WASHINGTON--The Republican National Committee took aim for the first time at Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama, issuing a research memo aimed at highlighting the Illinois freshman senator's lack of experience and engagement on foreign affairs hours before he delivered his first policy speech on Israel.
That the gloves-are-off memo was even generated at this time is a compliment to Obama's growing strength in the Democratic primary field. The RNC would not bother going after someone who is not a potential nominee.
The memo, produced by the RNC research department, is a round-up of recent news stories and columns mainly about Obama, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and his record since becoming a senator, especially on Iraq.
Obama's opposition to the Iraq war was a major factor in his standing out in the crowded 2004 Illinois Senate primary. But the cautious Obama, who in his first year did not want to be portrayed as either or hawk or a dove, did not take on opposition to the Iraq war as a major agenda item. Obama only started making much much more of the Iraq war once its mismanagement was clear even to Republicans.
Meanwhile, the RNC hit piece was surgically timed. It came just hours before Obama's first policy speech on Israel, which he will deliver today in Chicago, speaking to a group assembled by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
This influential group--which holds its annual conference starting March 11 in Washington--is very interested in knowing more about Obama's positions on Iraq, Iran, and a Hamas influenced Palestianian Authority in order to assess his future track record. This speech is very important to Obama, who is also looking for campaign cash from Jewish donors.
This is the memo from the Republican National Committee.....
Obama Decides Now Is As Good A Time As Any
To Start Talking "In Depth" About Foreign Policy
Today, Obama Holds "In Depth" Discussion On Mideast Policy "For The
First Time Since Becoming A Senator":
"For The First Time Since Becoming A Senator -- Much Less A White House
Hopeful -- Barack Obama On Friday Will Talk In Depth About U.S. Policy
Toward Israel And The Mideast." (Lynn Sweet, "Obama To Offer Pro-Israel
Views At Chicago Gathering," Chicago Sun-Times, 3/1/07)
Obama's Glaring Inexperience In Foreign Policy:
As Senator, Obama Waited 11 Months Before Giving A Major Speech On Iraq.
"Though Mr. Obama is framing his candidacy to appeal to Democrats who
have long opposed the war, until recently he was not among his party's
most outspoken voices against it. He campaigned strongly against the war
in his bid for the Senate in 2004, but when he arrived in Washington he
waited 11 months to deliver a major speech on Iraq." (Jeff Zeleny, "As
Candidate, Obama Carves Antiwar Stance," The New York Times, 2/26/07)
* "Indeed, Once Obama Got To Washington, He Made Only One Senate
Speech On Iraq." (Richard Cohen, Op-Ed, "The Explanation Hillary Clinton
Owes," The Washington Post, 2/13/07)
"And Only After Mr. Obama Opened A Presidential Exploratory Committee
Did He Introduce Legislation To Withdraw American Combat Brigades From
Iraq By March 31, 2008." (Jeff Zeleny, "As Candidate, Obama Carves
Antiwar Stance," The New York Times, 2/26/07)
* Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joe Biden (D-DE) On
Obama's Iraq Rhetoric: "I Don't Recall Hearing A Word From Barack About
A Plan Or A Tactic." (Jason Horowitz, "Biden Unbound: Lays Into Clinton,
Obama, Edwards," The New York Observer, 2/25/07)
* Seems Like Obama Had His Presidential Timetable Set Before His
Iraq Timetable. "[Obama] decided to run [for President] now - about 10
years ahead of his personal timetable - because he saw a unique moment
when people are listening and wanting change in the direction of the
country, he told the group of 130 people at a downtown high-rise of
luxury homes." (Julie Carr Smyth, "Presidential Contender Raises Money
Across Ohio," The Associated Press, 2/26/07)
Obama's First Foreign Policy Senate Statement: "Shoot. Me. Now."?
"Listening To A Bloviating Colleague At His First Meeting Of The Senate
Foreign Relations Committee, Obama Slipped A Three-Word Note To A Member
Of His Staff: 'Shoot. Me. Now.'" (Ben Wallace-Wells, "Destiny's Child,"
Rolling Stone, 2/7/07)
A Product Of The RNC Research Department
Paid for by the Republican National Committee Not Authorized By Any
Candidate Or Candidate's Committee - www.gop.com