Oct. 2, 2008 -- During a radio talk show interview, Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin previewed a likely line of attack for tonight's debate, calling a May 2007 vote by Barack Obama against reauthorizing funding for troops in Iraq "reckless" and "irresponsible" and "so political."
She noted that Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden also had criticized the Illinois senator -- now his running mate -- in the fall for voting against the bill.
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Breaking from debate preparation in Sedona, the Alaska governor taped an interview with conservative host Sean Hannity during which she slammed Obama's foreign policy positions as "beyond naive" and "downright dangerous," focusing on his May 24, 2007 vote against reauthorizing funding for troops in Iraq in protest of the bill not including a timetable for troop withdrawal.
"Proposing and voting for cutting off funding for our troops while they're in a war zone is so reckless and so political," Palin told Hannity. "Biden had even called Obama on that one. Remember, he said, Obama, 'your move there was political, and it's gonna cost lives.' And yet Obama, after promising that he would not cut off funding for troops in the war zone, he voted to do so anyway."
"So reckless, irresponsible -- we're gonna lay that out there and again let Americans judge for themselves who they would like to see as commander in chief: John McCain, who knows how to win a war, or Sen. Obama, who has voted to cut off funding for our troops?" Palin said.
Palin was referring to comments Biden made in the fall criticizing his Senate colleagues -- including primary opponents Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton -- who voted in May 2007 against reauthorizing troop funding because the bill did not include a withdrawal timetable. The Delaware senator voted for the bill, which passed the Senate, 80-14.
The McCain-Palin campaign is running an ad nationally called "Promise" attacking Obama's vote and featuring Biden's pointed criticisms of his Democratic Senate colleagues and current running mate.
"They said they voted against the money to make a political point," the ad shows Biden saying at an Iowa campaign event in August 2007, followed by a clip from an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" in September 2007 where Biden said of the war funding vote, "This is cutting off support that will save the lives of thousands of American troops."
"I am not going to fail to protect these kids as long as we have a single, solitary troop in Iraq," Biden had also said during the "Meet the Press" interview in the fall.
Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, the senator's son, is set to deploy to Iraq this weekend as a member of the Delaware Army National Guard. Palin's oldest son, Track Palin, deployed to Iraq in September as a member of the U.S. Army.
McCain, whose 19-year-old son Jimmy completed a tour of duty in Iraq with the U.S. Marines in February, has regularly criticized Obama for his May 2007 vote against continuing funding for troops in Iraq.
"Sen. Obama, who after promising not to vote to cut off funds for the troops, did the incredible thing of voting to cut off the funds for the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan," McCain said in last week's first presidential debate.
Obama pushed back, saying that he only opposed the war funding bill because it did not include a withdrawal timetable, citing McCain's March 2007 vote against an emergency spending bill to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan because it included a timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq.
The Arizona senator campaigned actively against the bill, and while he did not vote on final passage, he applauded President Bush's eventual veto of the measure.
"Sen. McCain opposed funding for troops in legislation that had a timetable, because he didn't believe in a timetable," Obama said during Friday's debate. "I opposed funding a mission that had no timetable, and was open-ended, giving a blank check to George Bush. We had a difference on the timetable. We didn't have a difference on whether or not we were going to be funding troops."
Obama has voted in favor of all other bills funding troops in Iraq and Afghanistan during his time in the Senate.
Though Palin may reference Biden's language criticizing his running mate's war funding vote during tonight's debate in St. Louis, the Delaware senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee can argue he has had the most consistent position -- Biden has voted in favor of every Senate bill on Iraq war troop funding, including the two 2007 bills that McCain and Obama had separately opposed.