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Sweet blog extra: Obama tells Sweet "the debate is not just about life experience." Hits Clinton (not by name) for "conventional thinking." UPDATE Clinton punches back. "What happened to the politics of hope?" Transcript.

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WASHINGTON—I’ve been musing over the argument made by White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) that his unique multicultural background gives him the best grounding of all the 2008 candidates to be president when it comes to foreign policy. But is this actual experience? Depends on what you mean by experience.

On Tuesday, Obama said Washington experience is “illusory" and on Wednesday continued to try to tie Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) to the Bush-Cheney administration.
UPDATE “Well, this is getting kind of silly," Clinton told CNN's John King. " I’ve been called a lot of things in my life but I’ve never been called George Bush or Dick Cheney certainly. We have to ask what’s ever happened to the politics of hope.''

Thursday morning I asked Obama about his multicultural background and his chief rivals and he said, “And what’s been interesting about this debate over diplomacy is, I really think that it is a debate over the same conventional thinking that led people to authorize the war in Iraq without asking questions versus a, an approach to foreign policy that asks questions and is informed by a knowledge and perspective of cultures like those in Iraq and is not trapped by a lot of received wisdom.''

For Clinton, the experience question is answered by her deep detailed knowledge of process, players and politics from years in the White House as First Lady and six plus years in the Senate.

What Obama undeniably has is a variety of life experiences that make him unlike any other presidential contender. Obama’s youth was spent in Hawaii and in Indonesia. He has five living half-brothers and two-half sisters with African, Indonesian and American backgrounds from his parents various marriages and relationships. (There is a question whether one of the half brothers is a blood relation; Obama treats him that way.)

Throw in current and past in-laws with ties to the U.S., Britain, China and Canada and you have, as Obama has said, a United Nations at family gatherings.

This morning, during a conference call with reporters, Obama went back to the issue raised in the Monday debate--they split over whether to meet with rogue leaders without preconditions.

"Part of the Bush doctrine has been to say no. You will have to ask Sen. Clinton which differentiates her position from theirs," he said. (UPDATE...SEE BELOW FOR CLINTON RESPONSE TO OBAMA LINKING HER TO BUSH-CHENEY)

Obama replied to my question about what in his multicultural background is there that prevents Clinton or former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) pursuing the kind of diplomacy he talks about.

Obama said, “The debate is not just about life experience, although obviously that informs my perspective. But it also has to do with perspectives about how the United States should project its interests and ideals around the world.

“And what’s been interesting about this debate over diplomacy is, I really think that it is a debate over the same conventional thinking that led people to authorize the war in Iraq without asking questions versus a, an approach to foreign policy that asks questions and is informed by a knowledge and perspective of cultures like those in Iraq and is not trapped by a lot of received wisdom. And that I think is what is going on here. We had a foreign policy over the last several years that is obsessed with talking tough and then not acting very smartly," he said, aiming, not by name at Clinton.

“And part of what I believe we have to have if we are going to be successful in going after terrorists and mobilizing the international community around critical issues like Darfur and stabilizing Iraq is a willingness to not just talk tough, but be tough enough and smart enough to talk to leaders around the word, to engage our enemies, to speak truthfully, to uphold our values. And that I think is going to be part of the central debate in this campaign.”



UPDATE: 3:47 p.m. eastern

This from Clinton campaign's Phil Singer..

Senator Clinton taped an interview with CNN’s John King this afternoon where she was asked to react to Barack Obama referring to her as “Bush-Cheney Lite.” The following is what Senator Clinton said (the interview will air later this afternoon on CNN):

SEN. CLINTON: “Well, this is getting kind of silly. I’ve been called a lot of things in my life but I’ve never been called George Bush or Dick Cheney certainly. We have to ask what’s ever happened to the politics of hope?

“I have been saying consistently for a number of years now, we have to end the Bush era of ignoring problems, ignoring enemies and adversaries. And I have been absolutely clear that we’ve got to return to robust and effective diplomacy. But I don’t want to see the power and prestige of the United States President put at risk by rushing into meetings with the likes of Chavez, and Castro, and Ahmadinejad.”

###

CNN’s John King interviewed Sen. Hillary Clinton today and asked her about her back-and-forth with Sen. Obama over meeting with other world leaders. A portion of that interview aired on CNN’s “The Situation Room.” And for further details of the interview, see John King’s own posting on CNN’s Political Ticker: http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2007/07/26/clinton-calls-bush-cheney-comparison-silly/Please credit all usage to CNN’s John King

THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: There's no letting up in the war of words

under way between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama that began on our

debate stage Monday night. Today, Obama is accusing Clinton of embracing

a Bush-Cheney lite brand of diplomacy, and now Clinton is firing right

back.

Let's bring in our chief national correspondent, John King.

Tell us a little bit more about what's going on. But you spent time with

Senator Clinton today.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I did. And this is in the

middle of this remarkable back-and-forth between the two top candidates

in the Democratic race for president.

Senator Obama started the latest round this morning. He's campaigning up

in New Hampshire, and he pinned what Democrats would consider a most

unfriendly label on the Democratic front-runner.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't want a

continuation of Bush/Cheney. I don't want Bush-Cheney lite. I want a

fundamental change.

It's time to turn the page on how we do business and say to the world,

we are ready to lead. We are ready to lead by deed and example.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Now, it's safe to assume being compared to the current president

and vice president didn't go down too well with Mrs. Clinton. In an

interview with CNN, she suggested her rival was abandoning his promise

of smear-free campaigning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is

getting kind of silly. You know, I've been called a lot of things in my

life, but I've never been called George Bush or Dick Cheney, certainly.

