Giuliani Steps Up the "Not Ready" Talk
By Perry Bacon, Jr.
DENVER -- Former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and Michael Steele, the former lieutenant governor of Maryland, repeatedly cast presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama as "not ready" at a press conference today a few miles from where Obama will accept the Democratic nomination on Thursday.
Standing in front of a huge banner that read "A Mile High, An Inch Deep" and "Not Ready '08," Giuliani questioned Obama's credentials, quoting statements by his rivals in the nomination process, including some by both presumptive vice-presidential nominee Sen. Joe Biden (Del.) and Sen. Hillary Clinton. Steele attacked Obama for voting against a troop funding bill last year in Congress, calling the presumptive Democratic nominee "woefully ill-prepared to be the next president." Obama opposed the bill because it lacked a timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq, but Biden supported it.
"Senator Biden agreed that Barack Obama was unprepared to be president," the former mayor said at one of several events Republicans have organized to attack Obama in Denver.
Referring to Obama's pledge last fall to meet with leaders of foreign nations like Iran without preconditions, Giuliani said, "I think Hillary Clinton called it naïve. Senator Biden called it irresponsible."
Obama has over the last few months said he would make sure any meeting he had with foreign leaders would advance U.S. interests. And both Clinton and Biden have enthusiastically affirmed their support for Obama in recent days.
But Giuliani and other Republicans have seized on what they argued was a glaring omission in Clinton's convention speech: she didn't say Obama was "ready" to president, something she seemed to question during the primaries.
"She left out the key question that lingers," Giuliani said. "What we don't know is if she thinks he's qualified to be commander in chief."
Ann Lewis, a longtime adviser to Clinton, dismissed the former mayor's argument in an interview a few hours after Giuliani's press conference, arguing the New York senator was trying to give the most compelling argument she could for her supporters in the speech.
"Of course she believes he is ready to be president and ready to be commander in chief," Lewis said.
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