ABC News’ Sunlen Miller reports: Sen. Barack Obama brushed off Sen. John McCain’s recent criticisms of him as more of the same "diversions" that are "standard fare" for the Republicans, but his campaign spokeswoman said he is considering a trip abroad.
McCain has been criticizing Obama for not having been to Iraq since 2006, his only trip to the war zone. The Arizona Republican says Obama can’t really know the situation in Iraq if he has not seen it first-hand.
On the plane ride from Colorado to Chicago, Obama told reporters that McCain and the Republicans don’t have much ground to stand as they try to make an issue out of the frequency of his visits to Iraq.
"The Republicans don’t have a strong position to argue when it comes to substance," he said. "Their foreign policy has been a failure over the last eight years. The war in Iraq was a huge strategic blunder, our standing in the world is diminished, we’ve spent hundreds of billions of dollars and lost thousands of lives, Afghanistan is in worse shape than anytime since 2001 and we have [al Qaeda leader Osama] bin Laden sending out audio tapes, so not surprisingly they’re not going to want to argue the substance of what’s happened in their foreign policy, they’re going to come up with diversions."
McCain extended Obama an invitation to go to Iraq with him. According to Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki a trip to Iraq is not out of the question, but a trip with McCain is.
"A trip abroad is under consideration but there are no plans at this point," Psaki said. "But Iraq is a place to consider."
McCain said today in Reno, "Sen. Obama has been to Iraq once a little over two years ago, he went and he has never seized the opportunity except in a hearing to meet with General Petraeus [the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq]."
Today Obama responded to a question about McCain’s remarks with a laugh.
"That’s just a typical sarcastic comment that doesn’t haven’t anything to do with the substance and is patently untrue, since I just saw General Petraeus when he was testifying in Washington," he said.
Obama was challenged further, asking why he had not had meeting with Petraeus that was outside of a hearing.
"This is just a flip comment, it’s not designed to actually talk about substance," Obama responded curtly not answering why he had not held meeting with Petraeus. "It’s a political comment that doesn’t get anywhere."
Obama in his campaign trip to general election states this week has been solely focused on McCain, and he says he’s not surprised the Republicans and McCain have been focused so aggressively on him.
"So far this is pretty standard Republican fare," he said of the back-and-forth with McCain recently. "He’s adapted George Bush policies and he’s going to adopt George Bush’s tactics. I don’t know why anybody would be surprised by that."
Obama will take a break from campaigning Thursday, spending the day with his family in Chicago. Then he’ll return to the campaign trail, hitting the last two primary states of Montana and South Dakota heading into the weekend.