While Barack Obama is declaring victory and Hillary Clinton is coming to terms with reality, John McCain is welcoming Obama to the general election. And he’s taking the opportunity to come out swinging.

“He is an impressive man, who makes a great first impression,” McCain said of Obama, speaking before an audience of some 600 people in a venue near New Orleans.

“But he hasn’t been willing to make the tough calls, to challenge his party, to risk criticism from his supporters to bring real change to Washington. I have.”

Nice opening salvo. On the day Obama secures the Democratic nomination, McCain gives a speech accentuating his independence. In addition to highlighting his bipartisan record (and Obama’s lack thereof), McCain made sure to point out his break with President Bush on energy policy, even pointing out that while he voted against the Bush and Cheney backed energy bill, Obama voted for it.

A lot of conservatives disagree, but I have maintained and keep maintaining that McCain’s best path to victory is to present himself as the true post-partisan leader while making Obama look young and beholden to partisan interests. This is a decent start for the Arizona senator.

Politics McCain Welcomes Obama to General Election