Josiah Ryan
October 23, 2008

Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden’s warning that a President Barack Obama would be tested by an “international crisis” in his first six months in the White House is not unrealistic, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton told on Wednesday.

However, at a campaign stop in Richmond, Va., that same day, Obama dismissed his running mate’s comments, explaining that Biden sometimes employs “rhetorical flourishes” while speaking.

Bolton told “I agree with Senator Biden’s concern. I think there are a variety of things going on internationally that could result in a crisis for the next president within six months or even before.”

At a fundraiser on Oct. 19, Biden had said: “Mark my words. It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. … The world is looking. Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.”

Biden added that when the crisis occurs, Americans will need to stand firmly behind President Obama because it’s “not going to be apparent initially … that we’re right.”

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

Bolton said he thinks Biden’s choice of the word “generated” was fitting.

“What I thought was interesting about what Sen. Biden said is that he used the phrase ‘generated crisis,’” Bolton told

“In other words, a crisis that would be created by one of our adversaries to, in effect, test Senator Obama. I would not begin to presume what was going through Senator Biden’s thought process when he said that – but I think it a realistic assessment of what might happen,” he said.

Bolton said the risk of an inexperienced president overreacting to prove himself could be even more dangerous than an under-reaction.

“The risk of an untried president is not only that he wouldn’t respond adequately, but I think there is the risk of an excessive reaction,” said Bolton. “The desire to prove, as Sen. Biden said, that Senator Obama has steel in his spine, proving how tough you are, can sometimes lead to an overreaction which would be as, or more dangerous, for the United States than what an under-reaction would be. I am grateful to Senator Biden for bringing it up for us.”

On Tuesday, the McCain campaign started to comment on Biden’s remark.

“I guess we have to say, ‘thanks for the warning, Joe,’” Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin told a crowd in Reno, Nev., on Tuesday.

Biden “told Democrat donors to mark his words – that there were ‘at least four or five scenarios’ that would place our country at risk in an Obama administration,” said Palin. “But I guess the looming crisis that most worries the Obama campaign right now is Joe Biden’s next speaking engagement. Let’s call that crisis scenario number five.”

At his Richmond campaign stop on Wednesday, Obama also said of Biden’s remarks, “I think his core point was that the next administration is going to be tested. Whoever the next president is going to be is going to have to deal with a whole host of problems.”

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