Obama campaigned in New Hampshire Thursday.
CONCORD, New Hampshire (CNN) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama left little question as to his position on diplomacy with enemy states Thursday, days after his response to a question during Monday’s CNN/YouTube debate drew sharp criticism from opponent Hillary Clinton.
“I’m not afraid to lose the P.R. war to dictators,” Obama said in a speech in Concord, New Hampshire Thursday, where he picked up an early Granite State endorsement from first-term Democratic Congressman Paul Hodes. “I’m happy to look them in the eyes and say what needs to be said... I don't want Bush-Cheney Light.”
In a later conference call with the press, Obama continued on the topic: “Part of the Bush doctrine has been to say ‘no.’ You'll have to ask Senator Clinton what differentiates her position from theirs.”
The day following the CNN/YouTube debate, Senator Clinton called Obama’s willingness to meet, without precondition, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, North Korea, Venezuela, and Cuba “irresponsible” and “naïve.” Clinton, responding to the same question Monday, said “a vigorous diplomatic effort” with such nations is necessary, but said “you don’t promise a meeting until you know the intentions. I don’t want to be used for propaganda purposes and don’t want to make a situation worse.”
– CNN’s Lauren Kornreich and Mark Norman