Barack Obama’s Blunder

Update:  Miam Herald in Florida is reporting Obama’s remarks.  Cubans there might be influenced by this since they hate Castro.   The story quotes Jeffrey Toobin of CNN, “Obama looked inexperienced and naive. . .It was a very big win for (Clinton) on that question.”

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The Obama campaign is trying slander to cover up his blunder.

Our Hillary has responded, “I thought that was irresponsible and frankly naive,”

Here’s the background:

In separate interviews with the Quad-City Times today, Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama tangled over Obama’s statement at the YouTube debate Monday that he would be willing to meet in the first year of his presidency with the leaders of countries antagonistic to the United States.

Clinton called Obama’s comments “irresponsible” and “naive.”

Obama countered by accusing the Clinton campaign of hatching a “fabricated controversy” and suggested that her position put her on the same track as the Bush administration.

The fact is Obama agreed to these types of meetings “without precondition”. Hillary knew that was irresponsible and at least naive if not dangerously incompetent.

The controversy springs from a question at the YouTube debate asking whether Obama would be willing to meet, without precondition, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea.

The Hillary campaign responds:

Her campaign later circulated a memo to reporters saying it was a “mistake” to commit to presidential-level meetings without precondition “with some of the world’s worst dictators” and portrayed her remarks as showing her depth of experience.

Obama launched his desperate attempt to run away from his blunder of last night very early this morning:

Obama’s campaign, early in the day, circulated a memo saying that Clinton’s YouTube position is actually a reversal from what she said in April, when, according to the Associated Press, she said it would be a “terrible mistake for our president to say he will not talk with bad people.”

Obama is siding with right wing egg lover Drudgereport. Politico agrees with Hillary:

Taegan Goddard calls it a “flip-flop,” and Drudge suggests the same, of Hillary’s attacking (and she went at him hard in the Quad City Times) Obama as “naive” for apparently promising he’d meet dictators when she said she would “begin diplomatic discussions” with the same countries.

I don’t get the criticism. The question seemed to be about a personal meeting with the President — you can see it above. That’s how Clinton, Edwards, and most of the people I talked to seemed to take it. Obama’s staff says he took it differently.

But the flip-flop claim equates “diplomatic discussions” with a face-to-face meeting, which doesn’t make any sense.

TPM (maintaining neutrality) also sides with Hillary:

The story of the day in Democratic politics is the skirmishing that’s going on between the Hillary and Obama campaigns right now over the meaning of Obama’s claim last night that he’d meet with leaders of rogue nations like Iran or North Korea.

Amid the battle, MSM assignment editor Matt Drudge is instructing the big news orgs to report that Hillary has been caught in a massive, glaring flip-flop:

This wouldn’t be a big deal if the big news orgs weren’t already picking up on this meme.

Tim Russert, for instance, grilled Hillary spokesperson Howard Wolfson over this alleged contradiction on MSNBC this morning. (It’s unclear whether Russert got this from Drudge or from the Obama campaign, which is also pushing the contradiction.)

But look, if you actually click through to the stories Drudge is directing people to, there’s just no contradiction here.

Last night, Obama said that during his first year as President he’d be willing to meet, without precondition, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea.

Hillary disagreed with Obama, saying that committing to such meetings could be used for propaganda purposes.

“Certainly, we’re not going to just have our president meet with Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez and you know, the president of North Korea, Iran and Syria, until we know better what the way forward would be,” Hillary said last night.

This is supposed to be at odds with this story from April, in which Hillary said:

“I would begin diplomatic discussions with those countries with whom we have differences, to try to figure out what is the depth of those differences…I think it is a terrible mistake for our president to say he will not talk with bad people.”

But look, again, these aren’t contradictory. Hillary didn’t say last night that her point of disagreement with Obama was over whether to negotiate with leaders of rogue nations at all. Rather, her point was that while she’d favor diplomatic negotiations with such leaders, she wouldn’t commit beforehand to meeting with them in her first year, because such a commitment could be used for “propaganda purposes” by said leaders.

Look, whichever side you take here — and whether you approve or disapprove of the Hillary campaign’s use of this difference as a club to beat Obama with — it’s obvious that this alleged gotcha contradiction between what Hillary’s July and April comments just isn’t there.

Bottom line is that Obama agreed to meet in the first 12 months, without precondition, with leaders of countries that wish us ill. He abandoned all preparation and certainly the upper hand to our opponents if they sought a meeting. Dictators could say ‘you said you would meet with us without precondition’.

Hillary has experience and understands the traps that could be laid in these types of meetings. An American president’s visit or meeting could be valuable propaganda to a dictator.

Hillary knows what she is doing. Obama is running with slander from his blunder.

[By the way, as Kegs points out Hillary is a few thousand people away from her One Million Supporters goal. Let’s get this done for Hillary.]

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34 thoughts on “Barack Obama’s Blunder

  1. Obama is scary. He reminds me a democratic party version of George W. Bush. He is lacking of intellectual curiosity, arrogant and everything is about empty slogans and rhetoric.

