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Bush Takes Opening Shot at Obama Campaign

Thursday, 15 May 2008 10:51 AM

By Rick Pedraza

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Comparing talks with Iran to trying to appease the Nazis in 1939, President Bush has taken the first shot at U.S. Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.

Although he did not refer to anyone by name in remarks he made today to the Israeli Knesset, the President did take a swipe at Obama’s previous call for diplomatic engagement with Iran, raising doubts about Obama with Jewish-Americans.

Suggesting Obama and other Democrats are in favor of “appeasement” of terrorists, Bush blasted away by referencing calls the Obama camp and others in the party have made to leaders, including Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad , whom Bush likened to Osama bin Laden, Hamaz and Hezbolah.

"Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along," Bush said about the Democrats’ willingness to sit down for talks after the presidential elections in November.

"We have heard this foolish delusion before,” he added in reference to negotiating with Ahmadinejad and others in the region. “As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American Senator declared: ‘Lord, if only I could’ve talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is: the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."

Bush said the U.S. and Israel are locked in an ideological struggle with radicals in the Middle East, using his speech to tie al-Qaeda leader bin Laden to the terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah.

Obama responded to Bush’s remarks by saying, “It is sad that President Bush would use a speech to the Knesset on the 60th anniversary of Israel's independence to launch a false political attack. It is time to turn the page on eight years of policies that have strengthened Iran and failed to secure America or our ally Israel.”

Bush’s speech to the Israeli parliament primarily focused on highlighting the long-standing American-Israeli partnership the two nations have shared over the 60-year period since Israel’s declaration of independence.

"The alliance between our governments is unbreakable,” Bush said, “yet the source of our friendship runs deeper than any treaty.”

Blasting Bush for what he called a “false political attack,” Obama went on the say that, "Instead of tough talk and no action, we need to do what Kennedy, Nixon and Reagan did and use all elements of American power — including tough, principled, and direct diplomacy — to pressure countries like Iran and Syria.

“George Bush knows that I have never supported engagement with terrorists,” Obama continued, “and the President's extraordinary politicization of foreign policy and the politics of fear do nothing to secure the American people or our stalwart ally Israel."

Obama has said that if he’s elected, he would engage in aggressive, personal diplomacy with Iran with the goal of stabilizing the region.

The opening shot at the Democratic presidential nominee is likely to be a line Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, and other Republicans will follow as the general election nears. The GOP likely will suggest that Obama is too inexperienced to be trusted to protect the United States from terrorists.

McCain has already gone on record as saying Obama allegedly is the favored candidate of the terror group Hamas, which Obama responded to by calling the Hamas allegation a "smear."

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