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McCain Aide's Georgian Ties Become an Issue

By Zachary A. Goldfarb
The presidential campaign veered Sunday into a discussion about the escalating conflict between Georgia and Russia, with a supporter of Sen. Barack Obama suggesting that Sen. John McCain's criticism of Russia stems from his campaign's connections to Georgian political leadership.

"His campaign is run by lobbyists that represent Georgia and other countries," New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) said on ABC's "This Week," a clear reference to Randy Scheunemann, McCain's foreign policy adviser, who has been a registered lobbyist in Washington for the Tbilisi government.

That drew a sharp response from Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), reported to be under consideration as a McCain running mate. He said it was wrong for the Obama campaign to focus on any ties between members of the McCain campaign and the Georgian government.

Georgia is "an example of Senator McCain's push to spread democracy in that part of the world as a very important advance of America's interest," Jindal said on ABC. "I wish Senator Obama had actually confronted the issue, not trying to detract our attention by focusing on a McCain adviser."

The two countries clashed after Georgia tried to reassert control over a separatist province on Friday. Russia launched airstrikes and mobilized tanks, and quickly ramped up its attack. A senior U.S. official called the Russian response disproportionate to the Georgian action.

McCain immediately called on Russia to stop its incursion into Georgia, while Obama took a more cautious approach advocating restraint on both sides.

Jindal said the conflict underscores why a president with deep experience in international affairs is important.

"I think this is another example, during these uncertain times, where we need experienced leadership. We need someone like Senator McCain who will take a stronger view, a more experienced view when it comes to international security and protecting America's interest," Jindal said.

Richardson, who ran for president himself this year and was a top diplomat in Bill Clinton's administration, said McCain's approach was typical of the Bush administration.

"What Senator McCain wants to do is continue the Bush policies of trying to isolate Russia. ... It's not working," Richardson said.


A Different Kind of Air Assault

Despite media attention on a series of McCain ads that criticize Obama, top McCain adviser Rick Davis said the Republican has spent less as has Obama on attack ads.

"I would say Obama is spending exactly the same amount of time attacking us and, frankly, probably more money," he said.

"Obama started negative campaigning on John McCain long before we started punching back," Davis added on "Fox News Sunday," underscoring a point made Friday by McCain himself to The Post's Michael D. Shear.

"Barack Obama has been in the United States Senate less than 300 working days. He has voted for 90 tax increases," Davis said. "Now, we could have an ad on every tax increase he's voted on every single day between now and the election and still not get them all in."

Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) said McCain's support for tax cuts for corporations would benefit energy and oil companies enjoying rich rewards from the economic pains felt by ordinary Americans.

"The profit-taking by the oil companies is not being used to look for new sources of oil and gas. Overwhelmingly, they're buying back their stock. They're paying out dividends. They're paying the CEO salaries," Durbin said. "When John McCain says, 'Well, they need $4 billion more in tax breaks,' he just doesn't understand the reality of what this economy is facing."

Durbin added that while Obama supports rolling back Bush tax cuts, he supports reductions on taxes for the middle class.

"Those are the folks who have been disadvantaged by a war that's costing us $10 billion to $12 billion a month, a war that's taking money out of our economy that could be spent here in America," Durbin said.

Paulson: No Federal Bailout of Freddie, Fannie

The government does not plan to use its authority to inject capital into the struggling mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mae, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Last month, as concerns spread that Fannie and Freddie would be unable to meet their obligations for the trillions of dollars of mortgage loans they own or guarantee, Congress passed legislation authorizing the Treasury to ensure the companies can continue to play their important role in the market for U.S. mortgages.

"We have no plans to insert money into either of those two institutions," Paulson said.

Paulson added that he would work to the end of the Bush administration but not beyond Jan. 20.

"I'm going to run right up until the end," Paulson said. "I will do everything I can to make for a smooth transition, to work closely with my successor here in Treasury."

He added, "I believe it's going to take us well beyond the end of the year to work through all the housing problems."

By Post Editor  |  August 10, 2008; 1:40 PM ET
Categories:  Sunday Talkies  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: For McCain, There's Never a Down Moment
Next: Clinton, Michelle Obama Get 'Headline' Spots at Convention

Comments

On this issue, McCain looks more informed and prepared than Obama. The conflict brings the us the context for measuring Obama's shallow resume.

Posted by: srikanth | August 12, 2008 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Obama has nothing substantial to say about this issue. Is he done vacationing in Hawaii? The context is muddling but certainly this looks like a long planned operation from Russian side.

