Assad calls for end to "massacre" in Gaza at meeting with ... Arlen Specter

Via Weasel Zippers, he’s a “regular visitor” to Syria, don’tcha know. So regular, it seems, that he felt obliged to keep this particular appointment even though (a) the supreme leader of Hamas lives right there in Damascus and (b) the situation in Gaza made it an irresistible propaganda opportunity for Assad. Didn’t he expect it?

Maybe not. Remember, this is the guy who defended the amnesty bill based on how many people at his gym liked it.

President Bashar al-Assad, receiving US Republican Senator Arlen Specter on Tuesday, underlined the necessity for halting the Israeli massacres which are being committed against the unarmed Palestinian people, lifting the unjust siege on them, and opening all the crossings permanently…

The meeting was attended by Foreign Minister, Walid Moallem, Presidential Political and Media Advisor, Butheina Shaaban, and [Specter’s] accompanying delegation.

That’s from Syrian state media, so don’t get caught up in the question of what words were actually used between them. Assad knew what press release he wanted to issue and he knew what photo he wanted to go with it, and darned if he didn’t get what he wanted. Exit question: Second look at Chris Matthews? He’d happily go to Damascus too, of course, but at least he’d do it as a Democrat.