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I'm not a big supporter of either side of this pissing match, but Obama has the street cred with respect to this fucking war. War. Hundreds of thousands dead, hundreds of billions in the pockets of no-bid contractors, oil companies massively enriched by the ensuing runup in prices.

Um, yeah. I'd say voting for this fiasco is VIOLENTLY irresponsible, beyond criminal.

Posted by Obama O rama | July 24, 2007 4:35 PM

At least this exchange has something to do with an actual public policy difference between the candidates.

Posted by Will | July 24, 2007 4:45 PM

Yeah, our foreign policy is super successful right now.

We're the most hated country in the world and a huge number of people want to kill us. Plus we're making new enemies every day and our reputation has sunk to previously unthinkable lows.

I can see in this situation how talking out our differences with our enemies would be a big mistake.

Let's send more bombs (and please strap Lieberman and McCain to the first one).

Posted by Original Andrew | July 24, 2007 4:50 PM

God forbid that Hillary Clinton should ever be used for propaganda purposes by her enemies...

Posted by Trey | July 24, 2007 4:53 PM

But, and I'm sincerely asking here, what is to be gained from meeting with Castro, Ahmadinejad, or Kim Jong-il? I'm all for diplomacy, but I'm not sure this accomplishes anything. To me, it's like taking a 12 step program and skipping to step 12. But I'm willing to be convinced here....

Posted by arduous | July 24, 2007 4:58 PM

I do believe that Sen. Clinton just got SERVED!

Posted by Willis | July 24, 2007 4:59 PM

See, here we go! This debate item is definitely far more worthy of discussing than the clothes thing.

This is gonna be Obama's key tool down the stretch: logically pointing out the hypocrisies of his opposition as they make attacks on him and in general. His sharpness and wit in this regard is his greatest strength.

Posted by Gomez | July 24, 2007 5:11 PM

isn't the united states a rogue nation?

Posted by wf | July 24, 2007 5:16 PM

Let me try to answer your question, arduous. Civilized, sovereign nations engage in bilateral diplomacy at many levels in order to resolve disputes - from low-level consular flunkies to heads of state. A (hypothetical) meeting between, say, President Obama and Reichsfuhrer Ahmadinejad would likely serve only to ratify substantive agreements already reached between lower-level negotiators working outside the spotlight. The leaders of free, civilized nations can not be too proud to meet with batshitcrazy dictators if that's what the situation requires - hell, reputable foreign leaders visit our current president all the time, and he's completely nuts. What Obama is saying is that he will discontinue the Bush administration's policy of dangling the prospect of such meetings before "rogue" nations as some kind of unattainable brass ring - a failed policy, it seems, with which Senator Clinton may still be enamored.

Posted by Trey | July 24, 2007 5:21 PM

Obama would have had balls if he said that line LAST NIGHT AT THE DEBATE!!! Now he just looks like someone's little bitch! And I just threw my Obama Tee shirt in the trash.

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | July 24, 2007 5:26 PM

But what you're suggesting, Trey, is exactly what Clinton said -- and NOT what Obama said. The person who asked the question was channeling conventional blog wisdom from a couple of years ago -- that we need to "sit down with" Syria and Iran to solve the Iraq problem. He's also expanding it to North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela.

That's all fine and good, but at the PRESIDENTIAL LEVEL saying "sure, I'll sit down and talk" is precisely the kind of thoughtless sucker game that Clinton says it is. It's the naive position that if we would just get together and talk about our feelings, everything would be fine. That's bull crap.

Yes, you establish a diplomatic effort. Diplomacy is not carried out by Presidents, it's carried out by literally thousands of people at the State Department. When actual agreements heave into view, then top-level meetings make sense. Not before. That's what Clinton said.

What Obama said was "sure, I'll meet with 'em". That's ridiculously naive. I think he got blindsided by the question, and he's not as dumb as his answer made him look, but he looked bad making it. Meeting heads of state at the presidential level is largely symbolic; our president needs to be very clear that he or she is controlling the symbolism.

