On Tuesday, I mocked Time‘s Joe Klein for suggesting that Barack Obama didn’t necessarily want to meet with with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and I noted a video in which Obama mentions Ahmadinejad within the context of negotiations. J. Klein also insisted that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who Obama may have really meant, wasn’t as much of a “flagrant anti-Semite.” But as I pointed out, Khamenei called Israel a “cancerous tumor” that “should be removed from the region…”
Now, in a column, he says that the Obama position is “fuzzy” so that McCain should stop linking him to Ahmadinejad to scare up Jewish votes. And in a blog post, J. Klein writes, “Obama’s position on talking to Ahmadinejad, which is muddy, to say the least, but has never included the following statement, ‘I will meet unconditionally with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.'”
This a ridiculous standard. Go back and watch the video from the YouTube debate in which Obama answered affirmatively that he would meet with the leaders of a number of rogue states, without preconditions, within a first year of his administration. Closely watch the amateur video when the question is being posed, and you will see that when Iran is mentioned, a photo of Ahmadinejad pops on the screen. All summer, Obama had the opportunity to correct news reports on him vowing to meet with Ahmadinejad, but he didn’t. During the controversy over Ahmadinejad’s visit last fall, he was again given a chance to backtrack, but reiterated his willingness to meet with Ahmadinejad. J. Klein’s sister company, CNN, reported, “Obama stands ground on meeting with Ahmadinejad.” He once again didn’t correct the record.
I might add that not only did Obama not run away from the idea of meeting with Ahmadinejad, he embraced it. He used the controversy as an example of how he represented a break from the “conventional Washington thinking” on foreign policy. This whole stunt by J. Klein is outrageous.