Weak: Obama ducks question on whether he’ll meet with Ahmadinejad

posted at 3:54 pm on May 21, 2008 by Allahpundit

I missed this debate yesterday when it was raging so here’s a bit of eleventh-hour video to put a bow on it. It started with Obama apologist Joe Klein at Time wondering why the GOP always accuses Obama of wanting to meet with Ahmadinejad and not Khamenei, the real power in Iran. Klein’s predictable answer: Ahmadinejad’s a notorious Jew-hater while Khamenei is less conspicuously so, so he’s more useful in painting Obama as an anti-semite by association. The actual answer: Ahmadinejad’s the one who goes to the UN every year, he’s the one who did the honors at the British sailors’ televised humiliation, he’s the one who presides whenever a new nuclear facility opens. He’s the international face of the regime so he’s more recognizable to Americans. If that face is uglier than Khamenei’s, too bad for Barry; that’s the one his “partners in peace” chose.

Even so, the left seized on Klein’s distinction as a handy escape hatch for Obama and his ever evolving nuance (ABC’s word, not mine) on whether he’ll meet personally with Iran without preconditions, like he promised at last year’s debate. He can’t reverse course now without being branded a flip-flopper but he’s obviously nervous about sticking to that position lest he be branded weak (a double Kerryesque whammy). Hence his new position: He’ll meet with Iran without preconditions but not without preparations, whatever that means, and he’ll meet with the “leadership” but not necessarily mean ol’ Ahmadinejad, the dour yet powerless Hitler figure to Khamenei’s supposed moderate, Jimmy Carter-esque supreme leader. The idea that Ahmadinejad is nothing but a mouthpiece is a fiction, of course; the most dramatic evidence of that was his replacement last year of Ali Larijani, a Khamenei favorite, with Saeed Jalili as Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator. That’s not to suggest he went over Khamenei’s head in doing so, merely that he has enough influence and enough of Khamenei’s trust that he’d have leeway to appoint his own favorites even to so sensitive a position as nuke liaison to the west. It’s a useful fiction from Obama’s perspective, though, just like the all-important “head of state” distinction between Iran and Hamas. So here he is yesterday on CNN, pitifully ducking Blitzer’s point-blank question on whether he’ll meet with A’jad and coming tantalizingly close, in vintage Obama form, of dismissing it as a distraction.

Exit question one: We can’t even get a meeting with Sistani in Iraq. What makes Obama think the supreme Shiite leader is going to deign to meet personally with him as president? Exit question two: What’s really the most pitiful aspect of all this? Obama’s squirming, the fact that McCain stupidly refuses to press him on what he’s prepared to concede if he does negotiate, or the fact that no matter what Obama says he probably still won’t be making as many concessions as Bush was prepared to make?


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

“I think this obsession with Ahmadinejad what I say is an example of us losing track of what’s important. Whatever I say is to be swallowed whole with no thought. Nothing that I say is to be turned into a distraction questioned.”

Akzed on May 21, 2008 at 3:58 PM

Yeah, in fact, it’s a distraction(TM).

Django on May 21, 2008 at 3:59 PM

What is important Obamarama? What are you really selling to the sheep? Oh wait, thats right – Hope and Change.

BobK on May 21, 2008 at 4:01 PM

Every time Obama is held accountable it is a distraction. It also probably isn’t good for his kids either. Why are people supporting this incompetent nimrod?

katieanne on May 21, 2008 at 4:01 PM

He’s so full of BS.

CP on May 21, 2008 at 4:02 PM

He oozes with Hope!

Hoodlumman on May 21, 2008 at 4:03 PM

change hope change hope change hope change hope change hope

Onager on May 21, 2008 at 4:04 PM

Hey, why worry Ahmadinejad getting atomic weapons? He threatens to wipe Israel off the map and he’s obsessed with the 12th Imam and the End Times. No problem here, we’ll just talk with him and get this all straightened out…

forest on May 21, 2008 at 4:04 PM

Rope a Dope. Hope. Change.

