Former President Bill Clinton got the Obama campaign in a tizzy Friday after telling an audience in North Carolina that John McCain and Hillary share a love of America.
By not mentioning Obama, pundits began reading between the lines: Clinton believes Obama's patriotism is lacking.
Speaking at a VFW, Clinton began praising McCain as a war hero who had demonstrated his love of his country. Clinton's comments were similar to remarks he made Wednesday in Pennsylvania. In that speech he called McCain a "very fine man."
"He paid as high a price as you can pay to serve this country without getting killed, and we have to honor that," Clinton said. "[And] he has some redeeming qualities for a Republican: he doesn't believe in torture, he supported campaign finance reform, and he doesn't think global warming is a myth... So it is not gonna be all that easy to beat him."
Clinton reiterated those views in North Carolina and noted that Hillary had persuaded McCain to join her side on the global warming debate.
Then Clinton made a comment that has infuriated Obama's camp:
"I think it would be a great thing if we had an election year where you had two people who loved this country and were devoted to the interest of this country," said the former president.
"And people could actually ask themselves who is right on these issues, instead of all this other stuff that always seems to intrude itself on our politics."
Bill Clinton spokesperson Matt McKenna told MSNBC Friday that the former president "was talking about the need to talk about issues, rather than falsely questioning any candidate's patriotism."
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