Arizona Senator John McCain characterized the President’s behavior in last night’s debate as, at times, arrogant and immature. He also took issue with the President’s remarks about sequestration and the cutback in ship building, calling them ignorant and inappropriate.
“I don’t know why the President feels it necessary to denigrate and insult his opponent,” McCain said on a call with reporters, referring to President Obama’s sarcastic retort in last night’s debate about the changing nature of the American military. The President’s sarcasm, McCain said, is “bad taste and frankly inappropriate for a president of the United States.” ”This is a man who has never known anything about national defense or national security or served in the military,” McCain said. ”To make a smart remark about horses and bayonets…is not only unpresidential, but shows a lack of maturity along with his lack of judgment.”
Asked about the size of the U.S. Navy, McCain said, “Facts are stubborn things, and the fact is that we will have the smallest Navy since 1914 if sequestration takes place.” Sequestration, he said, would have a “draconian effect” on American ship building.
McCain also challenged the President’s assertion that the changing nature of the military has reduced the importance of the Navy. He noted in particular that the President’s policy of pivoting to the Pacific will require more ships. ”To justify a steady reduction in ship building shows a degree of ignorance about the challenge we face in the Asia-Pacific region.” With regards to allowing the number of naval ships to shrink, McCain said the President is “wrong” and that “any military leader would tell you that.”
Both last night and this morning, the Senator expressed surprise at the President’s contention that sequestration “will not happen,” pointing out that the agreement of Congress is required to halt it. In last night’s post-debate commentary, he said of President Obama, “he’s not a dictator yet.”