Or as we call it. The Big Hoax.

faraway on May 21, 2008 at 4:05 PM

If his Highness will just give us a list of the issues, we will start talking about them.

faraway on May 21, 2008 at 4:06 PM

I… uh… er…uh…. Change! the subject…

Swinehound on May 21, 2008 at 4:06 PM

I think it time that cranky old bastard start pushing Obama on what exactly his foreign policy positions would be. This apparent gaffe is just the tip of the iceburg. What does Obama intend to do about North Korea, the US role in NATO, the US role in the UN, power projection of US troops as a diplomatic tool, what about our commitments to Israel and Taiwan…….

These are all serious questions and the sooner cranky old bastard starts pushing Obama on them the better. At the same time, I want to hear cranky old bastard’s answers to the same question because it seems to me that he is equally full of “nuance” in some of these same areas.

highhopes on May 21, 2008 at 4:07 PM

If this were a Republican, the media would be all over it like stink on… well…er….uh… ducks on a junebug…

CynicalOptimist on May 21, 2008 at 4:08 PM

Andy McCarthy is spot on. This is Bush’s weakness, too, and since Bush is still President, it really demonstrates the feckless foreign policy we have.

Bush can make all the wonderful speeches as he did in Jerusalem and Sharm el Sheik (sp?) but he still has to back up his words with deeds and in the past year or so has been, unfortunately, not doing as well as he should be. His performance in begging for oil and then told, in so many words, “you want some? Buy it.”

Obama has lots of problems, sure, but so do the Republicans.

Grantman on May 21, 2008 at 4:10 PM

Barry,

Ok, fine, let’s say it is Khamenei. You would speak to him without preconditions but with preparation.

Now, please tell us your response if you call for a meeting and Khamenei says he will sit down with you but only if you meet certain Iranian preconditions. What would you do to jump start the talks, or would you? Do you tell him to stuff it, or do you accept their preconditions?

Please forward your response directly to the MSM.

Limerick on May 21, 2008 at 4:10 PM

“Wolf, sweetie, let me answer your question by digressing for a few minutes into a useless discussion about how we don’t know who will be in charge a year from now.”

pedestrian on May 21, 2008 at 4:10 PM

And they call this guy smart?

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on May 21, 2008 at 4:11 PM

“I think this obsession with Ahmadinejad is an example of us losing track of what’s important.”

Pay no attention to the man Muslim behind the curtain pulpit

From Audacity of Hope:

I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.”

Red Pill on May 21, 2008 at 4:13 PM

It started with Obama apologist Joe Klein at Time wondering why the GOP always accuses Obama of wanting to meet with Ahmadinejad and not Khamenei

The YouTube debate question specifically mentioned A’jad ( I like that shorthand, btw). That’s why. Obama said say to a meeting with A’jad. End of discussion.

VolMagic on May 21, 2008 at 4:13 PM

Guess his ears got in the way of his answer.

O-dang, I can’t talk about his ears

Texyank on May 21, 2008 at 4:13 PM

He is a ROOKIE!

ordi on May 21, 2008 at 4:13 PM

None of this stuff about Iran does anything to help Michelle’s kids.

Cicero43 on May 21, 2008 at 4:13 PM

I don’t see how this helps Michelle Obama’s children.

amerpundit on May 21, 2008 at 4:13 PM

Everything is a distraction with this guy. Everything is racism. Everything is just another example of no hope no change.

Would you buy a car from this man?

Not me. Nosiree.

Terrye on May 21, 2008 at 4:14 PM

say=yes. Weird, huh?

VolMagic on May 21, 2008 at 4:14 PM

Sorry to be repetitive, since many on this thread have already expressed it so well, but I’m tired of this guy getting one big free pass. Anything pointed out to or asked of him is a “distraction”. So now questioning him on how he’d deal with Iran is a distraction. So we should just ignore them, then?
The only thing more lame than this clown is the republican party, which can’t seem to find enough guts to go after him.

tomk59 on May 21, 2008 at 4:14 PM

The politics of “Change” are starting to look more and more like the politics of ignorance.

