Tags: obama | letter | sheinwald

British Ambassador: Obama Elitist, Uninspiring

Thursday, 02 Oct 2008 10:20 PM

Sir Nigel Sheinwald, Britain's ambassador in Washington, wrote a seven-page letter to the British prime minister warning him about Barack Obama.

The contents of the letter were leaked to the British press late Wednesday, and they offered a worrisome view about the man who might be the next president.

Reportedly written just before Obama's summer visit to Britain, the ambassador made clear Obama was a deeply flawed man whose political agenda may not be in sync with British interests.

Among Sheinwald's observations, he notes:

  • Obama's Senate voting record as "decidedly liberal," and claims Obama left little mark on legislation where "the main impression is of someone who was finding his feet, and then got diverted by his presidential ambitions."

  • That charges of elitism or being aloof "are not entirely unfair" and may be seized upon by John McCain's campaign.

  • The Democrat can be "tough and competitive," which the ambassador chalked up to Obama's "Chicago school" of politics.

  • Though he praised Obama’s oratory, he said Obama's "energy levels do dip and he can be uninspiring, e.g. in debates."

  • Iran could be a sticking point because of "the articulation between (a) (Obama's) desire for unconditional dialogue with Iran and (b) our and the (U.N. Security Council’s) requirement of prior suspension of enrichment before the nuclear negotiations proper can begin."

  • Obama "can seem to sit on the fence, assiduously balancing pros and cons," and "does betray a highly educated and upper middle-class mind-set."

  • Obama "may be aloof, insensitive," and he points to the fact that Obama "can talk too dispassionately for a national campaign about issues which touch people personally, e.g. his notorious San Francisco comments (in April) about small-town Pennsylvanians 'clinging' to guns and religion."

    Sheinwald also offered mixed praise for Obama, calling his speeches "elegant" and "mesmerizing."

    He is "highly intelligent" and has "star quality," he added.

    Nevertheless, his "policies are still evolving" and that if elected he will "have less of a track record than any recent president," Sheinwald concluded.

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