Joe Biden handed the Republicans a gift yesterday, and they’re taking advantage of it quickly. Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty appeared on Fox this morning to expand on Biden’s assertion yesterday that electing Barack Obama would provoke enemies abroad to “test” the inexperienced President. Pawlenty argued that was as good a reason as any to vote for the more experienced candidate:

FOX News’ Gretchen Carlson: So let’s take a look at what Joe Biden said over the weekend when he was out in Seattle. He basically said that if Obama is elected within six months there will be some sort of an international incident because international leaders, I guess, will see it fit to do something against the U.S. How did you take these comments?

Gov. Pawlenty: Well, it’s not the first time that people like Joe Biden or Hillary Clinton or many others have suggested that Barack Obama isn’t ready to be president, doesn’t have the requisite experience to be president and the last thing the country needs is a president who the world might be tempted to test. We need a candidate who is going to have passed the test. John McCain is respected around the world because of his national security, military, and foreign affairs experience. The country is struggling economically and in many other ways and we don’t need the added pressure of some sort of invitation or temptation by others to see that kind of weakness. This is not coming from me or from somebody on our side, this is coming from his own vice presidential candidate, Joe Biden, who repeatedly has suggested Barack Obama’s not ready.

Carlson: Well he did at least when he was one of his competitors and they were debating against one another. So, do you think it’s still in his mindset that he would say something like this?

Gov. Pawlenty: Well, I think Senator Biden is sometimes, you know, makes a lot of interesting comments but you see the situation, for example, in Georgia or Ukraine. There could be temptations by other countries to say look maybe this is a time where we test this potential new president. That kind of temptation wouldn’t be as high in my opinion if you had a seasoned experienced known commodity steady hand on the throttle like John McCain.

For an example of Biden’s earlier discomfort with Obama as commander-in-chief, we can hearken back to a McCain commercial from the summer — one that may get more play now:

I suspect a fresh ad, with the latest quote, is already in the works.

The question will be whether this is another Joe the Plumber moment, only on foreign affairs. The Colin Powell endorsement was intended to remove these kinds of worries from the minds of undecided voters. Biden has negated the Powell effect and perhaps put them in a worse position than before it. After all, if the running mate thinks his ticket will put America in more danger, that’s a pretty powerful reason to avoid it.