    I don’t want to swap one George W. Bush with another. I really feel he’s not qualified for even a senator. He is unelectable in general election. Democratic primary voters will be committing political suicide if they nominate this guy.

  2. I agree with you Kostner. I have only gradually come to this conclusion, even though I have been a Hill supporter all the way. I thought there was more to this guy but there isn’t. I haven’t a clue what he would do in the WH and I don’t think he does either. All this “movement”, turn the page stuff that obviously means nothing. He doesn’t have any experience that would suite the office that I can see. To be running this time, also shows he has a tremendous ego, especially after he swore that he wouldn’t when he was elected Senator. This guy’s an empty suit. i feel like he looks like an annoying gnat up there on the panel next to Hillary, who is clearly in another league. She probably can’t believe she had to go up against this guy. It shouldn’t even be a close race.

  3. As long as Bush is in the White House, foreign policy,
    the Iraq war, and the “war on terrorism” will be the
    basis of the ’08 election. Obama and his staff and to
    a lesser degree Edwards don’t see it. Biden, Dodd
    and Richardson all realize this. That is why they are
    debating the means of ending the war. All other issues
    from the debate will be marginalized by eection day.
    Hillary’s answers in this area are understood favorably
    by the public. Obama just doesn’t understand the
    electorate.

  4. There’s a diary on the recommended list at daily kos that tries to justify this very blunder of the Not Ready for Prime Time Barack Obama. It attacks Hillary for coming out swinging. I guess Hillary hurt their feelings. Shucks. I wonder if the Rethugs would hurt their feelings, too?

  5. I’m getting sick of Drudge becoming an Obama parrot; remember when he flogged the Obama camp’s dumb criticism of Bill Clinton doing a paid speech on the Sept. 11 anniversary? BTW, Taegan Goddard is usually smarter than that. Also, it looks like the “flip-flop” meme has made it into the MSM, because Tim Russert asked Hillary aide Howard Wolfsen about it this morning.

  6. the only thing obama has on hillary is”i was against this war from the start”. that’s his whole reason he wants to be president. im sick of that line he uses.

  7. Paula: you are right. This is not the first DrudgeReport/Obama link.

    Politico has this: “UPDATE: Goddard seems to have withdrawn his original post.”

    Also Obama is advertising again in South Carolina calling himself “a Christian man”, according to Politico.

  8. Edwards is on Hillary’s side on this issue, pretty interesting…
    NYT reports…

    Rival John Edwards, who campaigned in South Carolina on Tuesday, echoed Clinton’s comments in the debate.

    ”I would not commit myself on the front end openly to meet with (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad, (North Korean leader) Kim Jong Il, (Venezuelan President) Hugo Chavez,” Edwards told reporters in McClellanville, S.C. ”I think there’s a real potential that would be used as a propaganda tool.

  9. Are people really that dumb to understand what Hillary said in April and in July? Seriously!

    She never said that her administration will not engage with these dictators? What she said was that she will not personally meet them “First year with no preconditions” as she will be used by those dictators for propoganda purpose! And what she said in the same breath is that she will engage top level presidential envoy to test waters and feel the way ahead before she personally engages herself!!!

    Obama if you are that dumb to understand this – God save America that you want to be our President!

    Obama is stupid to attack Hillary on this supposed “Flip-flop” Can’t stand him anymore!!!

  10. Obama continues today not to understand
    what his words meant in the debate.

    I may be oldest in this group of bloggers.

    I remember when JFK met with Soviet Premiere
    Nikta Kruschev in 1961 without adequetly
    preparing for the meeting. Krushchev perceived
    weakness which led up to the Soviet Missle
    crisis.

    I’m tired of MSM comparing Obama to Kennedy.
    We don’t need on the job training for Prez.
    We already have that with Bush….

  11. I recommend the AP story on the yahoo front page, too. It’s pretty good, and brings up the Florida-Cuban problem for Obama.

  12. Good for Hillary for slapping back. I saw that Drudge Report article myself.

    My theory on why the media seems to be pushing Obama is that it makes a better, more sensationalized, and more interesting news story. If they just kept reporting over and over how GREAT Hillary is doing, it wouldn’t be news. They have to add some drama.

    Luckily, Lindsay Lohan should occupy the shrews and Drudges for awhile.

  13. sandy1938: that is absolutely the case. I have started to challenge it wherever I see it. At The Washington Post today, I saw a reporter pushing that line, and in the blog responses I asked, “What race?” and then posted their own poll numbers. Obama knows he is in trouble; I saw it on his face last night. Cosmically arrogant and stupid to make this run at this time. I hope he learns a lesson so he doesn’t make this mistake again.

  14. Trust Obama to make a fool of himself yesterday! I still get all worked up at how he silly he is to run for President now. If that doesn’t showcase his poor judgement – I don’t believe anything else can!!

    Anyone who supports Obama should ask themselves this question. Why now? And what can he offer that is better/different than Hillary?

    As kostner points out he is the George Bush of democrats and it will be a political suicide if he is nominated because trust me he cannot and will not win the general election!!!

