrogates to do their own framing this week, and here's some help: "John McCain has often boasted that he led the way in the investigation that helped put Jack Abramoff in prison -- but apparently Abramoff's business associates are just fine for fundraisers," Eric Kleefeld writes at Talking Points Memo. "McCain is set to hold a fundraiser next week with none other than Ralph Reed, the Christian right leader and former [Abramoff] business partner whose 2006 bid for lieutenant governor of Georgia was derailed by the publication of numerous e-mails describing how Reed could launder money from Indian tribes to make it appear as if he wasn't actually working for pro-gambling interests."
More framing, on energy: "In recent months, with the price of gasoline on the minds of Americans, [McCain] has come a long way in persuading energy interests to open their wallets," Bennett Roth writes in the Houston Chronicle. "He has embraced one of their top priorities, increased domestic production, just as Democrats have stepped up their rhetorical assault on Big Oil -- and the result has been a spike in contributions to the McCain campaign."