McCain and Romney Argue Over ‘Experience’

By Lee Speigel

Jan 1, 2008 4:20pm

ABC News’ Bret Hovell reports: The campaign of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., released a graphic new video advertisement, Tuesday, showing scenes of chaos and violence overseas, in an attempt to draw a contrast between McCain’s credentials on national security, and the background of his rival for the Republican nomination, Mitt Romney.

The ad, titled ‘Experience,’ is slated to appear only on the Internet.

Video in the ad includes an explosion and its aftermath, the injured being carried through the streets, and the sound of two-toned sirens that characterize many foreign emergency vehicles. There are also clips of an al-Qaeda training video, in which men march through the desert, holding AK-47s over their heads.

The video then dissolves to a black and white photo of Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, and quotes him saying that the president does not need foreign policy experience.

“John McCain for president,” the voice-over concludes after an ominous tone.

“I think the American people have been seeing graphic images for the last several days, as to what happened to Benazir Bhutto, and the riots and the demonstrations in the streets,” McCain said, when asked about the images in the ad. “There’s nothing in that video that is more graphic or astonishing than what the American people have seen. And they have watched, unfortunately, for the last many years in Iraq.”

McCain, who was speaking to reporters in Concord, N.H., said the ad was a direct response to Romney’s comment on national security experience.

“Gov. Romney stated that he didn’t think you needed foreign policy or national security experience,” McCain said. “I beg to differ.”

Romney responded to the McCain ad by aligning his credentials with that of Ronald Reagan, and drawing a contrast to McCain’s leadership experience.

“Ronald Reagan did a marvelous job as the leader of our foreign policy at one of the most critical times in the last half of the last century, and what he brought to the White House was a vision and capacity to lead,” Romney told ABC News in Ankeny, Iowa. “Having been a leader, having run something, it made a real difference.”

“Governor Romney managed a large investment company,” McCain said in response. “I led the largest squadron in the United States Navy.

“Americans want leaders, they don’t want managers,” he said. “I can hire lots of good managers.”

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