You know, you have to ask, whatever has happened to the politics of hope?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Amid all this sniping, both senators holding firm on the question

that started the dustup back Monday night, Senator Obama's statement

that he would be quickly to meet as president with the leaders of rogue

nations that President Bush has refused to deal with. Leaders like the

president of Iran and Venezuela and Cuba. Mrs. Clinton says it's

irresponsible to make such a promise up front without first doing some

delicate diplomacy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: If we want fundamental change, then we can't be afraid to talk to

our enemies. We can't be afraid. I'm not afraid of losing the P.R. war

to a dictators. I'm happy to look them in the eye and say what needs to

be said. I'm happy to tell them what I think.

I'm not going to avoid them. I'm not going to be -- hide behind a bunch

of rhetoric.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: I have been saying consistently for a number of years now, we

have to end the Bush era of ignoring problems, ignoring enemies and

adversaries. And I have been absolutely clear that we've got to return

to robust and effective diplomacy. But I don't want to see the power and

prestige of the United States president put at risk by rushing in to

meetings with the likes of Chavez and Castro and Ahmadinejad.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Senator Clinton conceding in that interview, Wolf, that it's

getting a little bit more personal a little earlier than she

anticipated. She says, though, we're in an intense phase of the

Democratic primaries. Her campaign thinking Obama is nervous because he

hasn't been able to move the poll numbers by being the candidate of

hope, as he likes to put it, by not attacking his rivals.

The Obama says, no way. They think Mrs. Clinton represents the past and

that voters will embrace his new approach.

BLITZER: Because from his camp, you get the word, well, he raised a lot

more money and a lot -- a significant -- significantly more money than

she did, and he's narrowing the gap in some of the national polls.

KING: He is. And they understand, the Obama camp, they cannot back down

on this point, because the fundamental question here is not just what he

said in the debate. It is the question of, is he experienced enough to

be president?

If they blink and give into Senator Clinton on this one, they believe in

the Obama campaign it will open the door to even more attacks on that.

They know on this one, the first big fight between the two at the top,

they can't back down.

BLITZER: All right, John. Thanks very much.

John King reporting.

END

41 Comments

For the moment, let's leave aside the issue of whether a President should squander the "Coin of the Realm" meeting with Enemies of the State individually and without pre-condition (I disagree with Obama here, FYI). Still, this issue speaks to a larger concern I have with candidate Obama: his tendency to be inattentive to the details.

In every debate, Obama has proven himself to be unable to grasp the parameters and specifics of a question. As a consequence, his answers are often ill-suited and open to exploitation.

With an eye to the general election, why should the Democrats elect someone whose rookie carelessness makes him vulnerable to ruinous accusations and characterizations?


For example, the day after the YouTube debate, the Miami Herald had a headline that read:

Obama, Edwards say they would meet with Castro, Chavez.

(http://www.miamiherald.com/579/story/179 947.html)

It doesn't take much imagination to envision these same headlines featured ad nauseam within the deluge of GOP campaign ads hitting the Florida airwaves morphing Democratic Presidential nominee Obama with Castro and Ahmadinejad. Tell me again the upside for the Democrats in needlessly angering the Cubans and the Jews?

Why should the Democrats elect a candidate who would so recklessly hand Florida's electoral votes to the GOP, and on a silver-platter, nonetheless?

The GOP will eat Obama alive on this one.

Eat. Obama. Alive.

Obama didn't say that "Washington experience is 'illusory.' " He said: "The notion
that somehow from Washington you get this vast foreign policy experience is illusory."

Obama's point is that being a Senator and/or First Lady for x number of years is not
necessarily a guarantee of the best judgment on foreign policy.

The obvious subtext is the votes of Senators Clinton, Biden and Dodd, and former
Senator Edwards, to authorize the Iraq war.

I hope his foreign policy involved addressing the millenium goals and implementing a real fight against poverty. According to the Borgen Project, every 3.6 seconds anothe person dies of starvation. WIth our resources, we can finance a fraction of our wealth to end this worldwide problem.

"Clinton talks in precise specifics.
Obama in broad strokes."

Lynn Sweet, you did not quote Clinton once in your entire blog, yet you wish us to believe that she talks in precise specifics. This is not journalism, its opinions.

I understand you want to push Clinton on us, and you have been very loyal in doing that, but...You need to provide "precise specifics" about Clinton's "precise specifics" in order for your opinion to have any weight. Otherwise, its just a bunch of empty rhetoric on you and Hillary's part.

Oh also, if I was a Clinton supporter, I would appreciate the loaded question you asked Obama, trying to get him to say that his multicultural background provides the basis of his foreign policy. Nice try, but he's obviously too smart to fall for that one.

Keep this up though, Lynn, your Clinton swooning is comical at best.

I would drink my own urine before voting for Hillary, but Obama isn't as pristine as he claims, especially when it comes to his Chicago mob connections and questionable campaign contributions. I'll throw in something else: While he was born (white mother/black father), and until 1967, there were interracial marriage laws in some of the United States. Mr. Sanctimonious would give gay people the right to domestic partnerships, whoop-de-doo. How would he like it if his parents were domestic partners? Regarding Hillary, I can only think of two people less qualified to be president. 1- Obama, 2- G.W. Bush.

I am so glad Barack is finally saying what I have been yelling at the television every time I hear Hillary try and blur the lines between her and Barack's stance on the war. Barack OUTLINED exactly what is happening right now in 2002, in contrast, Hillary stood and made the same arguments about WMD's etc..Why did I know other information that the evidence was not as solid as they portrayed it as? Many others did as well. So she is full of it. Barack not having so much "Washington" experience may be the best thing because he is not a sold out polished statue with the wizard behind some scary curtain.

Clinton is disgusting, she only reinforces the Bush comparisons by employing cheap rhetoric and taking the voters for idiots who will fall for these transparent and intellectually dishonest 'gotch ya' maneuvers. I'll grant you one thing, though, she does clearly articulate her position on foreign policy. In fact, she clearly articulates a new one with every shift in the polls.

