Obama Changes His ‘Unconditional’ Position - Update: Video Added
In yet another New York Times advocacy piece for Barack Obama, we discover that the Obama campaign is trying to rewrite history again.
Susan E. Rice, a former State Department and National Security Council official who is a foreign policy adviser to the Democratic candidate, said that “for political purposes, Senator Obama’s opponents on the right have distorted and reframed” his views. Mr. McCain and his surrogates have repeatedly stated that Mr. Obama would be willing to meet “unconditionally” with Mr. Ahmadinejad. But Dr. Rice said that this was not the case for Iran or any other so-called “rogue” state. Mr. Obama believes “that engagement at the presidential level, at the appropriate time and with the appropriate preparation, can be used to leverage the change we need,” Dr. Rice said. “But nobody said he would initiate contacts at the presidential level; that requires due preparation and advance work.”
The problem is, Barack Obama did say he’d meet with Iran unconditionally, in front of a lot of people, at the CNN/YouTube Democratic debate last July.
He was specifically and directly asked if he would meet with the leader of Iran (and the leaders of several other “so-called rogue states”) without preconditions, in the first year of his presidency, and his answer was, “I would.”
QUESTION: In 1982, Anwar Sadat traveled to Israel, a trip that resulted in a peace agreement that has lasted ever since.
In the spirit of that type of bold leadership, would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?
OBAMA: I would. And the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them — which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration — is ridiculous.
There’s some “reframing” going on here, all right.
UPDATE at 5/10/08 1:44:39 pm:
Here’s the video:Youtube Video
UPDATE at 5/10/08 3:34:47 pm:
Obama’s own web site refutes his new spin: Barack Obama | Change We Can Believe In | Foreign Policy.
Diplomacy: Obama is the only major candidate who supports tough, direct presidential diplomacy with Iran without preconditions. Now is the time to pressure Iran directly to change their troubling behavior. Obama would offer the Iranian regime a choice. If Iran abandons its nuclear program and support for terrorism, we will offer incentives like membership in the World Trade Organization, economic investments, and a move toward normal diplomatic relations. If Iran continues its troubling behavior, we will step up our economic pressure and political isolation. Seeking this kind of comprehensive settlement with Iran is our best way to make progress.