Posted by Fnarf | July 24, 2007 5:29 PM

You know, Fnarf, it would be lovely if we still lived in an era where American presidents could chiefly concern themselves with things like "controlling the symbolism" - but the fact is, we're actually living in an era where the current administration has decimated American prestige and credibility abroad, left explosive regional conflicts around the globe almost completely untended, and arbitrarily carved out rhetorical axes of evil from amongst the ranks of sovereign nations. Should we be bothered by a presidential candidate taking an opportunity to signal his willingness to re-engage in diplomacy? Not a bit. Does signalling such mean that candidate is beset by naivete? Certainly not. But Hillary Clinton's answer to this question, if I may paraphrase James Carville in "The War Room", reeks of yesterday...if I think of an old calendar, I think of Hillary Clinton.

Posted by Trey | July 24, 2007 6:03 PM

Yes, yes, Trey, Bush bad, America damaged, I understand all that. You're not getting it. Clinton's answer signaled a return to diplomacy. Obama's answer signaled a return to getting walked all over. That's not diplomacy.

Posted by Fnarf | July 24, 2007 6:27 PM

FNARF - you killing me! You've been agreeing with ecce homo and now this. it's like your mind has been hijacked by some bitter old curmudeon. Hilary regurgutated Clintonian deplomacy, probably written by (and this afternoon, praised by) Madeline Allbright. what is being called naivete of O'Bama, is actually just a challenge to stodgey conventinal wisdom inside the beltway. New way of thinking? yes. Naive? Only to those who are naive themselves. Anyone who read in o'Bama's statment that he would blindly stroll into talks under any circumstances is really stretching things.

Posted by longball | July 24, 2007 6:35 PM

Do these two have a substantive difference of opinion? Is Obama really going to let himself be walked over? I don't know, but it seems just as likely that Obama gave the 'primary' answer ('yes I would meet with them') which Clinton agreed with, but Clinton added a proviso.

If she were to have said, "yes I would meet with Fidel Castro, but I will not fuck him during the meeting," would people think that that meant Obama was willing to fuck Fidel? Granted, that example is somewhat ridiculous, but I decided to use it anyway because it does not matter one way or the other.

Posted by Jude Fawley | July 24, 2007 8:29 PM

I fail to see how their answers were substantively different. Could any rational person really think that Obama meant to say he would meet with Kim Jong-il at the drop of a hat, just to chat about the weather and get his picture in the Pyongyang Times?

The bottom line is that they're both willing to engage in diplomacy, even with the evil doers in the axis of eeeevil. So why all the fuss? Sometimes politics really pisses me off . . . .

Posted by MplsKid | July 24, 2007 8:47 PM

This makes me sad. Shouldn't they be focusing on the real enemy? (John Edwards)

Posted by jamier | July 24, 2007 9:00 PM

Or, for a way funnier and more eloquent phrasing of my feelings, see #15.

Posted by MplsKid | July 24, 2007 9:02 PM

Ha@15. I'm in accord.

Posted by Dianna | July 24, 2007 9:23 PM

Clinton forgot to qualify her response with "only". Any meeting with the US pres will be used as propaganda - that's certain.

Why is the other persons intent a factor at all? Has she that little confidence in her diplomacy?

Posted by bitter_hag | July 24, 2007 10:33 PM

Since Gore seems to have lost his taste for politics (understandably), I am now officially Clinton/Obama 2008.

Hillary's message should be that Obama will someday be president, after her.

Posted by Sean | July 24, 2007 11:00 PM

this conversation is dumb. clinton still embraces the principle of preemptive war. that's not diplomacy. it's a violation of the un charter. who cares which head of state she meets with and when, if she still reserves for herself the right to unilaterally decimate or occupy their country?