Who cares what Senator Obama says or thinks.

Ask him to check back in about 12 years when he's not so wet behind the years.

The enthusiasm of youth makes it impossible to comprehend the wisdom of age.

'Twas ever thus.

~

We have to ask Mrs Clinton whether her vote to authorize the war "without reading" the whole document and saying "I thought I was voting to exhaust all other alternatives before launching the war"(paraphrased) was being Naieve or running away from the truth now because the war has become unpopular. We have to ask because the MSM is apparently incapable of articulating these questions. How could she not believe the war was iminent when troops were being moved to neighboring Quwait in thousands and massive amount war equipment being moved and reaching a critical mass(to the point of no return)at the time of the debate to authorize the war. This is either extreme nievete or not telling the truth.

We all know which one it is(we are not stupid) but we should let her pick the answer. one of the two:NAIVETE or LIE?
We should not allow answers like " it depends on what the definition of is is".

In fact, somebody who is video savvy should send just this question to the networks for upcoming debates.

Hillery voted for both Patriot acts. There is no excuse!

Clinton as good as he was started the ball rolling against civil liberties and Bush enlarged it so that we now have a potential fascist state.

And further Hillary bullshit, the flag burning amendment. No vote from me.

First of all the commander in chief of US has to be brave enough to face any situatio,nincluding so called Rouge leaders, as part of Intenational diplomacy.Considering many of these leaders are democrotically elected and enjoin more popularity than the present regime of US in their countries explains how contrived the perspectives are. In addtion, The US image at an all time low world wide, should not make feel false vinity as evinced by Hillery clinton and fear a mere PR show.Which should be of least concern in Foriegn policy when US and its President can stand up and uphold its high moreale and leader ship,that in itself will be a shining example in sending a message to the world and so called Rogue leaders is what is effective Foriegn policy than shying away from meeting theae leaders and showing them their place is what one calls un uninformed,old scholl foriegn policy.
Though Obamas statement might on the our set look like the one made as uninformed but it is a bold and radical way of conducting foriegn policy in making the so called rogue leadrs see reason and willing to change is what likely be called a successful foriegn policy, not fighting Unilateral wars where diplomacy, daialogue and successfull trade relations should have been the order of the day, in the first place as far as Bush foriegn policy goes.
The comments by hillery clinton are born out of desire to score in what ever way against her democratic rival,rather than a sensible obsevation of a readical and unconventional view, which might serve far better the US intrests, given the present image US has worldwide.

People said the same thing about Bush - that it was "better" that he didn't have a lot of Washingtonian experience. Obama does paint in broad strokes - that makes me nervous. Frankly, I'm not crazy about Clinton. But Obama-the former protegee of Joe Lieberman- has some very big negatives. In his brief time in washington he got into bed with some big lobbies. I worry that progressives want him for all the wrong reasons-he's handsome, he's charismatic, he has some movie star appeal. Those are not good reasons to elect somebody President.

Obama is losing to Hilary Clinton because of his inexperience and his total reliance on the anti-war camp to continue to beat the Hilary voted for the authorization for war. It's getting very old and I'm getting tired of Obama and his advisors using this everytime Obama inexperience shows.

I'm looking for thoughtful, reasoned, qualified person who learn from their mistake...Obama action after the debate is making me uncomfortable because he reminds me too much like G W Bush when he makes a mistake and continue to dig his grave deeper.

Obama didn't listen to the question or if he did he then I'am definately getting worried. Obama is practically handling Florida, New York and other states, over to the Republicans with his inablilty to see the proccess and the power of the office of the President.

This is his inexperience showing and his inability to understand the proccess of voting. He needs votes and he is turning off large blocks of voters with his actions of digging his hole deeper by attacking Clinton.

The question was very, very specific regarding the first year in office as President. No Head of State is going to go unprepared in any stituation without having prepared the way first...this is basic 101 Foreign Policy.

some body in the blog dept, my ( Mehari's) comment at 4:17 pm is labeled as "anonymous" and below that my name (Mehari) is used for a comment that I did not make. Could you please make the correction as soon as you can.
Thanks,
Mehari

What is wrong with all these so called pundits and journalists---trying to write everyting from a perspective and pov that favors clinton?
I didnt go to any school of journalism neither have I worked in signing treaties... All I know is this
1) Obama gave an answer on Monday that Clinton would have given had she been the first to answer.
2) She tried to differentiate herself so as to score political points.
3) Next day she went and called Obama, Naive and irresponsible
4) Next day, Obama said she was the naive and irresponsible one for authorizing the invasion of Iraq
5) He calls her Bush-Cheney lite..and asks her to explain why she is not as it appears to everyone that whats she is being saying this two days.
6) She goes to CNN to say that a foreign policy discussion is becoming silly and that what has happened to his clean politics.

Tommorrow: Obama will go and counterpunch the use of the word "silly" and point to the fact that McCain and Romney agrees with her as butressing his calling her Bush-lite.
Just wait till he uses this on his campaign trail.

Want to see Obama's credentials -- read his books. His tactics may change with time, but his strategies are deeply rooted in giving each citizen a chance to reach for the American dream and an international policy which treats other countries like they contain human beings who are striving for the same.

Sure, their Iraq voting records in the Senate match. They have only overlapped for a few years. Also, Hillary made sure of this when she waited to the last minute so she could follow Barack's vote against funding the war. What kind of leadership is that?

If all this primary boils down to is electing the candidate who is most apt at following the lead of their handlers, then we are all in big trouble.

Clinton pontificates and then recalibrates her position as focus-group feedback comes in. This is not leadership; it's followership. Obama won't say it, but I will: It's Bush Lite

I've been saying for a few months now that Obama isn't the "not just politics as usual" candidate that he claims himself to be. This instance is just the latest that supports my conclusion.

