McCain defends comments about Hamas, Obama

John McCain justifies his statement that Hamas wants Barack Obama to be president by saying he's only discussing what's of interest to voters.

By Vincent Rossmeier
May 10, 2008 1:16AM (UTC)
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Today, John McCain blamed the curiosity of American voters for a comment he made suggesting Hamas wants Barack Obama to be president. Appearing with Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman at an event in New Jersey, McCain tried to clarify a statement he made on "The Daily Show" on Wednesday night, in which he alleged that Hamas approves of Obama:

It's very obvious to everyone that Sen. Obama shares nothing of the values or goals of Hamas, which is a terrorist organization ... But it's also fact that a spokesperson from Hamas said that he approves of Obama's candidacy. I think that's of interest to the American people.

Ignoring McCain's altruistic invocation of the American populace, his comment may foreshadow how Republicans will attack Obama's foreign policy positions in the general election. Writing for conservative blog Hot Air, "Allahpundit" sums up the Republican outlook nicely:

McCain's point here goes right to the heart of Obama's foreign policy. Yes, it's true that Obama’s stance towards Hamas, incoherent though it is, isn't much different from the GOP's, leading one to wonder then why Ahmed Yousef should have any strong preference for him instead of McCain. The answer: Because he knows that the Messiah's willingness to engage in "aggressive" diplomacy with one set of terrorist slackjaws means he's more likely to adopt that policy towards other sets.

On Thursday, in a response to McCain's charge about Hamas, Obama portended a general-election strategy of his own. Obama told CNN, "For [McCain] to toss out comments like that I think is an example of him losing his bearings as he pursues this nomination."

Obama's "losing his bearings" nudge elicited a strong rebuke from McCain aide Mark Salter. Obama "used the words 'losing his bearings' intentionally, a not particularly clever way of raising John McCain's age as an issue," Salter said on Friday. "This is typical of the Obama style of campaigning."

So, who's getting excited for the general election?

Vincent Rossmeier

Vincent Rossmeier is an editorial assistant at Salon.

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2008 Elections Barack Obama John Mccain R-ariz.