It took him an extra day, but the boss finally has the answer she was looking for.

“As I said before I think it was a bad idea for president Carter to meet with Hamas without having recognized Israel or denounced terrorism or acknowledged previous agreements given that they are not heads of state,” he told a Pittsburgh press conference.

“To sit down with them, I think it gave them a legitimacy that was unnecessary.”

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas “has indicated his willingness to make every effort to sit down with” Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert,” Obama said.

“I think that’s where our energy should go. If we strengthen Abbas, if we are clear in improving the day to day lives of Palestinians then I think that will do more than anything to encourage Hamas to renounce violence rather than simply sitting down with them.”

Time for another round of distinctions without a difference. How does the Iranian mullahcracy differ from Hamas on any of these points except insofar as they possess the dubious “legitimacy” that comes with rigging elections to secure their own power by disqualifying candidates of whom the regime disapproves? If meeting with Abbas to improve Palestinian lives is the way to defang Hamas, why isn’t going over Khamenei’s head and meeting with Iranian reformists the way to improve the lives of Iranians and defuse the threat from Tehran? Simply as a matter of scale, why reward a terrorist outfit with international reach, including proxy armies in Lebanon and Iraq, by meeting with them while freezing out a relatively parochial outfit like Hamas? And if the answer to that question is that it’s precisely because of Iran’s reach that we can’t ignore them, then (a) that creates an interesting incentive for Hamas and (b) given Al Qaeda’s reach, we should probably be sitting down with Osama then sometime soon, no? Someone needs to push this guy on this subject because his talismanic invocation of statehood makes no sense, particularly when the left’s own gold standard for diplomatic legitimacy draws no similar line in deciding whom it’ll talk to.

Update: We’ve already had two separate posts on Hillary’s Iran saber-rattling so let’s just tack this on here, as a palate cleanser to Obama’s squishiness. Quote: “I want the Iranians to know that if I’m the president [and they attack Israel], we will attack Iran.”