And it the most pathetic.

When I saw that moment during the debate, I was stunned by the contrast between Obama's remarks and Clinton's. Watching and hearing Obama's answer to the question I was reminded of a moment during Geraldine Farraro's only debate with George Bush when both were running for VEEP in 1984 -- a similar question about foreign policy was asked to Ferraro, she basically said that she'd sit down for tea with all players and discuss the issues -- Obama's answer gave me a similar laugh and spit.

Clinton's answer actually stunned me for two reasons:

1) It was well thought out -- like she's been thinking abut this issue even before the question was raised showing that she is preparing herself for this eventuality.

2) Her approach to this issue is logical and strong. Clinton came off as someone sophisticated enough to understand the intricacies of international diplomacy.

Obama came off like Ferraro to me. "Of course I promise to meet with these leaders...we'll sit down for coffee as soon as I win the election."

The guy bloviates to no end -- he knows that during those few moments of the debate Clinton clearly demonstrated why real world political experience IS important for the future President. It takes more than big ideas -- it takes knowledge and forethought.

What I get from Obama's comments post debate is that he knows that Clinton swung some voters with her intelligent, well thought out plans on how to approach other world leaders hostile to America. He can't honestly believe that anyone would confuse Clinton's plans and approach to diplomacy with Bush's. She very clearly stated that before one approaches these leaders in such a high level meeting, soft diplomacy must first be pursued in order to avoid the meetings merely becoming "propaganda." Basically, laying out the groundwork for SUCCESSFUL diplomacy.

Obama knows he got buried in that exchange -- and now he's name calling -- so much for the "new face" of politics.

I'm not committed to voting for Clinton just yet. But in my mind she scored a bunch of points Monday night -- and Obama has since even more eroded his chances in my mind.

How can you say you support diplomacy when you won't meet with Ahmadinejad, the most influential figure not in Israel as far as Middle East politics goes. Of course I agree he's a radical. Of course he has obvious problems in thought (i.e. commissioning a study on the destruction of Israel). But if we're gonna keep hearing the same regurgitated info out of Iraq about how much influence Iranian training has had on militants, WHY IS IT SO TABOO FOR OBAMA TO MEET WITH HIM? If Hillary is so concerned about our image in the world, maybe she shouldn't have authorized the war or voted for the Patriot Act twice. You don't think these measures might give some fuel for "negative propoganda"? I hope she sticks to her guns on this one, reminds me every day why I don't want to see her in the general election.

Question for Wolfie and Obama's camp: in exactly what national poll is Obama narrowing the gap with Clinton. It just ain't so. Obama is nothing but Bush-type spin. Politics of hope indeed!

Why Obama keeps talking about this escapes me. Hillary took him to school on a debate question, but just let it go, man. Why seem almost desperate to convince the public to please not believe their "lying" eyes -- and ears. The time to be clear was Monday night. This attempt to clean it up now simply isn't working, and he's only bringing more unnecessary attention to his obvious wound.

I agree with Hillary that this is getting silly. The more Obama talks about this the more ridiculous he sounds.

The idea that Obama is "wet behind the ears" is crazy. He might not have been in Washington for a long time, but the job of being the president extends beyond the nation's capital and the nation. He is extremely intelligent and has the ability to see through the political muck and come out with the right answers. This is shown by his stance on Iraq and on this issue. We, as Americans, need to get off of our high horses and stop thinking that it is a reward for these leaders to talk to us. They don't need to talk to us. They have shown the ability to get nuclear weapons and do as they please without us. What we need is to create a dialogue with people that we don't agree with. We need to get them to take some ownership in the world and to work with us. If they are talking and working with us, it is much harder to sell us as evil to people in their homelands. This would go a long way towards re-building our credibility in the world. In JFK can talk to the Russians with their bombs 90 miles away, we should be able to talk to people across the world. Bush has cut himself off from those who disagree with him in both the foreign and the domestic realms and it has had devestating results. We need to show a more open and rational approach, and Hillary is echoing a broken policy.

Obama's initial stand against the Iraq war can take him only so far in the presidential contest. If he was so much against the war, his voting record regarding it subsequent to his becoming US senator does no show even an iota of indignation or exclusivity. He voted along with the rest of the majority, as Hillary did as a senator regarding Iraq issue. Better, if Obama does not take any more credit than what he had. There are other issues he can concentrate in countering Hillary.

Obama's multicultural experience before he was 8 included being raised by 2 muslim fathers---even when one may convert to new religion as one grow old, earlier years of indocrination stay with you. Is he saying he understands islamic (via Kenyan muslim father and Indonesian muslim step-father) and christian view points well, including the plight of minorities (black africans and all blacks). Reading his books, one cannot get away without noticing his anger and rage in his youth. Most of his friends seemed to be from black race.
2, Secondly, didn't he promise his Illinois people he will serve his senate term in full before seeking any higher office.
3, People call Obama black because his father was black, so his religion is Islam as his father was a muslim.

Lynn your viewpoint is right on the mark--Obama in his eagerness gives not so well thought answers,

Hillary's popularity baffles me. Doesn't anybody else remember when she was amongst the most hawkish Democrats at the beginning of the war? She's the Democratic version of Mitt Romney: switching positions whenever it is expedient to do so. What a phony. Moreover, if any Democratic candidate can lose this election, it's Hillary. Many liberals (like myself) will refuse to vote for her, and obviously she'll get NO Republican votes. On the other hand, I've spoken with several life-long Republicans who are considering voting for Obama. He's the real deal: thoughtful, well-informed, politally savvy, and refreshingly honest. Hillary is obsolete, and if the Democratic party nominates her they are a bunch of chumps.

