Did Obama just confirm Taheri? Update: Team McCain responds

posted at 9:02 am on September 16, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Glenn Reynolds takes a close look at Barack Obama’s response to Amir Taheri and doesn’t see any daylight between them.  Yesterday, Taheri accused Obama of attempting to derail a status-of-forces agreement between the US and Iraq by telling the Iraqis to wait until after the American elections and stop negotiating with the Bush administration.  Obama responded by essentially confirming Taheri’s account:

In the New York Post, conservative Iranian-born columnist Amir Taheri quoted Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari as saying the Democrat made the demand when he visited Baghdad in July, while publicly demanding an early withdrawal.

“He asked why we were not prepared to delay an agreement until after the US elections and the formation of a new administration in Washington,” Zebari said in an interview, according to Taheri.

“However, as an Iraqi, I prefer to have a security agreement that regulates the activities of foreign troops, rather than keeping the matter open,” Zebari reportedly said. …

Obama’s national security spokeswoman Wendy Morigi said Taheri’s article bore “as much resemblance to the truth as a McCain campaign commercial.”

In fact, Obama had told the Iraqis that they should not rush through a “Strategic Framework Agreement” governing the future of US forces until after President George W. Bush leaves office, she said.

Which is exactly what Taheri wrote.  Barack Obama went to Iraq and interfered with the diplomatic efforts of the elected United States government, in a war zone no less, by telling the Iraqis to stop negotiating with the President.  How exactly does that make Taheri’s column untruthful?

It wasn’t enough for Obama to fail at forcing the nation into a defeat in Iraq when he opposed the surge.  Now he has interfered with our efforts to stabilize Iraq and provide for its security after the surge succeeded in keeping Iraq from falling into a failed state.  And when he got caught working for failure and defeat, he tried making it into a smear against John McCain.

That’s not leadership America needs from a Senator, let alone a President.  The Senate should investigate this as a gross violation of the Constitution and the separation of powers between the branches of government.

Update: Team McCain’s response so far, given by Randy Scheuneman:

“At this point, it is not yet clear what official American negotiations Senator Obama tried to undermine with Iraqi leaders, but the possibility of such actions is unprecedented. It should be concerning to all that he reportedly urged that the democratically-elected Iraqi government listen to him rather than the US administration in power. If news reports are accurate, this is an egregious act of political interference by a presidential candidate seeking political advantage overseas. Senator Obama needs to reveal what he said to Iraq’s Foreign Minister during their closed door meeting. The charge that he sought to delay the withdrawal of Americans from Iraq raises serious questions about Senator Obama’s judgment and it demands an explanation.” —Randy Scheunemann, Senior Adviser McCain-Palin 2008


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I don’t see where Sen. McCain did anything other than express his opinion on the progress.

Whereas with Sen. Obama, it is alleged, “He asked why we were not prepared to delay an agreement until after the US elections and the formation of a new administration in Washington”.

It appears to be a completely different set of circumstances to me.

cryptojunkie on September 16, 2008 at 2:05 PM

Correct. That is the entire point.

McCain was on a fact finding mission and did not engage in policy negotiations of any sort.

Obama, on the other hand, was pressing his own agenda and calling for alterations to current US policy and acting to supersede current negotiations being conducted by the State Department under Presidential authority.

Obama is Constitutionally wrong and in violation of the Logan Act.

Damiano on September 16, 2008 at 2:08 PM

baldilocks on September 16, 2008 at 1:02 PM

Yes, the article isn’t complete, but as stated at the beginning, a lot of background was removed.

August/September 2006, Obama traveled in Africa. He took this trip on government dime, on a diplomatic Visa to help relations with African countries. In August of 2006, Obama went to Kenya and openly supported Odinga at rallies.

Did he violate the Logan Act while he was there? I say, possibly. Protesting the corrupt government and rallying the people against said government- particularly when that nation is an ally of the US- while you are on a mission to”nurture relations between the Continent and the United States” is certainly walking a fine line. The Kenyan government was unhappy with his interference in their election to be sure.

The rioting and other nasties went down AFTER the controversial election, in late 2007/2008, when Odinga lost and his supporters staged an uprising. On the first of January, Obama called Rice to talk about the situation. Apparently, “They talked about the situation and Rice asked Obama to tape a Voice of America message calling for calm.”

covel on September 16, 2008 at 2:17 PM

And besides baldilocks.. It’s quite probable he had de facto approval to be there …
So it’s a moot point….
Just don’t come off “holier than thou.”

jerrytbg on September 16, 2008 at 2:20 PM

How is it “holier than thou” to point out an obvious violation of law?

spmat on September 16, 2008 at 2:31 PM

August/September 2006, Obama traveled in Africa. He took this trip on government dime, on a diplomatic Visa to help relations with African countries. In August of 2006, Obama went to Kenya and openly supported Odinga at rallies.

