(CNN) – With Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama locked in a dispute over diplomacy, the initial question that sparked the dispute was posed to additional presidential candidates on the trail today.
Would they meet with five hostile world leaders, with no preconditions, within a year of taking office?
Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, agreed with Clinton.
“You don’t want to sit down and meet with people who are enemies of the United Statesand everything you stand for and believe in, unless you are sure that the outcome will be beneficial…and that the outcome will not enhance the prestige or the standing of one of these dictators,” McCain said in Boston Thursday.
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democratic presidential candidate, was more open to bilateral talks, but with conditions.
“I’d meet with leaders we disagree with,” Richardson said at a campaign stop in Des Moines. “President Bush's policy doesn't work. He basically says if you exhibit bad behavior I’m not going to talk to you. It’s a big mistake.”
“I think too often our foreign policy has been based on sending envoys, sending second level negotiators. I'm the President! We’ve got big problems with Iran, big problems withSyria, big problems in North Korea. Let’s face them.”
Richardson drew the line with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: “I probably would not meet with him. I think it reaches a point where he is unreasonable.”
He instead said he would meet with moderate Iranian officials and clerics.
- CNN's Mark Norman