Rick on May 21, 2008 at 4:15 PM

Barry is way overconfident in his negotiating skills. Too much rock star status. I keep remembering how the Russian leaders evaluated JFK after the first meeting,..a fresh faced kid who could be pushed around. So, we end up with the Cuban missle crisis. Iran et al can’t help but be chuckling and dry washing their hands at the prospect of Barry across the table. They’ll make their moves accordingly, and some serious sh!t can come down on the West.

a capella on May 21, 2008 at 4:15 PM

Preparations: setting up Teleprompter.

Let’s not lose sight of the issue, which is to make certain this clueless clown doesn’t get into the White House.

MrScribbler on May 21, 2008 at 4:16 PM

… the fact that McCain stupidly refuses to press him on what he’s prepared to concede if he does negotiate

McCain hammered him yesterday by asking (paraphrase), “What are they going to talk about, the genocide of Israel?”

I think McCain is playing it beautifully. Like that old Churchill line (Winston, not Ward): never kill an enemy who is in the process of comitting suicide.

John the Libertarian on May 21, 2008 at 4:16 PM

Cicero43 on May 21, 2008 at 4:13 PM

Heh, you got there first.

amerpundit on May 21, 2008 at 4:16 PM

The only thing more lame than this clown is the republican party, which can’t seem to find enough guts to go after him.

tomk59 on May 21, 2008 at 4:14 PM

It would be R A C I S T to do so.

Rick on May 21, 2008 at 4:16 PM

Any points McCains scores now will be long forgotten by November. Best to save the best for October debates, and stay positive for now.

pedestrian on May 21, 2008 at 4:18 PM

Obama’s up to his floppy ears in nuance.

Cicero43 on May 21, 2008 at 4:18 PM

Preparation H: Call Hillary

faraway on May 21, 2008 at 4:19 PM

Hope, also known as Precondition H

Nosferightu on May 21, 2008 at 4:19 PM

If this guy gets elected, you might as well hand eastern europe back to the commies and start calling them the USSR again.

wildweasel on May 21, 2008 at 4:20 PM

The politics of “Change” are starting to look more and more like the politics of ignorance.

Rick on May 21, 2008 at 4:15 PM

Yeah, I don’t want a president with the idea that ignorance is bliss.

CP on May 21, 2008 at 4:20 PM

On second thought, WE might become the USSR west.

wildweasel on May 21, 2008 at 4:20 PM

Can’t you monsters let the man finish his waffle?

Chuck Schick on May 21, 2008 at 4:21 PM

McCain stupidly refuses to press him on what he’s prepared to concede if he does negotiate

Pardon me? I remember a post you did where you mocked McCain for saying “I wonder what Obama plans to discuss with Achmadinejad” (or Iran or whatever).

Here it is:
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/05/15/mccain-to-obama-what-is-it-precisely-that-you-want-to-talk-to-iran-about/

funky chicken on May 21, 2008 at 4:26 PM

McCain hammered him yesterday by asking (paraphrase), “What are they going to talk about, the genocide of Israel?”

That smoking hole where Tel Aviv used to be? Just a useless distraction from Change.

funky chicken on May 21, 2008 at 4:28 PM

I think this obsession with [insert boneheaded decision] is an example of us losing track of what’s important.

I’m so tired of that stupid, stupid line. The only thing that’s important to Ellsworth is his getting elected.

Shove it, twinkle-toes. Oh, and if you don’t want your wife getting grilled, get her off the stump. Schmuck.

spmat on May 21, 2008 at 4:33 PM

“Dont be asking questions I dont have the answer for or I will get mad and not wear jeans again”

TroubledMonkey on May 21, 2008 at 4:33 PM

Challenging Obama on the issue of how the US should deal with Iran is meant to distract from the real issues facing us, such as the issue of how the US should deal with Iran…

CliffHanger on May 21, 2008 at 4:34 PM

Who exactly IS the most powerful man in Iran?

Glynn on May 21, 2008 at 4:34 PM

This converstation is not helping Ahmadinejad’s children.

EJDolbow on May 21, 2008 at 4:36 PM

What “preparations”? Reading DinnerJacket’s Wikipedia entry? Coming up with a few canned bon mot responses?

