Pool Report: Obama meets with Palestinians in Ramallah

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Obama met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad for one hour (15 mins longer than scheduled) at the Mukata, the president's compound in Ramallah. Meeting began 1:30 pm and ended 2:30.

Obama was walked down to his motorcade afterward by Abbas and lots of security. Obama waved but made no statement. Campaign plans to move a statement later today to all traveling press re the mtg

Color below:

Ramallah is about six miles north of Jerusalem but it took half an hour to get there, driving fast. The motorcade left King David Hotel 12:55 pm, north on Highway 1 and then into the West Bank. At 1:05 we stopped at the West Bank Hizma checkpoint along the separation barrier.

At 1:20 at the entrance to Ramallah we passed a VIP checkpoint staffed by Israeli security forces. At this point, dozens of Palestinian forces wearing camouflage, helmets,vests and armed with semiautomatic rifles lined the road to the compound, their backs to the road.

At 1:25 we turned left into an entrance to the walled compound of connected sand-colored, two- and three-floor buildings with red-tile roofs. Yasser Arafat is buried in a crypt on the grounds of the compound but Obama did not tour the gravesite.

It was chaos trying to get inside the meeting. Dozens of local journalists were waiting and Palestinian officials were reluctant to let the Obama pool through in the confusion.

Once the Obama pool was let in there was a stampede up a set of stairs, and in the process a large potted plant was knocked over and the pot broken, spilling soil all over the floor. Staff with brooms immediately appeared and began sweeping.

We were taken through an upstairs hallway with four red oriental rugs and into a room where Obama was seated to the left of Abbas with a small coffee table and a tall Palestinian flag between them, and photos of the late Arafat and Abbas himself on the wall behind Abbas. PM Fayyad was seated off to the right of Abbas. Obama was speaking softly to Abbas (inaudible) and the two were leaning in toward one another. We were permitted in only for a moment for photos, then ushered out. Obama was accompanied by advisers Dennis Ross, Jim Steinberg, Dan Shapiro. Susan Rice, Dan Kurtzer.

2 Comments

The whole trip is a joke. Did you hear Obama when he was answering questions. He sounded like a 5 year old stuttering and searching for words.
When this guy is not reading something someone wrote for him you wonder how he got into college.
No shock he will not release his college grades, also no shock he will not release his medical records.
What is he trying to hide?

I am glad Senator Obama's ego is huge and vast to allow bias media reporters on this sojourn to various countries and cities to follow and report, but still be a humble man in another's countries with kind, thoughtful words which none of the recent president(s) have shown.

After reading your Sunday's column about the Obama's finances with where and whom each worked for during college is belittling to the buyers of the Sun-Times. Have the Obama's been tested, written and poked from every angle on this tid-bit of news?

Ms. Sweet, I do not trust you to report fairly, you are a Hillary Clinton backer, and the subjectivity will be displayed in future columns or blog entries as you traverse countries with the Senator.

I have never known a U.S. Presenditial Nominee having to placate other's outside this country with visits before being elected president. Yes, he stated he would speak with world leaders but the presumption is once elected NOT BEFORE HE CAN GET A TOE in the Oval Office.

This is surely a new one for the Black candidate or any future Black ones. Why is it I would not view Hillary Clinton and John McCain doing this? Because the American people would not expect it. They are NOT HUMBLE yet some Americans are displeased when Senator Obama speaks of reaching out to have discourse with other world leaders.

MAYBE THAT IS WHY HE IS SO DAMN LIKEABLE!

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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 July 23, 2008 9:00 AM.

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