It's nobody's fault that you can't understand when Obama speaks in plain language. It's no one's fault that you can't stand an extremely intelligent youg man.

It's interesting how you conveniently picked one article out of LOTS of better news stories on Obama these past days.

You're the author of that artcile titled: Obama, Edwards say they would meet with Castro, Chavez. And you wrote it with the same intention that you just said in your comment.

But like Hillary, you're pissed because things are slipping off your fingers. That's why you go from blog to blog and you try and slip in the link to send us to your ridiculous article. Thanks, but No thanks. We're not interested.

You will NEVER break the resolve of Obama supporters.
You Never beat the Irish.

"One thing I'm very confident about is, my judgment in foreign policy is, I believe, better than any other candidate in this race, Republican or Democrat," Obama said.

He also said he would meet, 'without preconditions', Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a man who called the Holocaust a 'Myth'.

I am not sure this could be described as good judgment. Anyone remember 'peace in our time'?

Lets carefully look at the question that was asked at the debate and I noticed how the reporters never quote the full question. they always paraphrase it in other to distort it. this episode reminds me of

"I never had a sexual relationship with that woman, Monica Lewinsky" not the mention the numerous dubious pardons. "I smoked but i did not inhale" once again the Clintons distorting the truth.

here is the full quesion that was asked.

QUESTION: In 1982, Anwar Sadat traveled to Israel, a trip that resulted in a peace agreement that has lasted ever since.

In the spirit of that type of bold leadership, 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?

OBAMA: I would. And the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them -- which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration -- is ridiculous.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, Ronald Reagan and Democratic presidents like JFK constantly spoke to Soviet Union at a time when Ronald Reagan called them an evil empire. And the reason is because they understood that we may not trust them and they may pose an extraordinary danger to this country, but we had the obligation to find areas where we can potentially move forward.

And I think that it is a disgrace that we have not spoken to them. We've been talking about Iraq -- one of the first things that I would do in terms of moving a diplomatic effort in the region forward is to send a signal that we need to talk to Iran and Syria because they're going to have responsibilities if Iraq collapses.

They have been acting irresponsibly up until this point. But if we tell them that we are not going to be a permanent occupying force, we are in a position to say that they are going to have to carry some weight, in terms of stabilizing the region.

from this full transcript you can see Obama mentioned send a signal in terms of diplomatic efforts to Iran and Syria.

CAN YOU HILLARY SUPPORTERS PLEASE TELL ME HOW IT IS POSSIBLE FOR THE UNITED STATES PRESIDENT TO SEND A DIPLOMATIC SIGNAL without initiating the so called ground level diplomatic work? What signal does Hillary answer send; I am not willing to meet cause you might use me for your propaganda!

also the question also suggest in the spirit of the lasting peace that has lasted ever since the seventies. This means the intention of such a meeting would be to achieve lasting peace NOT COFFEE:) and the questioner also recognises the bold move as well which created the peace and which was critizied at the time by people like Hillary but has resulted in lasting peace till today.

so my second question is why would a US president shy away from an opportunity to achieve long and lasting peace with so called hostile regimes and use fear of loosing the PR war as an excuse.

that shows lack of courage and leadership from Hillary Clinton.

what a shame.

Hillary looks even more stupid arguing this point and she is loosing hands down

wake up from your slumber people and pay attention because it is time to turn the page.

Thank you.


Check out this increadible new video that shows who is on the right

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyqAR4lJCmw

This is to Patrick, July 26, 2007 07:30 PM:

I am in whole agreement that it would be in the US best interests to have dialog with the leaders of countries considered "hostile" to the US.

I am of the opinion that many of these leader's arguments are valid and appropriate for diplomatic discussions.

I also am of the opinion that these leaders are not all two bit dictators unaware and oblivious to sophisticated international relations and diplomacy. For example, both Ahmadinejad and Chavez are democratically elected leaders. Both have strong allegiances not only in their respective countries but also around the world.

My point is that from the Monday exchange, I believe Clinton has a better grasp on how to forward dialog with these leaders than does Obama. Obama acts hungry -- Clinton acts wisely.

Never in her comments did she insinuate that she was not open to diplomacy. She merely stated the educated obvious that there are measured steps to secure TRUE dialog -- not just "propaganda."

If you don't get that then I would say that you are prime meat for Obama's demagoguery. You simply do not understand the real world of diplomatic relations.

I can tell you one thing -- these "hostile" leaders that seek true dialog with the US would much more respect a leader like Clinton who understands the seriousness and reality of international relations than a bloviator like Obama who has no true understanding of the intricacies of international relations.

Of course they would love dialog with a Obama who is naive and idealistic enough for their agenda -- but I guarantee that they'd respect the leadership of Clinton much more -- because she isn't stupid enough to simply become a piece of "propaganda." They would know that she has given them the dignity and respect to assemble the right context to the discussions.

I am personally sick of US leaders who approach leaders like Ahmadinejad and Chavez as though they are some peripheral scab on the international scale -- as though they should be treated like disobedient children who deserve a good talking to. These leaders deserve respect -- they have valid arguments.

From what I get with Clinton is that she is recognizing the worldwide importance of such meetings and she is committed to the idea that in the eventuality of such meetings they will be dignified and realistic in their discussions. This makes soft diplomacy a primary element.

Obama's camp knew that voters like me recognized who the real expert on international relations was with that exchange. They're going out of their way trying to portray Clinton as "old school" in some way-- but the fact of the matter is experience is experience.

Obama has none -- except with his extended family highlighted above that he has tried to use as such. I am a scholar and student of international relations. The essential element in successful international relations is mutual respect. If I were Ahmadinejad or Chavez and I were listening to Obmama and Clinton's remarks on that question I would have thought: Obama's willing to play, Clinton is wanting to know more. Manipulation vs. discussion.