The video you linked to does not show Obama supporting Odinga at rallies but Kibaki saying that he did in order to deflect Obama’s criticism of corruption in the country–a legitimate criticism. The government dime issue might be a way to go, however.

The rioting and other nasties went down AFTER the controversial election, in late 2007/2008, when Odinga lost and his supporters staged an uprising. On the first of January, Obama called Rice to talk about the situation. Apparently, “They talked about the situation and Rice asked Obama to tape a Voice of America message calling for calm.”

covel on September 16, 2008 at 2:17 PM

Yes, I know.

And besides baldilocks.. It’s quite probable he had de facto approval to be there …
So it’s a moot point….

Which makes the original point about the link being so full of knowledge also a moot point.

Just don’t come off “holier than thou.”

jerrytbg on September 16, 2008 at 2:20 PM

“Holier” than thou, no. More knowledgeable than thou on the topic, yes. Besides, you were the one who indicated that holding a mic while standing next to a politician indicated campaigning and snarked off at me about it. Practice what you preach.

baldilocks on September 16, 2008 at 2:35 PM

How is it “holier than thou” to point out an obvious violation of law?

spmat on September 16, 2008 at 2:31 PM

He’s referring to a side issue being discussed regarding Kenya.

The Iraq visit is a straight-up violation of the laws indicated.

baldilocks on September 16, 2008 at 2:38 PM

covel on September 16, 2008 at 2:17 PM

There was another link I was looking for that was close to this one in content… my point was that the Admin. gave him a wink to see if he could help…family ties being as they are…but them he took it further and “I believe”, started campaining on behalf of his cousin…which is NOT what the Bush Admin. wanted him to do. So…fine line he walked…may not be a violation of the Logan Act. But the Iraq affair….clearly was a violation.

jerrytbg on September 16, 2008 at 2:39 PM

He’s referring to a side issue being discussed regarding Kenya.

The Iraq visit is a straight-up violation of the laws indicated.

baldilocks on September 16, 2008 at 2:38 PM

Good to see you here, baldi! :-D

spmat on September 16, 2008 at 2:47 PM

baldilocks on September 16, 2008 at 2:38 PM

You must be an attorney…. Lol
We’re arguing the same point but you want irrefutable proof…
Many cases are solved logically without and with only circumstantial evidence.
That photo…convinced many people he was doing more than just trying to calm a crowd.
And again I say, because he was in contact with Rice prior to …he felt he could, I believe, stomp all over the Logan Act.

jerrytbg on September 16, 2008 at 2:51 PM

Since no one, ever has been prosecuted under the Logan Act, it is irrelevant whether what Obama did is in violation thereof.

So rather than talk about an Act that, in and of itself, is politically unenforceable, just stick to what it really is. A sneaky act to backdoor in his own agenda.

I don’t understand how the media isn’t all over this guy for these acts that are totally untrustworthy: His agreement to accept public funding; his failure to take the high road after promising not to; his apparent acquiescence to 521s going after McCain personally; his clearing the deck of opposition to get into the state legislature; his total lack in Congress of anything that looks like change; his association with known criminals and apparent domestic terrorists.

I didn’t realize that the Democratic appellation acted like a baptism of holy water. Doesn’t matter what you do or say, as long as you become president.

Be careful, Dems. We’re going to end up with another Carter if we’re not careful.

Tennman on September 16, 2008 at 2:56 PM

marklmail on September 16, 2008 at 11:32 AM

President Biden to Maliki – “We like you people. You’re clean and you know how to run a damn good 7-11.”

The Indians run the 7-11s, not the Iraqis. Got it? I’m sick of hearing ugly racial stereotypes.

Paul-Cincy on September 16, 2008 at 2:57 PM

baldilocks on September 16, 2008 at 2:38 PM

Between 1:15-1:24, it shows Obama with Odinga at 2 separate rallies. You are right though, I will try to find some with voice because just because he is standing next to him and takes a microphone at two different venues doesn’t mean he is campaigning for him or supporting him.

It was not the period of time after he got the go-ahead from Rice but the time before that which is the murky area in this scenario. If, indeed, it can be shown that Obama supported Odinga, rallying the people against the government which is a US ally, could (as I said) possibly be a violation.