For those who are pleading for democracy for South Ossteria, doesn't North Ossteria and Chechneya deserve freedom and democracy too?

Russian leadership is consumed in Grozny-Sieze mentality. Russia is a age-old meme, trying to snatch attention away from China, during this time and punishing a relatively insignificant state. May be they are good guys, I dont know the context, but the will at using force and oil reserves as "muscle" of power is certainly not encouraging.

For that Russian Moron, threating to kick the butt of America, good luck with that. Last time I check the Soviets got their butts kicked and US won the cold-war.

Posted by: srikanth | August 12, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

The world needs a leader that thinks before attacking, and that's OBAMA

Posted by: GECasano | August 12, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

When will someone call McCain for what he was..a POW! That's right..and so was my father a WW2 pilot shot down in the early days in Europe and who states his regrets not to have been there to play a part in the defeat of Hitler at war's end. McCain cannot go on pretending he has "International" diplomatic experience. He has nohing of the kind, he has been freeloading on taxpayers money for forty years and enjoying some foriegn holidays,
that is it and that is all. So stop all this bs about his foriegn experience in diplomacy. He is clueless.

Posted by: Harriet Greenwood | August 12, 2008 12:19 AM | Report abuse

Russia has been planning this for years. The fact that it is happening now means that their goal is to keep Georgia out of the Un and NATO all the while with their eye on the oil. If they get that part of the oil supply, gas prices will go up to 200.00 a barrel if not more. That is why McCAin keeps repeating that we need to be completely off of foreign oil and depending on our own supplies. This way we have the national security we need in case of war.

Posted by: Denise E. May | August 11, 2008 7:30 PM | Report abuse

russia claims it is protecting russian citizens in Osettia.

ISN'T THAT WHAT HILTER SAID BEFORER INVADING CHEKLASLOVAKIA?

IT WAS CHEKLASLOVAKIA THEN!!

Jindal is a tool!

Posted by: Katerina Deligiannis | August 11, 2008 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Listen you filthy American people; that means you Booby Jindal. This is an issue between the Republic of Russia, Georgia and OSSETIA. You want to go to world war III over this issue Booby Jindal? You are a pathetic excuse for an American, Booby. We here in the Republic of Russia were asked by the recognized government of OSSETIA to assist them in securing their boarders that were being invaded. A message for the walking dead Johnny McCain and Booby Jindal - don't mess with us Ruskies. We will kick your asses. Putin - This message brought to buy the Free Federation of Russians for the re-elction of Putin.

Posted by: Priminister Putin | August 11, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Its a shame Mcain sorrounds himself with lobyists! but guess what America is ruled by the lobyists through osmosis! (Lobyist = opportunistic hyenas). Here is another group of Mcains friends!"John McCain has at least 22 people working for his campaign, either as top fundraisers or as senior campaign staff, that have lobbied for Big Oil". If you think I'm wrong check on the Senate Lobbying Disclosure Database!

Posted by: braggingrights | August 11, 2008 4:51 AM | Report abuse

If Russia's intention was to protect the people of South Ossetia, it would not have bombed areas inside Georgia itself and not at the scale it has.

The timing was perfect with China busy hosting the Olympics, the US President and many other world leaders there for the opening ceremonies.

IMHO, anyone who thinks this is anything short of aggression by a new Soviet style leader is just plain dumb. Russia should be removed from the UN Security Council and the G8, now.

Posted by: Master Guru | August 10, 2008 8:23 PM | Report abuse

What I want to know will GB start world war three,before he leave the White House,and how many young ignorant American both male and female are willing to die for this an unjust cause for the bush empire,oh I forgot that these young people are only willing to fight a war because of the money their pay checks that is the reason they are to died,because they have been brain wash to the core,when you have that coward GB who will be hiding in the White House playing with his dog. Your answer please,thank you. Neville1

Posted by: Neville1 | August 10, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Jindal is such a pitiful weirdo.

I hope they pick him as the VP, though I can't see it.

Posted by: James McDouglas | August 10, 2008 7:17 PM | Report abuse

BoBo,

This video gives an even better description of what the Bush/McCain Republicans have turned America into during the last seven years:
-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAV87X5keQ0&feature=related
-

Posted by: Karen Willrett | August 10, 2008 7:07 PM | Report abuse

The DNC did the same thing when Hitler began his march through Europe and now has a large head in the sand as a faction of Islam attempts to restore the Caliphate. Therefore these comments are no surprise.
Kay B. DayThe US Report
Posted by: Kay B. Day | August 10, 2008 5:33 PM
----------


More fear mongering from the neonut chickenhawk Repubs (see above).
Are you dopes EVER going to come up some new tactics to scare people with?