I'll take discussion over manipulation a million times! THAT'S diplomacy. And that takes wisdom -- and respect. Obama doesn't respect the dignity of such talks. He's arrogant enough to believe that he would walk in and gloriously make peace. Clinton is smart enough to know that groundwork must be done to ensure the dignity of all parties involved -- including the US. She's not willing to become a mere piece of "propaganda" as she put it -- she wants it to be meaningful and real in its consequences.

I personally am sick of our so called leaders going to other countries for photo ops. I'm personally happy to hear that a presidential candidate is taking it more seriously than that.

Face it -- Clinton blew Obama away on this question. She never said that she was closed to diplomacy with "hostile" nations -- she merely pointed out to Obama that this takes more than a "shout out." I know that most Americans are prone to instant gratification but believe it or not, things like meaningful international relations require necessary groundwork -- especially since there is so much ground to cover due to the illegitimate regime of George W. Bush.

I was impressed with Clinton's reality. In the debates she has often said that we should look at the facts and realities related to each issue. She has often reminded people that we should not rely on hypotheticals.

This is to Patrick, July 26, 2007 07:30 PM:

I am in whole agreement that it would be in the US best interests to have dialog with the leaders of countries considered "hostile" to the US.

I am of the opinion that many of these leader's arguments are valid and appropriate for diplomatic discussions.

I also am of the opinion that these leaders are not all two bit dictators unaware and oblivious to sophisticated international relations and diplomacy. For example, both Ahmadinejad and Chavez are democratically elected leaders. Both have strong allegiances not only in their respective countries but also around the world.

My point is that from the Monday exchange, I believe Clinton has a better grasp on how to forward dialog with these leaders than does Obama. Obama acts hungry -- Clinton acts wisely.

Never in her comments did she insinuate that she was not open to diplomacy. She merely stated the educated obvious that there are measured steps to secure TRUE dialog -- not just "propaganda."

If you don't get that then I would say that you are prime meat for Obama's demagoguery. You simply do not understand the real world of diplomatic relations.

I can tell you one thing -- these "hostile" leaders that seek true dialog with the US would much more respect a leader like Clinton who understands the seriousness and reality of international relations than a bloviator like Obama who has no true understanding of the intricacies of international relations.

Of course they would love dialog with a Obama who is naive and idealistic enough for their agenda -- but I guarantee that they'd respect the leadership of Clinton much more -- because she isn't stupid enough to simply become a piece of "propaganda." They would know that she has given them the dignity and respect to assemble the right context to the discussions.

I am personally sick of US leaders who approach leaders like Ahmadinejad and Chavez as though they are some peripheral scab on the international scale -- as though they should be treated like disobedient children who deserve a good talking to. These leaders deserve respect -- they have valid arguments.

From what I get with Clinton is that she is recognizing the worldwide importance of such meetings and she is committed to the idea that in the eventuality of such meetings they will be dignified and realistic in their discussions. This makes soft diplomacy a primary element.

Obama's camp knew that voters like me recognized who the real expert on international relations was with that exchange. They're going out of their way trying to portray Clinton as "old school" in some way-- but the fact of the matter is experience is experience.

Obama has none -- except with his extended family highlighted above that he has tried to use as such. I am a scholar and student of international relations. The essential element in successful international relations is mutual respect. If I were Ahmadinejad or Chavez and I were listening to Obmama and Clinton's remarks on that question I would have thought: Obama's willing to play, Clinton is wanting to know more. Manipulation vs. discussion.

I'll take discussion over manipulation a million times! THAT'S diplomacy. And that takes wisdom -- and respect. Obama doesn't respect the dignity of such talks. He's arrogant enough to believe that he would walk in and gloriously make peace. Clinton is smart enough to know that groundwork must be done to ensure the dignity of all parties involved -- including the US. She's not willing to become a mere piece of "propaganda" as she put it -- she wants it to be meaningful and real in its consequences.

I personally am sick of our so called leaders going to other countries for photo ops. I'm personally happy to hear that a presidential candidate is taking it more seriously than that.

Face it -- Clinton blew Obama away on this question. She never said that she was closed to diplomacy with "hostile" nations -- she merely pointed out to Obama that this takes more than a "shout out." I know that most Americans are prone to instant gratification but believe it or not, things like meaningful international relations require necessary groundwork -- especially since there is so much ground to cover due to the illegitimate regime of George W. Bush.

I was impressed with Clinton's reality. In the debates she has often said that we should look at the facts and realities related to each issue. She has often reminded people that we should not rely on hypotheticals. She even remarked that no one knows just exactly what we will find once a new president moves in.

People can say what they want about Hillary Clinton, I certainly have a kind of reluctance in waving her flag this time, but I can say that the very fact that Obama picked this as his issue celibre against Clinton just shows how incapable he is in dealing with "hostilities." Instead of complimenting Clinton for a well thought out path to diplomacy, he tried to vilify her with Bush -- just because his feelings were hurt.

Just imagine how he would feel once he realized that a smart man like Ahmadinejad embarrassed him and hurt his feelings. Obama's a reactionary to the core -- he proves it with this exchange. Clinton's proactive -- she thinks before she reacts. Some call it calculating -- I call it a sign of rational leadership.

Clinton scores!

It seems the problem with Hillary is she looking foreign policy only in American perspective and not from the shoes of other nations. Other nations of the world feel like America is bulling them and thinks all others should follow and listen to them.

The recent Senator Obama response to this shows that he has more experience and understands how other nations feel and how important it is to portray a different picture of America. Below are his responses.

Obama said, “The debate is not just about life experience, although obviously that informs my perspective. But it also has to do with perspectives about how the United States should project its interests and ideals around the world.

