John McCain held another blogger call today. Once again, he began by congratulating Hillary Clinton, praising her campaign which “inspired women.” He also, in more succinct terms, congratulated Barack Obama for his success in rallying his party. He reviewed his invitation for town hall meetings with Obama. (In response to a later question, he praised this format as the most effective way to get voters involved in the process.) He also castigated Obama for refusing to recognize the surge’s success and visit Iraq or be briefed by General Petraeus.
I asked him about Obama’s change of position on classification of the Iranian National Guard as a terrorist organization. McCain started by observing that Obama has now switched his position on “various” issues, including softening on the surge. He recalled that Obama opposed the Kyl-Liebermann Amendment claiming it would justify an attack on Iran and had called it “reckless,” but now, in front of AIPAC ,favored such a designation. I followed up, asking if he really believed that Obama was coming around on the surge. McCaian answered that he didn’t know if he was “coming around” but that he now used terms like a “sensible withdrawal” rather than “a categorical condemnation” as he had in the past. McCain said that there is no “objective observer, I stress objective, who believes that the surge has not succeeded.”
McCain seemed very feisty with regard to Obama and eager to point out reversals from his opponents’ primary race as he now enters the general election. However, when pressed by bloggers with some aggressive questioning (e.g. hasn’t he impugned the motives of conservatives, doesn’t he want town halls to only get away from speeches where he isn’t very strong) he remained calm and placid. It appears that he is clearly focused on who his real opponent is.