Bush’s Remarks in Israel Rile ObamaBy KATE PHILLIPS
Updated The Obama campaign seized on a section of President Bush’s remarks to members of the Knesset in Israel this morning, interpreting the president’s choice of words as a slap at the Democratic candidate on foreign soil. Senator Barack Obama himself issued a statement, calling it “a false political attack” and an “extraordinary politicization of foreign policy.”
According to an advance text and now televised excerpts, Mr. Bush criticized — without mentioning anyone by name — suggestions for using diplomacy to deal with rogue nations. He specifically cited Iran:
Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along.We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: “Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.” We have an obligation to call this what it is – the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.Some people suggest that if the United States would just break ties with Israel, all our problems in the Middle East would go away. This is a tired argument that buys into the propaganda of our enemies, and America rejects it utterly. Israel’s population may be just over 7 million. But when you confront terror and evil, you are 307 million strong, because America stands with you.America stands with you in breaking up terrorist networks and denying the extremists sanctuary. And America stands with you in firmly opposing Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions. Permitting the world’s leading sponsor of terror to possess the world’s deadliest weapon would be an unforgivable betrayal of future generations. For the sake of peace, the world must not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.
The Obama campaign just released this statement from the senator himself:
It is sad that President Bush would use a speech to the Knesset on the 60th anniversary of Israel’s independence to launch a false political attack. It is time to turn the page on eight years of policies that have strengthened Iran and failed to secure America or our ally Israel. Instead of tough talk and no action, we need to do what Kennedy, Nixon and Reagan did and use all elements of American power – including tough, principled, and direct diplomacy – to pressure countries like Iran and Syria. George Bush knows that I have never supported engagement with terrorists, and the President’s extraordinary politicization of foreign policy and the politics of fear do nothing to secure the American people or our stalwart ally Israel.
Now, Dana Perino, spokeswoman for President Bush, denied during a White House press briefing in Jerusalem, that the president had slammed Mr. Obama in the Knesset speech. According to transcript of her briefing, she said:
It is not. And I would think that all of you who cover these issues and have for a long time have known that there are many who have suggested these types of negotiations with people that President Bush thinks we should not talk to. I understand when you’re running for office you sometimes think the world revolves around you — that is not always true and it is not true in this case.
Earlier in a telephone interview on CNN, Robert Gibbs, the communications director for Senator Barack Obama, called Mr. Bush’s remarks “astonishing” and an “unprecendented political attack on foreign soil.”
He called it “cowboy diplomacy.” Asked about criticisms, which began during early debates among Democrats when Mr. Obama said he would be willing to meet with leaders of Iran, Cuba and other nations without preconditions, Mr. Gibbs, said “let’s not confuse preconditions with preparation. Obviously these meetings would be full of preparation.”
Mr. Gibbs referred to remarks made this week by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, which were published in The Washington Post. “We need to figure out a way to develop some leverage . . . and then sit down and talk with them,” Mr. Gates was quoted as saying. “If there is going to be a discussion, then they need something, too. We can’t go to a discussion and be completely the demander, with them not feeling that they need anything from us.”
(We’d just like to point out the word “demander.”)
On CNN, Mr. Gibbs said:
I assume he also is going to come home and fire his secretary of defense, who was quoted in “The Washington Post” just yesterday saying, we need to figure — quote “We
need to figure out a way to develop some leverage and then sit down and talk with them.” “Them” being Iran.Look, we have come to expect and we’ve seen from this administration over the last eight years this type of cowboy diplomacy. Again, we’ve come to expect it, but over the past eight years it’s made this country far less safe than we were. Ronald Reagan once asked Americans whether they were better off than they were four years ago. And I think people are going to ask themselves in this election, are we safer than we were eight years ago under this president? I think the answer is going to be a resounding no.
Mr. Obama has been meeting with Jewish leaders across the country to try to persuade them that he is a stalwart ally of Israel. Our colleague, Larry Rohter, just chronicled Mr. Obama’s stepped up efforts in the last month.
Asked about Mr. Obama’s relationship with American Jews on CNN this morning, Mr. Gibbs said: “Oh, look, I think we have a strong a record as anybody in this race when it comes to Jewish issues. Obviously Israel is our greatest ally in — one of our greatest allies in the world, our principal ally in the Middle East. We have to have a strong relationship with them. It’s unfortunate that an American president chose to fly halfway across the world and make a political attack instead of honoring the tremendous accomplishment and achievement of the 60th anniversary of the birth of Israel.”
On Wednesday, Mr. Obama’s Democratic rival, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, who had long criticized Mr. Obama for suggesting he would meet with leaders of rogue nations without preconditions, batted back assertions made by Senator John McCain that Mr. Obama was a friend of Hamas. In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer:
Mr. Blitzer: Here is what McCain said about Barack Obama and I want to get your reaction. He said, “I think,” this is McCain, “I think it’s very clear who Hamas wants to be the next president of the United States. I think people should understand that I would be Hamas’ worst nightmare. If Senator Obama is favored by Hamas, I think people can make judgments accordingly.” McCain was referring to a statement by the North American spokesman for Hamas endorsing, in effect, Barack Obama. Is McCain right?Senator Clinton: No, I think that that’s really an overstatement, an exaggeration of any kind of political meaning and I don’t think that anybody should take that seriously.Mr. Blitzer: Do you have confidence that Barack Obama as president would be a strong supporter of Israel?Senator Clinton: Yes, I do, I believe that that would be the policy of the United States and it’s been our policy for 60 years.
IT APPEARS THIS ONE ARTICLE SHOULD HAVE BEEN RED FLAGGED BEFORE VOTING FOR BHO!!!
SECONDLY, SENATOR CLINTON WAS AS WRONG AS THE DAY IS LONG! THE ONLY CORRECT STATEMENT SHE MADE IS THAT THE UNITED STATES HAS BEEN A STRONG SUPPORTER OF ISRAEL FOR THE PAST 60 YEARS. TRUE!
HOWEVER, THAT HAS NOT BEEN THE POLICY OF THIS ADMINISTRATION SINCE OBAMA FIRST STEPPED FOOT INTO THE WHITE HOUSE; AND LET THIS BE A CLEAR WARNING TO ALL VOTERS, AS WE WATCH OBAMA'S CAREFULLY ORCHESTRATED CAMPAIGN THROUGHOUT THE COMING MONTHS. THE LEOPARD DOES NOT CHANGE HIS SPOTS.