May 29, 2008

HE CAN HAVE ALL THE CAVEATS HE WANTS...:

Obama Seeks to Clarify His Disputed Comments on Diplomacy (JIM RUTENBERG and JEFF ZELENY, 5/29/08, NY Times)

The caveats belie the simple answer Mr. Obama gave during a debate last summer, when the issue was first raised in a major public forum. Without hesitation or qualification, Mr. Obama said he would hold direct talks with America’s enemies, drawing strong and immediate criticism from his rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

“Would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?” asked Stephen Sixta, a video producer who submitted the question for the CNN/YouTube Democratic debate.

Mr. Obama, the first candidate to respond, answered, “I would.”

Several aides immediately thought it was a mistake and sought to dial back his answer. But on a conference call the morning after the debate, Mr. Obama told his advisers that he had meant what he said and thought the answer crystallized how he differed from his rivals.

“I think that it is an example of how stunted our foreign policy debates have become over the last eight years that this is an issue that political opponents try to seize on,” Mr. Obama said in an interview on Wednesday. “It is actually a pretty conventional view of how diplomacy should work traditionally that has fallen into disrepute in Republican circles and in Washington.”

Even after Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton called his position naïve, Mr. Obama refused to shy away from it, at times speaking explicitly in terms of a potential meeting with Mr. Ahmadinejad.

But in the last few weeks Mr. McCain and the Republican National Committee have attacked Mr. Obama on his position more fiercely and consistently than his Democratic rivals ever did, with an especially acute focus on Mr. Ahmadinejad, who recently called Israel “a stinking corpse.”


...but we're the emptors....

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 29, 2008 2:04 PM
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