WHO DOES MCCAIN PLAN TO ‘TEST’?…. Last weekend, Joe Biden predicted that U.S. enemies may try to “test” Barack Obama with an international crisis early on if he’s elected president, but Obama’s “spine of steel” will serve him well when faced with these challenges. The McCain campaign, ever since, has tried to characterize Biden’s remarks as some kind of important development.

Yesterday, McCain, again citing Biden’s comments, added some new rhetoric to the mix.

“I’m gonna test them,” Republican John McCain said at a campaign rally in New Mexico this morning. “They’re not gonna test me.”

So much for walking softly.

Maybe McCain could take a moment to elaborate on what this means, exactly. He’s going to “test” rivals? Which ones? How will he “test” them?

If Biden’s remarks suggest U.S. enemies may try to create an international crisis, it sounds as if McCain’s message is, “I’ll show them; I’ll start an international crisis first!”

Given McCain’s record of saber-rattling towards Iran, aggression towards North Korea, and antagonism towards Russia, McCain’s vow to “test” U.S. rivals isn’t exactly reassuring. What is it, exactly, he’s promising to do?

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Steve Benen

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.