If Barry were to go to Iran, his trip would be filled with little humiliations they know he doesn’t have the stones to object to – Mahmood would be very late for a big meeting; members of Barry’s entourage will be temporarily “detained” due to “misunderstandings”; photo ops would be awkwardly constructed – the possibilities are endless. And Barry would give much and get only symbolism.

eeyore on May 21, 2008 at 4:37 PM

When the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor, were we afraid to negotiate???

CK MacLeod on May 21, 2008 at 4:39 PM

What a spineless, no-account dirtball. For the love of God, at least McCain has the minerals to piss people off once in awhile by standing for something!

I now officially feel bad for Obama’s kids if he wins the White House, because they’ll be taught that being spineless, clueless, and ignorant, licking your finger and putting it to the wind as you get out of bed each morning is the path to success.

Spc Steve on May 21, 2008 at 4:41 PM

hmmm, if all this talk about Iran is not focusing on the real issues, maybe we should begin the BOMBING!

Actually, this is just the media playing “snippits”.

This is what they do.

They try to play on your fears.

They try to divide us.

Its the same old tactics, and the same old politics…

AND HE IS GOING TO CHANGE ALL THAT ONCE HE’S PRESIDENT !

Can I get an AMEN!

singlemalt_18 on May 21, 2008 at 4:46 PM

TroubledMonkey on May 21, 2008 at 4:33 PM
EJDolbow on May 21, 2008 at 4:36 PM
CK MacLeod on May 21, 2008 at 4:39 PM

Thanks for the laughs.

Red Pill on May 21, 2008 at 4:48 PM

the possibilities are endless. And Barry would give much and get only symbolism.

eeyore on May 21, 2008 at 4:37 PM

I suppose the final blow would be giving him a brand new ill fitting suit and a gift bag like they gave the British sailors,…then a final photo op. He is completely out of his league. Much as I dislike some of McCain’s policies, if they tried that with him, he would tell them where to put it,..in front of the whole world. But they wouldn’t try it with him.

a capella on May 21, 2008 at 4:49 PM

“I think this obsession with Ahmadinejad is an example of us losing track of what’s important.”

Yes, because the only thing that is important is for Obama to tell Americans that their lives suck right now, and that he will change that. Sorry Barry, but what will suck is when I can’t drive my truck anymore, can’t put my thermostat any lower than 78, and have to move to a cave in the country because nuclear devices will start going off in big metro areas (no thanks to your concern for what other countries think of us and your joke-of-a-foreign policy).

Rick on May 21, 2008 at 4:50 PM

I can’t believe people are actually falling for this dolt.

D2Boston on May 21, 2008 at 4:51 PM

I don’t understand why Barry thinks he needs to negotiate with anybody in Iran. Didn’t he tell us just the other day that Iran is “tiny” and therefore could never be a threat to the U.S?

AZCoyote on May 21, 2008 at 4:51 PM

You know this man if you grew up in a mixed neighborhood in any large metropolitan city anytime in the 50′s, 60′s or 70′s. He’s the guy on corner, always at the corner near a small liquor store (before 7-11′s) “jive talkin”. He could talk the paint off your new ride, on any subject. Hands moving, super fly lookin’, he was as smooth as they come. Pure entertainment after you gave him the cig he mooched. Back then however nobody took him serious.

See how times have changed.

I know I’m being cruel but the reverend Wright was that guy on the corner.

patrick neid on May 21, 2008 at 4:52 PM

Spc Steve on May 21, 2008 at 4:41 PM

When Obama started this brouhaha by jumping on Bush’s Knesset speech, his main objective seemed to be to show that he could be a tough guy. Interesting that over the course of days, he’s wet noodle character has taken over again. Defending his wife and figuratively calling out those who’d attack her was also probably supposed to make him look macho – instead, it reinforced the image that he’s a whiner. The fact that no one took his threats seriously didn’t help. In fact, it’s hard to see him next to Michelle O without thinking she’s the tough one in that marriage. The wife’s oddly uncomfortable laugh at the end of that scene underling how forced and out-of-character it all was.

And just last night, his Iowa speech, originally intended to be a declaration of victory, instead underlined that he had forced to back down on his original plan.