“And what’s been interesting about this debate over diplomacy is, I really think that it is a debate over the same conventional thinking that led people to authorize the war in Iraq without asking questions versus a, an approach to foreign policy that asks questions and is informed by a knowledge and perspective of cultures like those in Iraq and is not trapped by a lot of received wisdom. And that I think is what is going on here. We had a foreign policy over the last several years that is obsessed with talking tough and then not acting very smartly,"

“And part of what I believe we have to have if we are going to be successful in going after terrorists and mobilizing the international community around critical issues like Darfur and stabilizing Iraq is a willingness to not just talk tough, but be tough enough and smart enough to talk to leaders around the word, to engage our enemies, to speak truthfully, to uphold our values. And that I think is going to be part of the central debate in this campaign.”

You see these comment are of a person who is seasoned with practical experience. My Question is why should Hillary not willing to portray upfront willingness to meet with these presidents or any otherworld leader? Don’t she know here reaction sends a negative arrogant message? This kind of response solidifies the other nations resentments against America? Why is should she thinking that they will take advantage of their meeting?

The Question at hand was not about committing but rather willingness to meet! Therefore Barack Obamas answer show to Americans and mostly to internationals that America is willing to work with them and maybe solve the issues and differences that presently exist. What a great portrait of the American virtues! Telling the world America is a friend and not your enemy. I also believe this is the right heart and boldness of a true leader.

Thanks.

Also be sure to watch video to understand more of Hillary’s flip flopping stands on this issue. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyqAR4lJCmw


Reading these messages proves to me that I can still believe in Americans. People are SMART ENOUGH to know that Clinton is just another one using her popularity to achieve power because anyone with wisdom would immediately refute her attacks to Obama. ANywone with some reason would know that she did not say anything pertinent enough to overthrow Obama. America needs to create a dialogue with its enemies. Talking is not a bad thing if you have the confidence to do so. Remember North Korea chose to stop the weapons after long periods of dialogue. Diaologue and diplomacy are the answers to violence. If Iran is willing to dialogue, what is there to be scared about. Isn't it better than provoking a nuclear catastrophe. Obama never said he would compromise, he said he would dialogue and uphold the values of our country. For God sake fellow AMericans, lets not be scared, lets not be scared. Let's use our common wisdom. Hillary voted for this war which means she would have had the same record as Bush if she was elected. She still did not apologize because she is so sure of the naivety of her supporters. She stands for what is popular always and that is what truly made me leave her camp to join Obama.He will always stand by our country, whether or not that shows to be the most popular.

Here the whole truth: edited and no spin:
See for yourselves
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyqAR4lJCmw

The question was answered correctly by Obama.

The question was very specific and it did not contain the word "precondition."

It's quite funny that nobobdy including the Lynn Sweet picked up on that. The word precondition was firt mentioned by Senator Clinton and the this whole "fabricated controversy" was spun around that word. Points to Clinton for spin, points to Obama for being sincere. I'm not bashing Clinton. Spin is very effective.

Just look at all these posts...

Obama is correct. There is a video on Youtube using Hillary's own words. It has Bush speaking and It has Hillary speaking. Same words. No Thanks. It is time for a change.

Come on, wazolangu,

By posting those comments you clearly show why I have taken the exchange as I did. Obama says:

"...an approach to foreign policy that asks questions and is informed by a knowledge and perspective of cultures like those in Iraq and is not trapped by a lot of received wisdom. And that I think is what is going on here. We had a foreign policy over the last several years that is obsessed with talking tough and then not acting very smartly..."

Exactly Clinton's stance, but she stated the obvious more clearly...she referred to the groundwork that would be necessary so that the questions ARE asked AND informed by a "knowledge and perspective of the cultures," as Obama stated. You see Clinton isn't approaching this like arrogant Obama who already thinks he knows everything in the minds of these leaders. It's "smart" for a president to go into dialog prepared and aware.

Obama also referred to "...a willingness to not just talk tough, but be tough enough and smart enough to talk to leaders around the word, to engage our enemies, to speak truthfully, to uphold our values."

Again, Clinton shares the same belief...she said nothing to the contrary. The difference is that Clinton understands that in oder to "be tough enough and smart enough to talk to leaders around the world," one needs perspective from all sides -- hence the need for groundwork and soft diplomacy before engaging in high-level diplomacy.

What I figured out about Obama fans is that they are individuals who are charmed by his simplistic approach to just about everything. They, like Obama, believe that if you just say the magic word (i.e. friend or opportunity) it will magically be so. It's cute if the guy is a writer or a poet, but it is dangerously naive for someone claiming to be prepared enough to be president of the US.

I have respect for Ahmadinejad and Chavez' concerns -- that means that I also know these leaders to be shrewd and wise. Apparently Obama has no respect for what he calls "received wisdom," but leaders the world over know that without wisdom there is no true diplomacy. These guys, like Clinton, understand that their concerns aren't just going to magically materialize over coffee -- they have concerns and demands, and I would hope that a future president of the States would have our concerns on the table as well. I really feel embarrassed for Obama supporters who cannot understand the necessity of soft diplomacy (i.e. envoys laying the groundwork for high level discussions.) It would be nice if a magical world existed and everyone had the same goals and, like Peewee's playhouse, we'd all have a powwow and everything would be great.

But I've had enough with one president for six years who doesn't know the first thing about international relations. I can't think about another four with another guy who is painting with a different kind of idealized brush and doesn't get the intricacies of tough but meaningful diplomacy. The first guy says "no!" to all dialog, the second guy says "I'm ready, let's have a party and see how it goes!"

Screw that!

We've had one president who's made us the laughingstock of nations, I don't want another one. I want a smart, intelligent, thinking person as our next president -- someone who understands REAL WORLD politics. In my mind, Clinton has more work to do in order to convince me that she is the best of all options. But, as I alluded to earlier, I found something impressive in the maturity and wisdom of her answer regarding the question.

