Washington, Aug 25 : Republican presidential candidate John McCain's aides have said that they intend to use Democrat rival Barack Obama's running mate against him, to make the presidential contest a two-against-one fight.
They added that with Obama on one side and Joseph Biden and McCain together on the other, not just on Iraq but on the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Biden voted for, and the 2005 Republican Energy Bill, which Biden and McCain voted against.
"Ultimately, we look forward to a debate between Joe Biden and Barack Obama about whether Obama has the judgment and experience to lead," said McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds.
Biden campaign spokesman David Wade dismissed those tactics as "desperate efforts to muddy the rhetoric."
Biden voted for the war resolution only after his efforts to work with a Republican colleague in the Senate, Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, to trim Paresident George W Bush's war aims were torpedoed by Republicans.
Biden did manage to use his Foreign Relations chairmanship to force Bush's intentions into the open that summer, with a series of grueling hearings on the threat Saddam posed and the costs and consequences of war.
Once the US attacked, Biden became one of the most emphatic voices against the administration's prosecution of the war and ultimately against the war itself. And by 2005, Biden forthrightly stated that his vote was a mistake.
"The choice on Iraq in this election is clear and compelling," the Washington Post quoted Wade, as saying.
"Joe Biden believes the war was a mistake. McCain would still do it all over again. Biden knows the Bush-McCain policy has weakened our hand fighting terrorism and finding Osama bin Laden," he added.
"John McCain started beating the drums for war after September 11th and wants to double down on the Bush policy for four more years. If Barack Obama and Joe Biden had set Iraq policy these last six years rather than George Bush and John McCain, we wouldn't be in the hole we're in today," he stressed.
The war issue points up both the advantage and the problem of having a seasoned foreign policy veteran on the ticket.