The U.S (Bush, McCain) would have more credibility on matters such as this if it hadn't launched an unprovoked attack on the sovereign nation of Iraq. maybe be taken a bit more seriously in regard to cease fires if we had joined the rest of the world in urging Israel to stop its attacks on Lebanon instead of sending them bigger & better missiles.
what is McCain doing here anyway, presuming to be President?


Bush + McCain + RNC = FASCISM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNxg3ccBnoo&feature=related

Posted by: BoBo1981 | August 10, 2008 6:35 PM | Report abuse

That anyone would agree with Russia on this matter shows a complete lack of understanding of the politics surrounding this situation. And to those of us who view Russia's incursion with dismay, it is no suprise that a candidate like Sen. Obama, with views that are decidedly socialist, would call for "restraint on both sides." The DNC did the same thing when Hitler began his march through Europe and now has a large head in the sand as a faction of Islam attempts to restore the Caliphate. Therefore these comments are no surprise.
Kay B. Day
The US Report

Posted by: Kay B. Day | August 10, 2008 5:33 PM | Report abuse

As shown by the contrast between the reactions to the fighting in Georgia from Obama and McCain, the US cannot afford another president (McCain) who is instinctively and immediately belligerent in every international crisis. Further, McCain is ensnared irretrievably by the lobbyists he's surrounded himself with. Americans can't be sure of knowing what kinds of conflicts of interest lie behind John McCain's pronouncements on both foreign and domestic issues.

Posted by: The Big Orange Satan | August 10, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

It has been pointed out over and over again (by McCain's "friends" in the corporate media) that McCain is strictly a foreign-policy candidate, who is willing to leave domestic policy entirely to his advisers, in the hope that something coherent will emerge, if it gives him a chance to sit in the big chair as Commander in Chief.

However, developments such as this one show that this analysis is too charitable by, exactly, half. McCain has no foreign policy, and never has had one. McCain needs his advisers to direct him here, as well, and to put a patina of purpose on what is, actually, nothing more than McCain's incoherent belligerence.

That this shell of a candidate (McCain) is being directed, and willingly, by persons with interests decidedly other than the security of US and the world is therefore decisive. We know what his "foreign policy" will look like. It will be whatever his advisers (lobbyists) can cobble together to further their interests while tickling McCain's fancy of himself as a would-be war President.

McCain may be the only person in history to campaign as a War President for ill-defined wars still yet to be declared, but that is what it is, and that's what he wants it to be.

Posted by: astral99 | August 10, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

That drew a sharp response from Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), reported to be under consideration as a McCain running mate. He said it was wrong for the Obama campaign to focus on any ties between members of the McCain campaign and the Georgian government.

WRONG? OH, BUT IT'S OKAY TO FOCUS ON PARIS AND WHATSHERNAME... IF THE INFLUENCE IS THERE, THEN IT DESERVES ATTENTION. IF THE POLICY IS DUE TO THAT INFLUENCE AND NOT "EXPERIENCE AND JUDGEMENT" THEN THAT NEEDS TO BE EXPOSED, AS WELL AS THE HYPOCRISY BEHIND IT. WHO THE HELL IS JINDAL TO ISSUE AN EDICT?

Georgia is "an example of Senator McCain's push to spread democracy in that part of the world as a very important advance of America's interest," Jindal said on ABC. "I wish Senator Obama had actually confronted the issue, not trying to detract our attention by focusing on a McCain adviser."

BUT OSSETIA DOESN'T DESERVE DEMOCRACY? THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE THEIR OWN GOVERNMENT? IT WOULD BE NICE IF MCCAIN WOULD FOCUS ON ISSUES, RATHER THAN THE PERSONALITY ASSASSINATION CAMPAIGN. BUT I SUPPOSE THAT IS TOO COMPLICATED FOR JINDAL. I DOUBT WE NEED ANOTHER PRESIDENT WITH A SELECTIVE "PUSH TO SPREAD DEMOCRACY". THE LAST ONE IS ABOUT TO BREAK THE BANK.

Posted by: michael4 | August 10, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

It's amazing

Posted by: Thymmeply | August 10, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

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