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Sweet blog special: Nuke? No nuke? Obama works to define position. UPDATE. Dodd says Obama "confused."


WASHINGTON--Nuke? Or no Nuke? White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) opened a new front on Thursday in suggesting he would be hesitant to use nuclear weapons. This comes a day after talking tough about sending U.S. assets in to Pakistan to root out terrorists even if the U.S. is not invited.

Here's the news story that may impact Obama presidential coverage for the next cycle (he hoped to get attention for his role in the Senate ethics and lobbying package passed this afternoon with 80 votes). It's an interview by Dennis Conrad of the Associated Press, who talked to Obama after the regular Thursday Illinois breakfast. The Republican National Committee did an e-mail blast with the quotes.

Click below for the operative quotes where Obama said he was against a nuke hit involving civilians--and then retreats.

This is not the first time Obama had to refine, define and retool along the way on foreign policy questions. He spent part of last week honing his thoughts on meeting with despots without precondition. For other examples check previous posts at

from the AP story...

''I think it would be a profound mistake for us to use nuclear weapons in any circumstance,'' Obama said, with a pause, ''involving civilians.'' Then he quickly added, ''Let me scratch that. There's been no discussion of nuclear weapons. That's not on the table.''

this from the Dodd campaign...

WASHINGTON - Today, Presidential Candidate Chris Dodd released the following statement on Senator Obama's statements on military action he would or would not take as President:

"Over the past several days, Senator Obama's assertions about foreign and military affairs have been, frankly, confusing and confused. He has made threats he should not make and made unwise categorical statements about military options.

"We are facing a dangerous and complicated world. The next President will require a level of understanding and judgment unprecedented in American history to address these challenges."


Obama really shouldn't speak without a teleprompter or prepared text.

Today he proved just how not ready for prime time the Junior Senator from Illinois is. As he demonstrated during the debates, Obama just can't seem to help stepping into a big pile of his own making.

His latest flailing of I-won't-use-nukes-with-citizens-wait-scratch-that-I'm-not discussing-nukes debacle illustrates that he is as clueless about how a Commander-In-Chief should address the most potent weapon in his military arsenal as he is about how to respond to a terrorist attack or about Presidential diplomacy.

The American electorate doesn't seem to like what Obama is stepping in, either.

The three most recent national polls, taken after the debate, show Clinton trending up and ahead by double-double digits over her nearest rival. As of today, Clinton trounces Obama 43(38) to 21(25) Rasmussen; 43(39) to 22(25) NBC/WSJ, and 40(34) to 21(24) Pew.

Standing in front of a teleprompter and reading a speech written by Richard Clark isn't a terribly difficult thing to do. Unfortunately for Obama, the American electorate knows that we live in serious times and require more from their President than a dramatic reading from a prepared text.

Sorry JoeCHI. It's either you're lost and need help or you have already made up your mind against Obama and so you're not interested in seeking the truth.

It is nobody's fault if people like you cannot undertsand Obama him when he speaks. It's not his fault that he's too inteligent that it took a Foreign Policy scholar and Executive Director of the Harvard Carr centre of Human Rights Policy (Samantha Power) to explain the consistency of policies on diplomacy and fighting terror to protect Americans like me and you.
Do yourself a favour and do proper research. Ask questions from experts instead of relying on the press for analysis.

Second, Zogby, Ramussen and other pollsters have said national polls are nothing but name recognition. So don't get excited about those poll results. Bill Clinton's was 8% when he ran.

The recent polls in 3 of 4 key primary states show Obama is beating Hillary in IOWA and SOUTH CAROLINA and they're tied in NEW HAMPHSIRE. These are states she previously dominated.,2933,292026,00.html

Obama threats to attack Pakistan is not only an insult to a country that has lost hundreds of troops in fighting terrorism. Its also posturing by a politician who wants to sound tough on national security, and results in damaging a relationship between the US and Pakistan.

That is why he is not qualified to be President.

The American electorate also knows we require more than Clinton's well-rehearsed sound bites and hypocrisy. And we deserve more than irresponsible journalists and sensationalist headlines. But an American public that fails be intelligent enough to seek the context of remarks made - disregard shoddy journalism - and read an entire speech before making judgments deserves what it gets.

Listening to media pundits is starting to seriously give me a headache. It's sad that whenever we get a canidate that speaks the same simple truths that we talk about eveyday around the water cooler he gets pounce on by quick sound bites and overly self rightous pundits. This is why we as a nation all ways end up with the "other guy"(George Bush) as President or the "other canidate"(John Kerry). But it isn't the media or the politician's fault, it's ours. We need to apply critical thought into what canidates say about certain issues and use our own judgements to decide and not let FEAR control our decisions. What is the difference between Hilary Clinton saying Obama is naive and George Bush saying that voting for a democrat will be an unsafe choice in an era of terroism? There isn't one. Both statements are based on fear and are attempting to scare you from making the best decision. I don't care if you're a democrat or republican, it's up to us to be knowlegeable about the facts. One of the saddest things in this country's history is not that Bush was elected President with less votes, it's that he was elected twice. Vote with thought!

Excuse me if I may. On the headline of this article, it reads Nukes? No Nukes? Based on what Obama said last regarding using nuclear weapons against Pakistan, what part of his speech suggested that he would use nuclear weapons? In other words, you and Senator Chris Dodd mentioned that you were confused. If you still are confused about his statement he says "I think it would be a profound mistake for us to use nuclear weapons in any circumstance,'' Obama said, with a pause, ''involving civilians.'' Then he quickly added, ''Let me scratch that. There's been no discussion of nuclear weapons. That's not on the table." Based on this statement please explain to me what part made you think that he would use nuclear weapons? I think I can pretty much conclude from this statement he has no intentions of using them in any circumstatance but again I could be wrong and you and Senator Dodd may still be confused!

Senator Obama was pretty clear about his decision to not use nuclear weaponry without exhausting ALL other recourse first. The junior Senator from Illinois was clear that nuclear warfare was an absolute last resort when all negotiation for ending American peril and endangerment had been rebuffed by the tyrants seated across the peace table more than twice.

So, I think only Lynn and Senator Dodd are confused, hard of hearing, or just plain dull of understanding. Which is pretty odd for Senator Dodd. I usually like him, especially since his O'Rally smack-down. Brother Dodd is slipping.

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Lynn Sweet

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 August 2, 2007 12:19 PM.

Sweet column: Obama's tough terror fighting talk. was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet blog special: Bush to Minneapolis on Saturday. is the next entry in this blog.

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