And a big part of this whole problem, ironically enough, was the decision Obama and his campaign made to stand by his original YouTube debate gaffe – his promise to meet the dictators – rather than be seen to back down under pressure and admit his foolishness.

You can’t jump over your own shadow.

Unless McCain makes a massive gaffe or series of gaffes, he’ll get the votes of the overwhelming majority of voters who place priority on having a credible C-in-C. You might question how much it matters, but at a certain point the issue could become disqualifying for Obama. (Of course, a lot of us think it already is.)

CK MacLeod on May 21, 2008 at 4:54 PM

BO speaks in code to the lefties and they know exactly what hope and change means.

The first change is a reduction in defense spending, followed by the hope of world peace.

Yesterday, he mentions thermostats at 72 degrees, the gas guzzlers we drive and how much food we consume. I have no idea what this means, but it ain’t good.

Then, when questioned about what he says, it’s all a distraction. You’re being bamboozled.

Rev Wright taught BO well.

swami on May 21, 2008 at 5:00 PM

Friggin noob

redrock on May 21, 2008 at 5:02 PM

I’ll have direct presidential negotiations with Iran without preconditions . . . except I really won’t; when I said no preconditions, I meant something else . . . I meant, uh, preparations — yes, that’s it, preparations are preconditions . . yeah, that’s what I meant. And when I said Iran was a tiny nation that could never pose a real threat to the U.S., what I meant was that Iran is a “grave threat” to our nation. You people just didn’t hear me right. You misinterpreted my words. I was raised in Indonesia by a single mother on food stamps, for Pete’s sake. It’s a cultural thing. You’re all just racists who’re deliberately twisting my words to try and keep a black man down!

AZCoyote on May 21, 2008 at 5:04 PM

To use a phrase from Inigo Montoya in ‘The Princess Bride’ “You keep using those words hope and change but I do not think they mean what you think they mean…”

Liberty or Death on May 21, 2008 at 5:05 PM

Actually, I think he meant to say “reparations“. As in, he wants reparations for the hostages that were held at the embassy by Ahmadinnerjacket, and his band of terrorist followers.

striper1 on May 21, 2008 at 5:07 PM

“Obama is the only major candidate who supports tough, direct presidential diplomacy with Iran without preconditions.”

Last time I checked, Ahmadinezhad is President of Iran. I understand the office doesn’t have the same portfolio as we see here in the U.S., but Obama’s responsible for the choice of words that appeared (and remain) on his site. He didn’t say “top-level,” he didn’t say “ministerial,” he said “presidential.” Hard to run away from that.

DrSteve on May 21, 2008 at 5:13 PM

If you want to get a better grasp of the nexus for Obama’s foreign policy spirit it can be found by the company he keeps and the roots of his tutelage.

This scathing informative piece written by Stanley Kurtz, yesterday, at the National Review will clarify any missing bits you may have.

http://tinyurl.com/4qocac

If the link doesn’t work just go to National Review and scroll down for his article.

The company he keeps, as I mentioned above, is very disturbing. Word needs to get out on these guys so everyone can make an informed decision. Thankfully one of the ring leaders is white so this won’t look like some KKK witch hunt. By the time Wright and his folks are done with McCain that’s how its going to look.

patrick neid on May 21, 2008 at 5:29 PM

52 seconds

RushBaby on May 21, 2008 at 5:33 PM

Did Wolf Blitzer let him get away with that answer?

mikeyboss on May 21, 2008 at 5:55 PM

Pathetic.

Everything is a distraction, these sound bites are going to make one heck of a commercial later. What pray tell is not a distraction? I have to believe that Mark Salter is coming up with some hardcore ammunition for a debate.

Theworldisnotenough on May 21, 2008 at 6:09 PM

Obama to A’jad: Please don’t enrich uranium, Sweetie, or else I’ll call you tiny. I hope you’ll change your mind and not blow up Jerusalem.

Steve Z on May 21, 2008 at 6:10 PM

Wow! Someone help to steady me, the room is still spinnig for some reason.

