The Republican National Committee issued the following statement today:
Yesterday, Obama said that he would not necessarily meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:
"Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama underscored his willingness to talk to leaders of countries like Iran that are considered U.S. adversaries but said that does not necessarily mean an audience with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad." (Caren Bohan, "Obama Says Won't Guarantee Ahmadinejad A Meeting," Reuters, 5/26/08)
"'There's no reason why we would necessarily meet with Ahmadinejad before we know he's actually in power. He's not the most powerful person in Iran,' Obama told reporters while campaigning in New Mexico." (Caren Bohan, "Obama Says Won't Guarantee Ahmadinejad A Meeting," Reuters, 5/26/08)
But in July 2007, Obama said he would meet with the leaders of hostile foreign nations, including Iran:
At a July 2007 debate, Obama announced he would personally meet with leaders Of Iran, North Korea, Syria and other hostile nations "without precondition."
Question: "[W]ould you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?"
Obama: "I would. And the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them - which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration - is ridiculous." (CNN/YouTube Democrat Presidential Candidate Debate, Charleston, SC, 7/23/07)
[Editor's Note: Click Here To Watch Obama Say "I Would" Meet Unconditionally With Leaders Of Iran, North Korea, Syria, And Other Nations.]
Obama repeatedly has stood by his position that he would meet with rogue leaders, including Ahmadinejad:
In A September 2007 Press Conference, Obama Confirmed That He Would Meet Specifically With Ahmadinejad.
Question: "Senator, you've said before that you'd meet with President Ahmadinejad ..."
Obama: "Uh huh."
Question: "Would you still meet with him today?"
Obama: "Yeah, nothing's changed with respect to my belief that strong countries and strong presidents talk to their enemies and talk to their adversaries. I find many of President Ahmadinejad's statements odious and I've said that repeatedly. And I think that we have to recognize that there are a lot of rogue nations in the world that don't have American interests at heart. But what I also believe is that, as John F. Kennedy said, we should never negotiate out of fear but we should never fear to negotiate. And by us listening to the views even of those who we violently disagree with - that sends a signal to the world that we are going to turn the page on the failed diplomacy that the Bush Administration has practiced for so long." (Sen. Barack Obama, Press Conference, New York, NY, 9/24/07)
In December 2007, Obama said he was not afraid of "Losing a propaganda war" by reaching out to hostile leaders like Ahmadinejad.
Obama: "[I]'ve got to say I'm not afraid of losing a propaganda war to somebody like Ahmadinejad. You know, strong countries and strong presidents speak with their adversaries. I always think back to J.F.K.'s saying that we should
never negotiate out of fear, but we shouldn't fear to negotiate. We remain the most powerful nation, by far, on earth. Our military capacity is unequaled. We should not hesitate to go ahead and initiate the kinds of discussions that are required." (NBC's "Meet The Press," 11/11/07)
At a December 2007 debate, Obama said he would talk directly to Iran, even though it would "Not necessarily ... change Ahmadinejad's mind."
Obama: "We need to send a strong signal that we are going to talk directly to not just our friends but also to our enemies. And I have to say that when I brought this up early on in this campaign, I was called naive and irresponsible. And yet the point, the reason for that was not necessarily because we're going to change Ahmadinejad's mind. It's because we're going to change the minds of people inside Iran, moderate forces inside Iran, as well as our Muslim allies around the region, that we are willing to listen to them and try to engage in finding ways to resolve conflicts cooperatively." (Sen. Barack Obama, National Public Radio Democrat Presidential Candidate Debate, Des Moines, IA, 12/4/07)
On "Meet The Press" this month, Obama reiterated his position that "We've got to talk directly to Iran."
Obama: "I have consistently said that we've got to talk directly to Iran, send them a clear message that they have to stop, not only with their potential funding of militias inside of Iraq, but they also have to stop funding Hamas, they have to stop funding Hezbollah, they've got to stand down on their nuclear weapons. There will be continued consequences for those kinds of actions, but that here are also some carrots and possible benefits if they change behavior. Those kinds of direct talks have not taken place. That's the kind of change in foreign policy that I plan to put in place when I'm President of the United States." (NBC's "Meet The Press," 5/4/08)
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