BIDEN SLAMS MCCAIN AS ‘DANGEROUSLY WRONG’…. Joe Biden was swimming up-stream a bit this morning, delivering a real stemwinder in Cincinnati on national security. Much of the nation’s attention is on the crisis on Wall Street, and much of the political world’s attention is on yet another McCain campaign controversy, but there is a presidential debate on Friday focusing principally on foreign policy, and Biden was laying the groundwork for some very effective criticism.

On McCain’s judgment:

“This week, John talked about the judgment required to be Commander in Chief. He’s right: nothing is more important than judgment. But time and again, on the most critical national security issues of our time, John McCain’s judgment was wrong. Right after the terrorists attacked us on 9-11, John responded by urging that we consider attacking countries other than Afghanistan, including Iraq, Iran and Syria. In the run up to the war in Iraq, John insisted that we would be greeted as liberators… that we didn’t need a lot of troops… that victory was imminent. Then, he said he wasn’t worried about Afghanistan… that we would ‘muddle through’… and he declared Afghanistan to be ‘a remarkable success.’ In John’s judgment, there is nothing to talk about with Tehran. And he has one idea for dealing with Russia: kick it out of the Group of Eight nations.”

On Iraq and counter-terrorism:

“It is John’s judgment that six years into the war in Iraq, we should keep spending $10 billion a month… indefinitely… at a time Iraq is running an $80 billion surplus. And John McCain continues to insist, against all the evidence and all the facts, that Iraq is the central front in the war on terrorism… and not the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan where the people who actually attacked us on 9-11 reside and are regrouping. John is more than wrong — he is dangerously wrong. On a question so basic, so fundamental, so critical to our nation’s security, we can’t afford a Commander-in Chief so divorced from reality and from America’s most basic national interests.”

On Spain:

“Last week, John McCain said he would not meet with the leader of Spain. Now folks, he would not meet with the leader of a NATO ally. A NATO ally who has Spanish forces in Afghanistan, who has forces fighting side by side with the U.S. Ladies and gentlemen, what kind of judgment is that? What kind of bluster is that? Ladies and gentleman, John McCain’s notion about how to deal with our allies as well as adversaries is something I just don’t understand. How in God’s name will we deal with Russia, without a united NATO. Ladies and gentleman, John McCain has gotten it wrong on so many fundamental issues.”

On Obama:

“Time and again, Barack Obama has demonstrated the judgment we need in our next president… and the vision to see over the horizon. Seven years ago, Barack Obama opposed one of the most disastrous decisions in the history of American foreign policy: the diversion of our military might, our resources and focus from Afghanistan to Iraq. He was profoundly right. Now, he is right again: Barack Obama will end the war in Iraq responsibly. He will be as careful getting out as George Bush and John McCain were careless getting in…. Barack Obama understands what John McCain does not: the next President must be more than the Commander-in-Chief for Iraq. He must be Commander-in-Chief for America’s security around the world.”

I can appreciate the fact that Obama picked Biden for the ticket with governing in mind, but a speech like this morning’s is a reminder that Biden can be a real asset to the ticket on the campaign trail.

More of this, please.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.