Despite reports that Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama had been freezing out FNC for negative/erroneous coverage (the Madrassa story on Fox and Friends), it looks like things might have thawed. ‘Campaign’ Carl Cameron talked with Sen. Obama today in an informal setting in Iowa after Obama’s Iraq speech.
Cameron: “There is an LA Times poll that in Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire, that Sen. Clinton is 2-1 better equipped to handle the war. What do you want voters to consider?”
Obama: “Well, that part of what you want to look for in a president is good judgment. And if she did not ask the right questions before this war, its not clear that she would be better equipped to ask the right questions in bringing the war to a close. Certainly I wouldn’t be running if I didn’t think that I had the judgment to ask the right questions, to engage our commanders, to make difficult decisions.”
A transcript of the five-minute Q & A is after the jump…
Q- PRESIDENT WILL BE DELIVERING A SPEECH TO THE NATION BASED ON WHAAT YOUVE HEARD FROM ADMIN AND MILITARY, ANY CONFIDENCE YOULL HEAR THE RIGHT MESSSAGE IN SPEECH?
What I hope to hear from the president would be that he’s going to begin bringing our troops home now. I don’t believe that is the message he’s going to deliver. What essentially the president has decided is to kick the can down the road, continue on the same course that we’ve been on for the last four years. And that is obviously going to place hardship on our troops and on their families. But more importantly, itâ€™s not going to produce any different results. Understand, having listened to General Petraeus’ testimony and Ambassador Crocker’s testimony, that after 30,000 troops, an additional billion dollars spent, and hundreds of lives lost, that we are now in the same place that we were 15 months ago. We haven’t progressed in terms of levels of violence or in terms of the Iraqi government taking seriously its obligations to come together and arrive at a political accommodation. So the only way we’re going to trigger a different outcome, is a genuinely different course. And that means bringing our troops home now.
Q- OBV IN A BIT OF CONTRAST WITH CLINTON, TODAY IN YOUR REMARKSâ€¦PEOPLE VOTED FOR IRAQ WAR OUT OF WEAKNESS OR FEAR – TELL US MORE ABOUT WHAT YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT
I think that this was a disastrous foreign policy error, and we didn’t ask enough hard questions before we got into the war. And that is part of the lesson that we have to learn as we move forward, because we’re going to have difficult decisions to make again in the future. And one of things we have to recognize is that our decisions to deploy troops are the most solemn decisions that we make. And that means that we’ve got to get our intelligence right, we’ve got to ask tough questions, we’ve got to recognize that military approaches alone to a problem are typically not going to succeed in a complex world. That they have to be combined with diplomatic hard work that was not done in the run up to this war.
Q- THERE IS LA TIMES POLL THAT IN IOWA , SC – NH – THAT CLINTON IS 2-1 BETTER EQUPPIED TO HANDLE WAR..WHAT DO YOU WANT VOTERS TO CONSIDER?
Well that, part of what you want to look for in a president is good judgment. And if she did not ask the right questions before this war, its not clear that she would be better equipped to ask the right questions in bringing the war to a close. Certainly I wouldn’t be running if I didnâ€™t think that I had the judgment to ask the right questions, to engage our commanders, to make difficult decisions. And the plan I presented today provides the sort of comprehensive framework that I think can allow us to get out as carefully as we were careless getting in. And thatâ€™s whatâ€™s going to be required in order to make our troops safe and to meet our long term national security obligations.
Q – PRESIDENT WILL BE MAKING HIS MOST PERSUASIVE SPEECH YET PRESUMBALY, WHAT DO YOU WANT VOTERS TO REMEMBER BASED UPON THEIR HISTORY RECORD?
That he has made this case every six months for the last four years. That progress is being made, that change is around the corner, that the factions in Iraq are coming together, that we just need more time. And it has not happened. And I think that the key thing that people have to recall is that the surge was supposed to deliver the space for the Iraqi government to get its act together. And on that front, we have seen no progress. In terms of the reductions of violence, I would hope that as a consequence of the brilliant work of our troops that we would have quelled some of the horrendous violence that existed six months ago. But essentially weâ€™ve just gone back to the levels of violence that we had 15 months ago. And so the bar for success has become so low that itâ€™s buried in the sand. We have to recognize that what we’re doing is not working, and that has consequences for our long term national security. It means that we’re distracted from the war against al Qaeda and Afghanistan and along the borders of Pakistan . It means we’re not focused on dealing with the anti-Americanism and the fraying of our alliances around the world. And that if we begin the process of redeploying our troops, not only is that better for the troops, not only is that better for their families, but itâ€™s also better for our national security.