  15. I find him rather desperate and out of his depth! He should do himself a favour and just quit!!

  16. All the media is begging Obama to challenge Hillary, day after day. I guess that is a good thing for us Clintonites, because when anyone slaps Hillary, she always slaps back, and ends up owning the headline.

    Another interesting example of how MSNBC has a pro-Obama, anti-Hillary bias is here (under the guise of a Chris Todd “fact” check) :

    “Clinton was wrong to say that the Pentagon is not planning for the withdrawal. They plan for EVERYTHING. If they had to get out today, they would have a plan ready to use right now. And it would probably have some weird name like “Operation Eagle Flies.”

    Notice Todd’s use of the conditional tense (showing that he has no knowledge whatsoever that the Pentagon does indeed have a plan). Todd says “They would have a plan” and “It would probably….”

    I asked Todd why, if the Pentagon has a plan, wont they share it with Hillary or the Armed Services committee. I also asked Todd, if this is a “FACT CHECK”, and he is claiming that it is a FACT that the Pentagon has a plan, what is it? And how does he know?

    The final question I asked Mr. Todd was “When is he going to start at least concealing his pro-Obama bias?” lol.

    I have posted the link to this erroneous fact check below. Hillaryis44 provides a valueable service to us Hillary supporters in the blogosphere. It has emboldened me to stand up to the online “HILLARY HATERS”, as I am sure it has done for numerous others.

  17. The interesting thing that I want to see is how this brings out the character of the candidates. If Hillary and Obama are starting to go at each other we may finally see how Obama reacts under pressure and that could be very revealing (we know Hillary can handle whatever comes at her as she has dealt with so many challenges before). I haven’t followed Illinois politics but did Obama actually have a challenging time dealing with his opponents when he ran for the senate? Even if he did he’s in a different league now…

    On another note: wouldn’t it have made more sense for Obama not to keep up the attention on his debate comments? By continuing to go back and forth with Hillary he assures that the negative discussion on his response continues.

  18. mydd has a frontpage story ‘Conservatives Heart Hillary? ‘, don’t cringe ! Surprise, surpise, it’s actually a positive article …

    The conclusion of this article:

    This on the same day that she’s up 3 points in the dailyKos straw poll. Is Clinton proving that she CAN run a primary and general election campaign all at once? It’s starting to look like it.

  19. kostner, I agree with the MYDD premise: I think she can run both campaigns simultaneously.

    sandy1938, I also see how the media constantly eggs Obama on. But as soon as he abandons his “new politics” line and starts attacking Hillary, he loses his whole premise for running.

  20. Bama doesn’t know what to do with Hillary. If he goes into a full frontal attack, he will lose. If he ignores HER attacks, he will be seen as weak unable to activate critical thinking skills to best his opponent. If he continues the thrust and parry, he will be stirring up a hornets nest of criticism that will rain down on him like white on rice.

    So, what is a politician to do that is in a race he can’t win? What did I hear? Throw him an anvil?
    Tsk, tsk, tsk…uh, uh… wait….my end is a little heavy…

  21. Obama campaign’s comments about Nixon and China are laughable. There was enormous groundwork done before the Nixon trip, as if Tricky Dick was dumb enough to sit down with Mao Tse Tung with no preconditions. Does Obama read the fine print in a contract before he signs it? (By the way, among the Nixon advance team was George H.W. Bush, father of the nitwit in the White House today).

    Have you seen this video? Clinton had inside info that Cheney is trying to ‘pre-sabotage’ Iraq redeployment after 2008 by blocking contingency planning now. Wow!
    http://desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070720/VIDEO05/70720057/1001/NEWS

  22. Mrs. Smith –

    “So, what is a politician to do that is in a race he can’t win? What did I hear?”

    Dump himself in the sink!!

  23. Canaan –

    I had to sit thru an Obama Iowa ad to watch the Hillary video, and there’s an Obama banner ad across the top!

  24. “wouldn’t it have made more sense for Obama not to keep up the attention on his debate comments?”

    AmericanGal, he should hire you as a consultant, because the nonsense they came back with is worse than the blunder in the first place.

    There’s a ton of declassified info on the advance work for Nixon’s China trip at http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB70/

  25. Yes, Paula, I noticed the media wants action. The action didn’t come from Obama as they wanted…It came from Hillary.. which has set them back on their heels. Obama’s defense is weak and lame, as is his campaign…The old canard, “she voted for the War” (I didn’t- the purist angle) was the best his team could come up with accompanied by the daily eye sticks of Bill’s infidelity.

    I don’t see Obama as inspiring, I see him as a rakish, self important boor.

    secretpolitics…

    ….”dump himself into the sink? ”

    But whats to do then an hour later?

  26. I agree Hillary can and is running both a primary and GE campaign. She is so skillful, I am continually impressed. The boys haven’t even finished their self-important policy papers, as she’s already coming up with how to implement her plans. They aren’t even getting that she’s already miles beyond them, as they are still arguing about her Iraq vote – she’s talking to the military commanders and demanding a plan to get out. God these guys are a day late and a dollar short. I can’t imagine either of them in office. God help us. Especially Mr. Obama, the ego in a suit. He’d have to figure out where Iraq is on a map.

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