Back to Iraq:

Zebari visited the US before Obama went to Iraq. What he apparently said to Zebari then is not much different from what Taheri reported.

July 3rd

He said that Mr. Obama had asked him: “ ‘Why is the Iraqi government in a rush, in a hurry? This administration has only a few more months in office.’ ”

covel on September 16, 2008 at 2:59 PM

Obama said the president was belatedly coming round to his own way of thinking, but also accused Bush of “tinkering around the edges” and “kicking the can down the road to the next president.”

Are you kidding me? His surrogates say that The Bush Administration shouldn’t have the right to negotiate up until they leave office because it might ‘hamstring’ him when he gets elected? Then he says the Bush Administration is “kicking the can down the road”? These people talk out of both sides of their mouths. The gall is unbelievable! And they’ll get away with it because everyone is too scared to address it for what it is least they be called racists.

Sultry Beauty on September 16, 2008 at 3:22 PM

He said that Mr. Obama had asked him: “ ‘Why is the Iraqi government in a rush, in a hurry? This administration has only a few more months in office.’ ”

covel on September 16, 2008 at 2:59 PM

Nice find, covel.

Since no one, ever has been prosecuted under the Logan Act, it is irrelevant whether what Obama did is in violation thereof.

Tennman on September 16, 2008 at 2:56 PM

While I agree that there is a massive laundry list of allegations against Obama, ranging from corruption to treason, and that all should be looked into; this is unique as it’s a two fold problem:

1. US law is US law. Period. It is enforceable and other senators have previously been indicted, though not convicted. He broke the law and ignored Constitutional authority of his office and the office of the President. String him up.

2. If Obama is willing to ignore Constitutional authority and US law now, how would he fulfill the oath of office? He has also been one of the most vocal people (second only to Kucinich) in his allegations that the President has exceeded his Constitutional authority AND is constantly playing the moral authority card on nearly every issue imaginable. This is de facto evidence of his personal disregard for the oath of office, the Constitution, US law and dismisses any claim he may have to any moral authority whatsoever.

Damiano on September 16, 2008 at 3:30 PM

Sultry Beauty on September 16, 2008 at 3:22 PM

Good point, Ma’am: Obama has delusional tendencies, as this is not the first time he has implied that HE is already president or referred to himself as the president in several contexts.

Here, a combination of delusion and arrogance ( not ‘uppity-ness’ ) led to Obama violating the law and trying to advance his own political interests

Big surprise…….

Janos Hunyadi on September 16, 2008 at 3:33 PM

So, how is this not treason?

Rollie on September 16, 2008 at 4:02 PM

The Senate should investigate this as a gross violation of the Constitution and the separation of powers between the branches of government.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen. The Dems aren’t going to be investigating any of their own…ever, especially not their Chosen One during the campaign where he’s supposed to “save the Nation”.

SuperCool on September 16, 2008 at 4:17 PM

Janos Hunyadi on September 16, 2008 at 3:33 PM

When he left the meeting w/Maliki he said, “We had constructive talks.” So he either saw himself as negotiating on behalf of the US, or someone told him to say that because it sounded like something he heard a state department rep say on TV once.

Akzed on September 16, 2008 at 4:28 PM

Obama complains about the lack of “Political movement and Political Progress in Iraq” But he’s the one that Was telling them NOT to hurry up!

Obama was the one telling them to drag their heels!

WTF!!!

Why isn’t this on the News?

Chakra Hammer on September 16, 2008 at 4:46 PM

Obama to the Iraqi’s Government behind closed doors, “Don’t do anything With your political situation, just mess around and drag your heels until after the election.. even wait on pulling troops out until after the election”

——-

Obama to the American People, “Iraq’s political Situation is a mess, they have not met ANY of the benchmarks with regard to the politics, the war is lost.. there has not been enough reconciliation.. the troops have not come home, I will get the troops home!”(although troops have been coming home, and the press doesn’t want to report it)

Chakra Hammer on September 16, 2008 at 4:50 PM

Joe Biden Chimes in, “We will divide up your country into 3 separate countries based on Religious Denominations.. ”

LMAO..

Chakra Hammer on September 16, 2008 at 4:55 PM

Obama is Constitutionally wrong and in violation of the Logan Act.

Politics during an election cycle would, of course, preclude this.

But, gosh darn, can’t we at least have that “conversation”?

seanrobins on September 16, 2008 at 5:01 PM

So, how is this not treason?

