Posted: July 27, 2007 2:19 PM
Obama, Clinton Continue Foreign Policy Debate off the Stage
Although much of the early focus of Monday night’s CNN/YouTube centered on the new format, Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., carried a disagreement over foreign policy off the debate stage and onto the campaign trail that kept both campaigns busy in the following days.
Obama responded to a question about meeting with dictators by saying “the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them …is ridiculous.” Clinton responded that she wouldn’t guarantee she would meet with leaders like Fidel Castro because she would not want to be used for “propaganda purposes.”
The exchange spilled over to Tuesday, when each candidate attacked the other’s position in interviews with the Quad City Times. And in the days since, both campaigns have issued press releases and dispatched surrogates to continue the feud. Roger Simon of The Politico wrote that the spat highlights Clinton’s message of experience and Obama’s message of change and a new direction:
“If, as Obama hopes, this election is going to be about change, perhaps voters want a change in how our next president conducts diplomatic missions, including a desire for bolder methods and initiatives than previous presidents have used.”
Obama clearly sees this as a winning issue for him, taking opportunities on Wednesday and Thursday to personally take a swipe at Clinton. ABC News’ Jake Tapper reports that during an off-the-record meeting with reporters on Wednesday, Obama said “One thing I’m very confident about is my judgment in foreign policy is, I believe, better than any other candidate in this race, Republican or Democrat.”
And on Thursday, he went farther, telling reporters during a conference call that Clinton’s foreign policy was just like that of President Bush.
In other campaign news, on Thursday the senator picked up the endorsement of Rep. Paul Hodes, D-N.H. Hodes is the first member of the New Hampshire congressional delegation to endorse a candidate and the Associated Press reported it is a major coup for Obama’s campaign.
Hodes, a first term Representative, said in a press release that “in Barack Obama, we have a leader who will turn the page on our narrow-minded foreign policy, a leader who will end the war in Iraq and who realizes, just like JFK and Ronald Reagan did, that being a strong nation means having the strength to talk to our enemies.”
Obama also launched a new radio ad in South Carolina this week. In the ad, Obama reaches out to black voters, using clips from his recent speech at the NAACP convention.
The campaign also announced it is expanding its “Camp Obama” training sessions to four additional locations: Burbank, Calif., St. Louis, Mo., the New York/New Jersey region, and Atlanta, Ga. The seminars are designed to train Obama supporters who want to help with the campaign’s grassroots efforts.
Looking ahead, Obama is scheduled to attend the College Democrats of America convention in South Carolina on Thursday. Friday he travels to St. Louis for the National Urban League conference and then goes on to Iowa, where he is expected to hold several campaign events on Friday afternoon and Saturday. On Sunday, the senator is slated to travel to Nevada.