I was content to just logging it into my brainspace as a reference for later use -- but Obama just had to attack the messenger who made his own answer seem painfully naive and generalized. He would have done best if he just didn't refer to it again. But that wasn't enough -- he had to portray Clinton as Bush-lite.

And its that kind of childish desperation that proves to me that Obama is in no way prepared to deal with anyone -- friend or foe. He puts his tongue in his cheek and blows the crap right out the other end. Now that's what I call BUSH-LITE!

You Obama people have got to understand that even though you find his naivety, broad generalizations, youth and inexperience, as well as his idealistic/fairyland, charming, these are the same qualities that endeared Bush to the Republican base...

And just look at how that turned out.

Ethel, you are not thinking. What most makes Bush record so infamous is the Iraqi War. People who support Obama are not fans and I would really apreciate it if you could keep the judgement to yourself. We are here to discuss issues related to our country, it is our duty to stand for the truth. Im sorry what is naive at this point, seeing the escalation of violence in Iraq, is the fact that people are supporting a candidate who voted for the War and who is now attacking the president who went to war thanks to her vote. So you tell me who is naive, people supporting a candidate for change or people supporting a candidate who contributed to creating that need for change. Hillary needs to get more wisdom. My advice to you do not stand for one candidate but for your country and then everything will get a meaning. I was for HIllary because I thought she had the most experience but seeing her record it is obvious that experience should not resume to the number of years spent in washington but to one's dedication and actions taken for the safety and progress of America.

Um, lincoln46,

I'm assuming from your comment that you are referring to my post...the "ethel" thing kinda made me wonder, but I've figured that must be some kind of Obama inside joke or something -- I didn't get it -- anyway.

Let's get something straight -- I have tried to be very clear that I have NOT YET DECIDED WHO I'm voting for as president next year. I have been very vocal about what has and hasn't impressed me so far in the debates -- if one could call them that.

What hasn't impressed me is the constant reference to Obama as a "candidate for change" -- your obvious rider for Obama as well -- when the guy is hardly one as such.

I starting looking into Obama with serious fairness and as time goes on I become more alarmed at this guys possibilities.

In the first Democratic debate this year Obama was asked if a nuclear assault against Iran after maintaining nuclear capabilities would be something he would consider -- the guy actually said that "all options are on the table..."?!

If you recall on Monday, Obama answered the question about discussions with Iran without even realizing that he already put up the red flag to Iran some months ago when he boldly stated that nuclear assault upon that country is in his mind even now!

What the hell kind of "change" is that?!

And NO! "What most makes Bush record so infamous is" NOT JUST "the Iraqi War." He has shredded the Constitution. The poor and the middle class are dying in their own ways. Health care is still a distant dream for millions of Americans. Our education system is woefully broken...and on and on.

Obama's only argument that gives him any distance with Clinton is that she voted for military action against Iraq -- never mind that most stupid people who did that believed that they were dealing with an honest broker, Bush, who promised that ALL diplomacy would be pursued and exhausted before all out conflict.

I was at the time, and still am now, so very outrageously angry that, not only the Senate trusted this bafoon, but so did the majority of Americans! This IS a major concern with me about Clinton -- she's got a lot of ground to make up in order to show people like me that she's learned something from this unthinking emotional knee-jerk blind patriotic fervor that allowed a swine like Bush to carry out his nefarious plans.

That's why I listen to ALL candidates NOW -- because "hind sight is 20/20." Obama has the pleasure of NOT being in the Senate when that ugly day occurred -- who really knows what mister "all options on the table" would have done. Yeah, yeah, he was saying he was against it anyway -- well, let's see how Obama actually votes now that he is in the Senate.

Let's take an issue that could have REALLY shown Obama as someone greatly different than Clinton -- the USA Patriot Act.

Last year, March 2006, the Senate overwhelmingly voted to reauthorize this, what I ultimately believe is, the death knell of our liberties and rights as a free, open, democratic country.

Only ten amazing Senators voted against this assault on our people -- Obama and Clinton were NOT on that list.

And bud, don't try to school me on supporting my country. You pompously wrote:

"My advice to you do not stand for one candidate but for your country and then everything will get a meaning."

How nicely fascist of you to equate "everything's" meaning to my "country." The fact of the matter is I don't recognize my country anymore. My country used to believe in the rule of law. My country used to believe in due process. My country used to believe in the person's privacy and sanctity of private property.

You arrogant snob! The place I call my "country" is meaningful to me -- and it is in distress. But I will also say that the rest of the world is meaningful to me too! No, bud, my country isn't "everything"...it's one major part of a whole.

So go on defend, support, and claim that Obama is an "agent for change." With his opinion about our liberties and freedoms safely tucked away in the "patriot" Act and his "all options on the table" "nukes ok" attitude, you have to ask yourself, "if he is for change...just what kind of nightmare change are we talking about?"

"Agent for change my rear."

Sadly, the choices that the American people have right now are actually quite impressive this year -- there are real options -- Kucinich, Gravel, Paul are the REAL options for change -- they've been portrayed as "outsiders" "longshots" "kooks" "extremists."

And WHY......?

Because THEY are the most sincere about REAL change.

Obama isn't a change!!! He endorsed the one single Bill that is more damaging to "the safety and progress of America" that you so arrogantly threw in my face!

It is absolutely amazing that after four hundred and fifty years most European American do not understand the African American experience.
Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright is in his sixties, and Barak Obama is in his forties. The different generations of African Americans will have different opinions of the USA. However most African Americans tell you will institutional racism is alive and well in the United Sates. This does not mean we hate the US, or our White co workers, or the White bloodline that most of us have.
Marc Sims
Chicago
Willielynch2013@yahoo.com

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Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on July 26, 2007 1:04 PM.

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