WASHINGTON – Republican John McCain is accusing Democratic rival Hillary Rodham Clinton of indecisiveness on foreign policy, arguing that the nation can't afford a post-Sept. 11 commander in chief who employs a triangulation policy.
In prepared remarks, the GOP presidential candidate assails the Democratic front-runner and indirectly singles out former President Clinton. During his tenure, some advisers urged him to make policy decisions by splitting the differences on opposing views, which became known as triangulation.
The Associated Press obtained excerpts of McCain's remarks.
"The Democratic front-runner wants to have it both ways when it comes to foreign policy. On the one hand, the New York senator voted for the Iraq War. On the other hand, she now opposes it — sort of. On the one hand, she wants a firm deadline for retreat. But, on the other hand, she says we cannot abandon the nation to Iran's designs," McCain says in remarks he plans to deliver Wednesday at a South Carolina military academy.
"Senator Clinton, this is not the '90s," McCain says. "This is the post-September 11 world. The commander in chief does not enjoy the luxury to conduct our national security by means of triangulation."
The Clinton campaign had no immediate comment.
The Arizona senator also praised former President Reagan and argued that liberal Democrats would not have been able to stand up to the Soviet Union. McCain contends that the Democratic candidates exhibit a lack of resolve in their opposition to spending billions on the Iraq war, although he does say that he has "been made sick at heart by the many mistakes made by civilian and military commanders and the terrible price we have paid for them."
He likens the threat of terrorism to that of Communism, and advocates that commanders in Iraq get more time to bring stability to the Middle East.
"To concede defeat — as many leading Democrats now advocate — would strengthen al-Qaida, empower Iran and other hostile powers in the Middle East, unleash a full scale civil war in Iraq that could quite possibly provoke genocide there, and destabilize the entire region as neighboring powers come to the aid of their favored factions," McCain says.
The White House hopeful planned a three-day campaign trip through the early voting state of South Carolina.