Rollie on September 16, 2008 at 4:02 PM

How is this, at minimum, not corruption? Why, oh why is’t this front page? Good freakin grief!!!!! How bias can the msm get?????????

oakpack on September 16, 2008 at 5:23 PM

In defense of Obama that’s how they roll back in Chicago:)Amateurs. The Democrats could have pushed Hillary Clinton out front of Barack Obama why didn’t they? The Clintons have political capital, and they don’t make as good a puppet. The Democrats really are dissolving their base.

Dr Evil on September 16, 2008 at 6:02 PM

How DARE McCain suggest that Obama would ever put his electoral prospects before the good of the country!

Seriously though I’m getting rrrrreeeeeaaallllllyyyyy burnt out on politics lately. Stories like this make me so damn mad, chopping up McCain’s quotes and constantly crying racism piss me off too.

This has to get play in the media right? Is the msm really so far gone that they would ignore something like this? That question is only semi-rhetorical, sadly.

hump1201 on September 16, 2008 at 6:04 PM

hump1201 on September 16, 2008 at 6:04 PM

How was what did Good for our Country OR the Iraqi’s for that matter?

Telling them to do nothing?

Sheesh, Obama basically told them to Ignore President Bush, and act like the “Do Nothing Democrat Controlled Congress” Until the US Election is over! WTF!

Chakra Hammer on September 16, 2008 at 7:38 PM

Sucks to be Barry.

You can bet your A$$ nothing will become of this, the MSM will not allow it to happen.

Any one want ta bet?

Old Hippie Vet on September 16, 2008 at 7:40 PM

Obama showed himself to be unfit to be Commander in Chief.

Phil Byler on September 16, 2008 at 8:30 PM

I hope that someone at McCain’s headquarters is making this into an ad. It will contrast nicely with McCain’s “Country First” message.

RINO in Name Only on September 16, 2008 at 8:46 PM

What did he know and when did he know it?

I hope there’s an electronic record of this.

Mojave Mark on September 16, 2008 at 9:06 PM

The war and the lives of us in the military, to include 14 people I have worked with and some I called friends who are gone, is a game to left. They win by ensuring we lose. If this story about Obama is true it needs to be on the front page of every paper in the nation.

I was trading posts with some folks the other night and the discussion got a bit animated about the war. Liberals seem to get pretty sensitive when you try to get an answer from them about how they can be so anti-war, anti-Bush and anti-American and still be “In Support of the Troops?” Well the answer is that they can’t. And B Hussein Obama going to Iraq and trying to undercut this administrations troop withdrawal negotiations is just another outrageous example. Outrageous yes, but surprising? No!

I have very dear friends who are Democrats and they’re very fine people. I come from a fairly liberal family who absolutely idolized John F. Kennedy. But I have long since parted ways with the politics of my parents and couldn’t be a bigger critic of the lefts unpatriotic behavior. I’m passionate and I don’t pull any punches in describing what I see as the overt and in your face actions of liberals that has bolstered the resolve of our enemies. My friends and family ask me constantly what it is that I think extreme liberals have done to earn the right to be called treacherous and seditious. I’ve cut and pasted a good part of what I wrote on a blog the other night. Obamas actions in Iraq only make me feel stronger about what I said.

“I’ve seen things deployed that makes me think that the Democratic Party and the MSM had it in for the war and thereby had it in for the military. I was in Iraq when the dems started their debates for the 04 election and no one can tell me the insurgency didn’t pick up after that. They get the news. They see our TV. We have captured intell that showed they followed our politics throughout the war. When Dennis Kucinich stood on that stage during the 1st dem primary debate and said Pres. Bush cooked the war up in Texas and that it was illegal, me and my buddies just looked at each other in the DFAC in Balad Iraq and said OMG, does he want us to lose this thing? Then it was a none-stop, who can outdo each other in deriding anything we did there. Abu Grahib and everything else was plastered on the front pages and any time we tried to push our gains or successes in battle to the press, it fell on deaf ears. The left told them to kill us. They told them in those debates and in the press that half of America didn’t think we even had the right to be there and that a smaller percentage of them thought we were criminals. I could go on for a whole blog.

