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Obama to Donors: 'I'm Skinny but I'm Tough'

An image of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) at a Newport Beach, Calif., fundraiser, July 13, 2008. (Associated Press)

By Perry Bacon Jr.
SAN DIEGO -- John McCain may have visited Iraq more often than has Barack Obama, but the Illinois senator is pretty confident that he already knows more than his opponent about the situation there.

"I will recall the visit he made last year in which he was surrounded by helicopters and SWAT teams and he came back and reported how safe everything was in Baghdad. And I don't think that that was indicative of what was actually happening on the ground at that time," Obama told reporters Sunday.

He also said, "John McCain has been in Congress 25 years, no doubt about that. If this is a longevity measure, then John McCain wins. On the other hand, before we went into Iraq, I knew the difference between Shia and Sunni," referring to a gaffe this March when McCain conflated the two Muslim sects.

Tucker Bounds, a McCain spokesman, responded, "If Barack Obama believes that visiting Iraq and meeting with commanders will not give him any new perspective, then we can only assume that's he's just going to smile for the cameras."

Obama also showed off his sharp elbows at a fundraiser here, noting to the donors that he had told NBA star Bill Walton, who was in the crowd, that he would be a feisty candidate.

"I was talking to Bill Walton, he knows something about winning, and he said, 'Well, I'm worried we Democrats -- sometimes we get too soft. We're always on the defensive, and these folks are going to play mean and they're going to play nasty.' "

"Listen, I'm skinny but I'm tough," Obama said. "We are going to be responding swiftly and forcefully but always truthfully to any attacks that are launched."

By Post Editor  |  July 13, 2008; 9:38 PM ET
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