08/20/08 — Tough enough? That is a legitimate question in presidential race

View Archive

Tough enough? That is a legitimate question in presidential race

OK, maybe the Paris Hilton reference was a little much, but the fact that Sen. John McCain is continuing to raise questions about his opponent, Sen. Barack Obama's fitness to command is not so far off the mark.

And neither are Obama's questions about whether McCain will make the right choices in the future based on those he has made in the past.

All questions are fair game in a contest that could have such important implications. If you want to be president, you have to be able to take the heat -- and the jabs.

And that has never been more true than now -- when an Olympics has been marked by an invasion and foreign policy wrangling that has been scary at best.

There is simply too much at stake to leave any question unanswered.

How each of the candidates responds to the criticism levied by the other is a critical measure of how he would manage pressure on the world stage.

It will also allow voters to see what would happen if McCain or Obama had to stand toe-to-toe with dictators who are already assuming this nation is down for the count.

And Obama is learning that this campaign -- and the job of president -- is not going to be always about cheering crowds and catchy slogans.

And that is where McCain already has one up on him -- like it or not. His life experiences have taught him that.

So, while it is understandable that Obama might bristle at some of the questions he is hearing, he needs to stand up taller, address the comments and be prepared with solid responses of his own.

The answer to the question of if he is ready really is how he chooses to handle the challenges he is now facing.

Voters should want to see more of these debates and discussions. That, not speeches, are what will help us make the right decision.

And help us determine who can stand the heat and who needs to get out of the kitchen.

Published in Editorials on August 20, 2008 11:10 AM