Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Clinton for boycott of Olympic opening ceremony. Obama not taking stand. Chicago in running for 2016 Olympics.

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By Lynn Sweet and Andrew Herrmann
WASHINGTON -- Days before the Olympic torch arrives in San Francisco -- and after protests in Paris and London and at the Golden Gate Bridge -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) on Monday called on President Bush to boycott the opening ceremony in Beijing to pressure China on Tibet and Darfur.

"The violent clashes in Tibet and the failure of the Chinese government to use its full leverage with Sudan to stop the genocide in Darfur are opportunities for presidential leadership," Clinton said in a statement.

"These events underscore why I believe the Bush administration has been wrong to downplay human rights in its policy towards China. At this time, and in light of recent events, I believe President Bush should not plan on attending the opening ceremonies in Beijing."

The Chinese Olympics present a quandary for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

(This is the print version of earlier blog post)


Obama, vying with Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination, has spoken out against Chinese reluctance to use its influence on Sudan to stop the violence in Darfur and human rights abuses in Tibet. But Chicago is competing for the 2016 Olympics and one of his top advisers, Valerie Jarrett, is the vice chair of the city's bid committee.

Last week, Obama said, "I'm hesitant to make the Olympics a site of political protest because I think it's partly about bringing the world together" and Monday in a statement did not address the proposal to boycott the opening ceremony. If the Chinese government did not work "toward meaningful autonomy for Tibet," Obama said, "there should be consequences."

Chicago 2016 spokesman Patrick Sandusky said, "If we are fortunate enough to be chosen as a candidate city, we would be honored to attend the Beijing Games."

Ed Hula, who edits around therings.com, which covers the Olympics' business side, said a U.S. boycott "would kill the bid" for Chicago.

As the Olympic torch heads for San Francisco, officials are ready for more protests in the lone American stop for the torch. "The situation in San Francisco is also a worry" for the United States Olympic Committee, added Hula.

European leaders are considering a boycott of the opening ceremony. The Bush White House is not.


(this is full Obama statement)
"I have been deeply disturbed by the recent events in Tibet, and have communicated my concerns in public and to President Bush. As I have said repeatedly, the Chinese government must take immediate steps to respect the dignity, security, human rights and religious freedom of the Tibetan people, to provide foreign press and diplomats with access to the region, and to finally work with the Dalai Lama toward meaningful autonomy for Tibet. If they do not, there should be consequences,” said Barack Obama.

5 Comments

Here's an example of Obama, in effect, voting "present" on an issue without taking a stand. Something that Obama knows well.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2007/02/the_everpresent_obama.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/taylor-marsh/obamas-present-vote-ig_b_77713.html

A politician dodges an issue because he's afraid of taking a stand that might be unpopular and might be held against him later.

A statesman takes a stand where his conscience leads him because it's the right thing to do, regardless of the personal consequences.

Obama is nothing more than a politician, despite the pretty words and flowery speeches.

YOU CAN MAKE COMPARISONS ALL YOU WANT ABOUT A STATESMAN AND A
POLITICIAN, BUT YOU KNOW IF OBAMA COMMENTS ON EVERY LITTLE THING
YOU AND YOUR CRONIES WILL ANALYZE HIS COMMENTS. I WONDER IF YOU
MADE THESE COMMENTS ABOUT GEORGE BUSH AND DICK CHENEY!
I WOULD ADVISE YOU TO TAKE UP A HOBBY OR GO FISHING, OR BETTER
YET, START YOUR ON DICTIONARY SERVICE.
LEAVE THE MAN ALONE AND YOU'LL REAP THE BENEFITS LATER!
OBAMA ISN'T AFRAID OF ANYONE, AND BELIEVE YOU ME, HE HAS TAKEN
A MIGHTY STAND BY NOT LISTENING TO PEOPLE LIKE YOU, WHO DON'T
WANT CHANGE, YOU WANT THINGS TO REMAIN AS THEY ARE!
SO EITHER YOU ARE RICH, OR A TRUST-FUND BABY, BECAUSE THEY'RE
28 MILLION PEOPLE ON FOOD STAMPS, 80,000 PEOPLE WERE LAYED-OFF
LAST MONTH, GAS IS AT AN ALL TIME HIGH, THE WAR, IF YOU WANT TO
CALL IT A WAR, WARS END, THAT'S WHY I HAVE A PROBLEM CALLING IT
A WAR, BECAUSE SOME PEOPLE DON'T WANT IT TO END!
WHO'S GETTING ALL THAT OIL IN IRAQ?
GOTTA GO NOW, SNIPER FIRE OVERHEAD!

Excellent use of the Republican playbook, Phil Smith Jr. When there's nothing to say to rebut the point at hand, then attack the messenger.

You have yet to point out why Obama, more than any other candidate, is equipped to bring about positive change in this country.

I am not sure why you would assume that someone who notes deficiencies in Obama's record is wealthy. Obama's supporters on the whole are wealthier than Clinton's supporters, at least according to statistics put forth by the media.

Obama is afraid to take a stand and risk losing votes. That's a sign of weakness and lack of principle. Same old politics, no change there!

Obvoiusly, the person who wrote the last blog, is an infant to politics. Honey, you can't believe everything you hear. They (politicians, even your wonderful Obama) tell you what you want to hear to get your votes! He does not want to tick anyone off so he is very careful to waffle away from any important question. He is for his Pastor, but he is against him. He is agaisnt the war, but wants to go send more troops to Afghanistan. He is for universal health care, (but not for adults), just their kids. Get it? The list goes on. And yes, honey, they made these comments about Bush, Cheney, Clinton, anyone who runs for office, actually. He needs to answer questions. He is running because he has a vision where he wants to take this country. How do we know where that will be unless he lets un in on it. I don't get on a bus to go anywhere without a destination in writing.!!!!!

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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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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on April 8, 2008 10:30 AM.

Clinton launching 5 Pennsylvania spots as Obama closing gap, new poll shows. was the previous entry in this blog.

Obama backer James Hoffa calling on Clinton to cut all ties to Mark Penn. Also calls on Obama advisor Goolsbee to come clean on NAFTA meeting. UPDATED is the next entry in this blog.

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