Rudy Giuliani headed today’s Team McCain conference call, discussing the trip taken by Barack Obama adviser David Kurtzer to Syria in July. Giuliani, the recent selection for the GOP convention’s keynote speaker, took the opportunity to reassert himself on national security and foreign policy. Michael Goldfarb and Randy Scheuneman also took part in the call.
Mayor Giuliani told the conference that the fact that the trip was not disclosed at the time shows Obama’s inexperience and irresponsibility on foreign policy. Giuliani pointed out that Obama included Assad on his list of world leaders he would meet without preconditions. He says Kurtzer advised the Assad regime on how to handle the Bush administration, and Obama should have disclosed this at the time.
“The American people are entitled to a president who knows how to conduct foreign policy,” Giuliani said, “which includes having passed Diplomacy 101.” Giuliani also pointed out that another Obama adviser had met repeatedly with Hamas, and also hadn’t disclosed it. How many more of these meetings have taken place, and how many more will Obama’s team undertake before the election?
Scheuneman clarified that the Eli Lake article reported that the meeting took place with the Syrian foreign minister, and underwritten in part by Syrian corporations. This comes at a time when Syria sponsors terrorist organizations, stands accused of several assassinations in Lebanon, and refuse to cooperate with the IAEA. Why would anyone go to a conference on the rule of law in a nation with this track record?
- On lobbying: There’s a big difference between being a declared lobbyist and going on covert meetings with hostile regimes.
- NBC: How would the party respond to a pro-choice VP selection? — All choices have pros and cons. The GOP isn’t, in Giuliani’s estimation, a one-issue party. He thinks that the importance of the election will generate full support for John McCain. He wanted to ensure he could pick a running mate that would allow him to sleep at night, and he knows McCain will take this selection seriously.
- Is lobbying that big of a problem? — There’s nothing inherently wrong with lobbying or employing former lobbyists as long as everything is disclosed. The worst cases, though, have been pretty bad — which is why there is such understandable sensitivity.