Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., on Sunday guaranteed that if elected president, Sen. Barack Obama., D-Ill., will be tested by an international crisis within his first six months in office, a comment Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., intends to highlight Monday, aides said, in order to highlight concerns some voters have had about Obama's preparedness to be commander-in-chief.
"Mark my words," the Democratic vice presidential nominee said at a Seattle fundraiser Sunday, "it will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We're about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America. Remember I said it standing here if you don't remember anything else I said. Watch, we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy."
"I can give you at least four or five scenarios from where it might originate," Biden said, including the Middle East and Russia as possibilities, "and he's gonna need help. And the kind of help he's gonna need is, he's gonna need you - not financially to help him - we're gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him. Because it's not gonna be apparent initially, it's not gonna be apparent that we're right."
Biden also mentioned the current economic crisis. "Gird your loins," Biden told the crowd. "We're gonna win with your help, God willing, we're gonna win, but this is not gonna be an easy ride. This president, the next president, is gonna be left with the most significant task. It's like cleaning the Augean stables, man. This is more than just, this is more than – think about it, literally, think about it – this is more than just a capital crisis, this is more than just markets. This is a systemic problem we have with this economy."
The garrulous Biden said that he's "forgotten more about foreign policy than most of my colleagues know, so I'm not being falsely humble with you. I think I can be value added, but this guy has it. This guy has it. But he's gonna need your help. Because I promise you, you all are gonna be sitting here a year from now going, 'Oh my God, why are they there in the polls? Why is the polling so down? Why is this thing so tough?' We're gonna have to make some incredibly tough decisions in the first two years. So I'm asking you now, I'm asking you now, be prepared to stick with us. Remember the faith you had at this point because you're going to have to reinforce us."
It's unclear if an attack on Obama for unpreparedness in these closing days will be as effective as it might have been in the past. In the wake of yesterday's endorsement of Obama by Gen. Colin Powell (Ret.) former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said, "what that just did in one soundbite -- and I assume that soundbite will end up in an ad -- is it eliminated the experience argument."
-- Jake Tapper and Matthew Jaffe
UPDATE: Here are the remarks, as prepared and provided by the McCain campaign, which the Republican nominee will say this afternoon in Belton, Missouri:
"The next President won’t have time to get used to the office. We face many challenges here at home, and many enemies abroad in this dangerous world. Just last night, Senator Biden guaranteed that if Senator Obama is elected, we will have an international crisis to test America’s new President. We don’t want a President who invites testing from the world at a time when our economy is in crisis and Americans are already fighting in two wars.
"What is more troubling is that Senator Biden told their campaign donors that when that crisis hits, they would have to stand with them because it wouldn't be apparent Senator Obama would have the right response.
"Forget apparent. Senator Obama won’t have the right response, and we know that because we’ve seen the wrong response from him over and over during this campaign. He opposed the surge strategy that is bringing us victory in Iraq and will bring us victory in Afghanistan. He said he would sit down unconditionally with the world's worst dictators. When Russia invaded Georgia, Sen. Obama said the invaded country should show restraint.
"We cannot spend the next four years as we have spent much of the last eight: hoping for our luck to change at home and abroad. We have to act. We need a new direction, and we have to fight for it."
You can hear Biden's comments HERE.
Biden's spokesman, David Wade, says, “Sen. Biden was making it clear that history has shown Presidents face challenges starting on day one, and with our nation fighting two wars and 21st century threats abroad, we know that we need steady leadership in tumultuous times, not the erratic lurching and stubborn ideology of John McCain.”