The Obama campaign seems to know they have a problem -- their man is perceived as soft on terrorists, and way too accommodating to the world's worst thug regimes.
After Obama stated that he would meet with any foreign leader without pre-conditions, including the leaders of Iran ,Venezuela, Syria, North Korea, and Cuba, the campaign attempted to backtrack using hacks in the friendly media such as the New York Times to suggest that of course, that is not what he meant, and the McCain camp was smearing Obama for bringing up Hamas' endorsement of Obama.
The Obama campaign and its journalist warriors kept bringing up how Obama refused to meet with Hamas until the group changed its tune, stopped terrorism, and accepted Israel's right to exist. Of course Hamas's position is identical to that of Iran, a sponsor of terror groups including Hamas and Hezbollah, which has called for Israel's annihilation, and Obama has been willing to meet with them without preconditions.
Last week, Susan Rice, a top Obama foreign policy advisor, noted that meeting with leaders of other countries without preconditions, does not mean meeting them without preparation. This is what is known as a difference without a distinction. Today, the Obama campaign is back on its heels again, sensing that President Bush was criticizing Obama when he spoke in Israel in front of the Knesset and condemned the naïveté of meeting with terrorist groups and rogue states. It turns out the President did not mention Obama by name and he could well have been referring to former President Jimmy Carter, just back from another round of freelance diplomacy, meeting with Hamas' leaders and Syria's President, for which Obama was hesitant to utter a word of criticism. Carter slammed both Israel, the United States and President Bush, when on foreign soil, as he has done many times before. Carter of course is in Obama's corner, and many of Obama's supporters on the left, think Carter has done nothing wrong. The Obama campaign seems terribly upset that words that might only by inference, be seen as critical of his campaign, were uttered on foreign soil. The President could also have been referring today to Robert Malley, another Obama campaign foreign policy advisor who suddenly was described as "not an advisor" after his statements and record were exposed, but then was forced to resign as an advisor to the campaign (funny how this works) after admitting he had also recently met with Hamas, the one group in the world Obama seems to think (for the moment anyway)is beyond the pale. Not surprisingly , the New York Times picks up on the Obama camp's complaint about today's Bush statement .My sense is that the Obama camp knows they have several problems on their hands: the defection of many traditional Democratic Jewish voters to John McCain, and a series of statements by Obama that suggest to a broader swath of the electorate that when it comes to foreign policy, the Obama candidacy is an amateur production waiting to go on stage and Obama comes off very weak willed to our enemies (much as the Carter Presidency was and did). So expect the thin-skinned ultra sensitivity evidenced by the campaign today to pop up again and again the next few months. And of course, we know what the New York Times will think.
Richard Baehr is chief political correspondent of American Thinker.