But I’ll share one story with you that is the watershed moment for me. I was flying combat camera crews over Kirkuk and Erbel while Iraqis voted on the national referendum for their constitution. They said in the press that there would be violence and we were supposed to let these guys record what might happen in the cities to help understand enemy TTPs (behavior). The whole day there was nothing any of our crews saw but Iraqis pointing their purple fingers at our aircraft to say “Look at me. I voted on our constitution”. They braved the threats of violence and outdid anything America even thought of for voter turnout. It was exciting to see history made. My crew chiefs ended up being very excited too and we were all anxious to get back to Anaconda to see the news. There was almost nothing! Less the next day. The American Press and the left told the Iraqi people in those days we didn’t care about them. It was a milestone the press wouldn’t let the Bush Administration put in his plus column. Just one of many.
Liberal America wants us to lose to prove their point. So like I said, to a great extent, I blame them.”

John Murtha and John Kerry have both gone on the record to say our tactics in Iraq were in so many words, cruel or criminal. John Murtha convicted Marines from Haditha almost before they even had their rights read to them. And by Kerry characterizing our looking for IED makers by night raids as terroristic, (And there is no reason, Bob, that young American soldiers need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, you know, women, breaking sort of the customs of the–of–the historical customs, religious customs. Whether you like it or not… ) I guess he prefers the sight of a burning US vehicle with the occupants strewn on MSR Tampa.

How long would it take for someone to list the endless parade of negative stories from just the New York Times about us in the military, the war in general and our country as a whole. When you look at that stuff it just makes your blood boil. Well maybe the Times will consider running a front-pager about Obamas negotiation treachery. The headline could be…

OBAMA TRIED, THEN LIED, AND MORE TROOPS DIED.

Probably not. Within days of an Obama victory, the Times will spin the amazing way the war turned for “the one” and leftist America will once again find virtue in conflict.

Don’t allow these people ro be put in charge of the military. They don’t care about us, or worse.

hawkdriver on September 16, 2008 at 9:07 PM

hawkdriver on September 16, 2008 at 9:07 PM

First, thank you for your service.

Second, thank you for your post on this subject. I hope that someone on the national stage picks this subject up and runs with it.

Either Senator Obama willfully violated the Logan Act or at the very least he was trying to manipulate the situation to better his political position.

This story has huge potential regardless of whether or not the Logan Act allegations can be proved.

cryptojunkie on September 16, 2008 at 9:43 PM

Sucks to be Barry.

You can bet your A$$ nothing will become of this, the MSM will not allow it to happen.

Any one want ta bet?

Old Hippie Vet on September 16, 2008 at 7:40 PM

Dude, I had a dream last night where the MSM decided to go all-out for Obama: they just started showing non-stop clips of his smiling face, and refused to show one second of McCain.

pomerpants on September 16, 2008 at 10:36 PM

Hey Chakra, I should have had a /sarc tag. Barry disgusts me.

hump1201 on September 16, 2008 at 10:50 PM

How much more dirt can you get on a single person? Why does no one care about Acorn/Obama, Ayers/Obama or Obama concealing Columbia and other records? Why isn’t the media mentioning Obama’s ties to Fannie Mae? I just don’t get it anymore. Please just make it stop. Wake me up in December (you know, after the Democrats are finished challenging the election results in court) sometime right before Christmas (if it still exists by then) and only if we beat this fraud.

*BARF*

Levinite on September 17, 2008 at 1:52 AM

This story has huge potential regardless of whether or not the Logan Act allegations can be proved.

I agree so let’s see the ad that should flow from this. As always, Bush keeps quiet even when someone is stabbing him in the back. It’s great the country will no longer have to bear with this idiot president after Jan 20 2009.

Birdseye on September 17, 2008 at 3:09 AM

How is it possible this is not a huge story???? Especially since he admits it???? How can this be nowhere in the MSM, but Sarah Palin having a tanning bed is everywhere????

momof2 on September 17, 2008 at 8:57 AM

Be careful, Dems. We’re going to end up with another Carter if we’re not careful.

Tennman on September 16, 2008 at 2:56 PM

…but a Carter with much less knowledge and much less skill: one who couldn’t care less about his country, and who has no trouble risking the lives of our troops for his own political gain.

landlines on September 17, 2008 at 10:59 AM

The bottom line is that Obama attempted to subvert a very delicate process for political gain. This shows an amazing lack of knowledge and disregard for diplomatic processes, as well as a complete lack of respect for the Iraqi leadership.

Connie on September 17, 2008 at 11:22 AM

Has anyone ever heard of “The Logan Act”?

dalec on September 17, 2008 at 11:44 AM

Has anyone ever heard of “The Logan Act”?

dalec on September 17, 2008 at 11:44 AM

Well, most of those commenting here have.

covel on September 17, 2008 at 5:45 PM

And the beat goes on…nothing will get done on this, as usual.

hopefloats on September 18, 2008 at 10:37 AM

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