Posted by wf | July 24, 2007 11:02 PM

Iraq wasn't a "preemptive war" that implies that there was a war to preempt. at best iraq was a preventative war. Firing first as the opponent is gearing up to attack you is not a violation of the charter. annihilating a country because they "scare you" is clearly a violation of international law

Posted by vooodooo84 | July 25, 2007 12:06 AM

As far as this question was concerned Hill put Obama back in his place: his JUNIOR Senator seat. None of this little letter writing nonsense would change that.

Obama lost my vote last night for sure. You can't make you entire campaign about changing DC, then take campaign contributions from all the same people. After following up I believe he and Hill are going to be the same.

The crazy guy in the corner talking about money was rad though.

I was 1.) Bill Ritchardson 2.) Hill, 3.) Obama before watching. Now I'm 1.) Bill Ritchardson, 2.) Crazy guy in the corner, 3.) Anyone but the Republicans.

Posted by Ryan | July 25, 2007 6:37 AM

agree with jude that their answers were very similar but obama's response to hillary's taunt was very tired. okay, we know already that she voted for the war. it seems like every time hillary scores one obama goes back to the same old line. it's important yes, but trying responding to the point in question instead of avoiding it. otherwise it's little more than a war of sound bytes.

Posted by stan | July 25, 2007 8:11 AM

agree with jude that their answers were very similar but obama's response to hillary's taunt was very tired. okay, we know already that she voted for the war. it seems like every time hillary scores one obama goes back to the same old line. it's important yes, but trying responding to the point in question instead of avoiding it. otherwise it's little more than a war of sound bytes.

Posted by stan | July 25, 2007 8:13 AM

I'm not really a nut, or even really a psychic, but several months ago I dreamed there was a White House wedding. Usually when I think of something that I have no good reason to think of, it pops up soon after in real life. There hasn't been a White House wedding since the Nixon administration. If a White House wedding is in our near future, it will have to be one of the Bush girls in the next few months, or our next president will have a daughter of marriageble age. And come to think of it, Chelsea couldn't keep shacking up with her boyfriend if her mom was president, could she? Dream means Hillary will win.

Posted by Cat | July 25, 2007 8:18 AM

@ Cat, I am going to throw this one out there. I really am doubtful Hillary will be the President. (It is still over a year until the election and frankly does anyone remember how sure Dean would be the nominee in early 2004?)

I do think we will have a female president from the Clinton family and it is going to be Chelsea. And yeah, it is going to be the daughter getting revenge for her father. If I were a Republican I would be scared of her....very scared cause no one messes with a daughter's daddy. No one....

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | July 25, 2007 8:35 AM

ummm? Sons don't get married?

Posted by gnossos | July 25, 2007 8:38 AM

no way -- i'm with 15 and 16 here. they all said yes, only each additional answer added a qualifier. well, either those qualifiers amount to the bush policy or no, or the obama policy of yes. clinton's remark was schrewd, calculated, and powerful, but it says more about her than it says about obama. no one could provide all the disclaimers beforehand... @15... hilarious and true.

Posted by infrequent | July 25, 2007 8:40 AM

Every time we stop talking and start bombing it works ... so ... well.


Obama's right. Time to move on.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 25, 2007 10:34 AM

We are all such little cheerleaders for whoever we happen to pick.

1. BOTH Hillary and Barack are WRONG to not simply stop funding the war as Dennis K. suggested.

2. Hillary is right you don't invite Castro to the White House right off the bat.

3. Everyone is wrong to be picking on Barack for little tiny slips like this one. Too "gotcha." It is a bit of a hit vut not that big a deal.

Obviously they are both the two leading candidates and most readers of this slog will have to settle for a ticket that may have both of them on it.

My bet is Hillary/Barack. Your bet could be different. Barack's vision and change message are a plus. Clinton's tie to Clinton and all the good things that happened in the 90's is a plus.

Now if eithr of them would actually have an antiterror policy spelled out.....or some clue about what this much vaunted diplomacy with N Korea and Syria would consist of...."I would have voted against this war in Iraq" is not really a foreign policy....and most of all I hope either of them can come up with a message that blames Bush for all this crap instead of acting so afraid of his charges that withdrawal is treason etc.

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