Memorial Day showdown between presidential camps

The Iraq funding bill has triggered an all-out battle of words between presidential candidates from both parties after Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) compared the “no” votes of Democratic frontrunners Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.) with surrendering to al Qaeda.

Clinton and Obama were among the 14 senators who opposed the funding bill, which Congress sent to President Bush late Thursday.

“This vote may win favor with MoveOn and liberal primary voters, but it’s the equivalent of waving a white flag to al Qaeda,” McCain said, regarding the vote of his Democratic opponents.

Obama returned fire, saying that it is clear a new direction in Iraq is needed.

“And if there ever was a reflection of that it's the fact that Senator McCain required a flack jacket, 10 armored Humvees, two Apache attack helicopters, and 100 soldiers with rifles by his side to stroll through a market in Baghdad just a few weeks ago,” Obama said in a statement.

McCain responded immediately, mocking Obama’s lack of experience.

“While Senator Obama’s two years in the U.S. Senate certainly entitle him to vote against funding our troops, my service and experience combined with conversations with military leaders on the ground in Iraq lead me to believe that we must give this new strategy a chance to succeed because the consequences of failure would be catastrophic to our nation's security,” McCain said.

The former Navy pilot and prisoner of war then took a shot at Obama for making a mistake in his statement.

“By the way, Senator Obama, it’s a ‘flak’ jacket, not a ‘flack’ jacket,” McCain said.