Yakko77 on May 21, 2008 at 6:30 PM

And I thought Lost was confusing.

aikidoka on May 21, 2008 at 6:56 PM

BHO is an uneducated child playing in an Adult world. He is about as smart as a 5th grader….no wait I think 3rd grade is where you learn that there are 50 states.

unseen on May 21, 2008 at 7:26 PM

HUH?

Chakra Hammer on May 21, 2008 at 7:30 PM

“I think this obsession with Ahmadinejad is an example of us losing track of what’s important.”

How many more times is he going to get away with this?

“You know, I think this obsession with what I’m going to do as President is an example of us losing track of what’s important.”

misterpeasea on May 21, 2008 at 7:35 PM

misterpeasea on May 21, 2008 at 7:35 PM

If it works why would he not use it. anything BHO says is a distraction the GOP should make a campaign issue. We should not let the dems frame the debate.

unseen on May 21, 2008 at 7:52 PM

Can’t you monsters let the man finish his waffle?

Which reminds me – how stupid do you have to be as a Presidential candidate to ask someone to “let me finish my waffle”?!

Oh wait, it was a news “reporter”. Obama was feeling charitable actually, since he could have just told the reporter to f-off, and we would have never read a word about about it.

drunyan8315 on May 21, 2008 at 7:59 PM

Obsession. Nuance. Preparations. Hope. Change. Believe.

Hike.

profitsbeard on May 21, 2008 at 8:42 PM

Wasn’t the Obama camp the first to bring up “preparations?” If so, he’s simply trying to twist re-frame what’s being discussed.

And is he saying that as POTUS he would meet face to face with the mullahs if they are the ones who are the decision makers?

baldilocks on May 21, 2008 at 8:58 PM

Sorry to be repetitive, since many on this thread have already expressed it so well, but I’m tired of this guy getting one big free pass. Anything pointed out to or asked of him is a “distraction”. So now questioning him on how he’d deal with Iran is a distraction. So we should just ignore them, then?
The only thing more lame than this clown is the republican party, which can’t seem to find enough guts to go after him.

tomk59 on May 21, 2008 at 4:14 PM

Nope, don’t be sorry. This is how it is, exactly the same as when Clinton was president, he could do no wrong, ever. The Messiah is a fabulous name for Barrack Obama, because that’s exactly how the MSM is treating him. It’s bloody appalling. And I hope McCain and the Republican party drops the gloves and pounds him into the ground, but good Christ they’d better start it soon before it’s too late!

4shoes on May 21, 2008 at 9:41 PM

…no matter what Obama says he probably still won’t be making as many concessions as Bush Rice was prepared to make?

AP

First, it’s not a fact. It’s an assertion drenched in frustration and phrased in hyperbole. The truth: there is no question that Obama would give up anything they asked for. He’s a wimp, a pacifist, and a lightweight.

Jaibones on May 21, 2008 at 10:12 PM

If I was in Obama’s shoes, I certainly wouldn’t talk to him. Especially since it’s now been revealed that the little Iran dictator was actually the one who farted in Chavez’ face. And Chavez blamed Bush.

Travis1 on May 21, 2008 at 11:26 PM

Someone needs to photoshop that screen cap photo on the front page.

The Change sign in the background should “The Channel” under it every time it’s used.

91Veteran on May 22, 2008 at 12:32 AM

should “The Channel” = should have “The Channel”

91Veteran on May 22, 2008 at 12:32 AM

By the way, speaking of background, isn’t that an incandescent bulb in the lamp behind him?

How heretical.

91Veteran on May 22, 2008 at 12:33 AM

WTF does “sufficient preparation” mean???

Yeah, why the obsession over Ahmadinejad? It’s not like he’s the guy who represents Iran at the UN and in every other diplomatic capacity around the world or anything….

It was Khameini who met with Chavez, right? Oh wait, no that was Ahmadinejad… Tough cookie, this one.

Seixon on May 22, 2008 at 6:23 AM

I can picture one of those cartoon thought balloons hovering over Obama’s head reading: “I hope they change the subject…”

Logic on May 22, 2008 at 6:54 AM

Would someone please toss him out an airlock already..

Viper1 on May 22, 2008 at 7:44 AM