September 12th, 2007
04:16 PM ET
11 years ago

Foreign policy expert stumps for Obama

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Providing a much-needed boost to a candidate whose judgment in international affairs has been called into question, former President Carter’s National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brezinski, introduced Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, during a campaign stop in Clinton, Iowa on Wednesday.

“I’m here today because I strongly believe that the next election is not just to choose a new president,” Brezinski said. “The choice that you will be making will define America’s role in a historically new era. We have elections every four years, but only once in a while is a new president facing the opportunity to shape a new sense of direction for America,” explained Brezinski.

Brezinski, who stood out for his relatively hawkish views in an administration that often emphasized human rights, told the crowd that by invading Iraq the “United States has become engaged in what is essentially a colonial war in the post-colonial era.” He also opined that the Iraq war “has discredited America worldwide,” and warned that the conflict in Iraq might spread to Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Saying Obama “was not, like many others, a Johnny-come-lately” with regard to realizing that the Iraq war was a so-called “fool’s enterprise,” Brezinski told the members of the crowd that they had the opportunity to change the world by supporting the Illinois senator.

In August, Brezinski supported Obama during a foreign policy spat between the Illinois senator and his chief rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York. In addition to advising President Carter, Brezinski also was adviser to officials in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.

- CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Iowa
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. pl. at the UN for a while.

    Had Mr Brezinski been such a "foreign policy expert" he would not have left 440 Americans hostages in Iran until President Regan fixed that on his first day as President. His lucidity only reaffirms that empty bells can be lucid too. Doesn't speak to good judgement.

    September 12, 2007 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  2. lavelle

    Brezinski, who stood out for his relatively hawkish views in an administration that often emphasized human rights, told the crowd that by invading Iraq the “United States has become engaged in what is essentially a colonial war in the post-colonial era.” He also opined that the Iraq war “has discredited America worldwide,” and warned that the conflict in Iraq might spread to Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    "Oh how naive of this former American leader. how naive of him to support Obama." The proof is right there for you.Obama has the right people behind him and if you Americans know whats good for your kids future. You will vote for Obama

    September 12, 2007 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  3. Henry Tucker, GA

    LOL – because CARTER had such a stellar record with Foreign Policy???

    Anyone remember Iranian Hostage Crisis?? Or the horrible rescue attempt killing our soldiers?

    Actually – Carter's foreign policy guru SHOULD endorse Obama. They apparently have the same level of competence.

    September 12, 2007 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  4. Dan, TX

    Let me guess what will happen now on this blog. First we'll here from the Clinton backers and the Republicans how Brezinski, who has always made a heck of a lot of sense to me over the past 30 years, is irrelevant and his endorsement means nothing.

    Then we'll hear how it doesn't matter, because Obama is still too inexperienced and naive.

    Repeat, Repeat, Repeat and hope that will make it true.

    The fact is, Obama's foreign policy positions seem very mature to me. I do not think him to be inexperienced or naive compared to what I see in the other candidates.

    Biden probably has the best view on Iraq, but Obama's position is reasonable and he actually has the guts to tell us what he thinks.

    September 12, 2007 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  5. VM, San Diego, CA

    Once again, you skip pertinent information in order to advance tired old memes about Obama's supposed inexperience. His "judgment in international affairs has been called into question" by Hillary Clinton, who was all for his positions on diplomacy and terrorism before she was against them, and who has no judgment to speak of in these matters, having authorized the war. Funny how it takes you weeks to report on the Brzezinski endorsement, but every random union nod Hillary gets is immediate front-page news.

    September 12, 2007 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  6. Ron, TX

    Way to go Obama! He scored one of the top democratic foreign policy experts. Just goes to show that "experience" is no substitute for uncomprised judgment.

    September 12, 2007 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  7. Mike, Washington, DC

    It is interesting to me how CNN almost always tries to diminish Obama's stances. To date, Obama is the only candidate in the race who laid out a detailed plan to handle the aftermath of our withdrawal from Iraq. It is shameful that CNN tries to depecit him as if he has no substance. I believe, however, as MLK once said, the arc of the morale universe is long, but it bends towards justice.

    September 12, 2007 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  8. Sean, Santa Barbara, CA

    CNN belongs to Hillary. It sucks that such an honorable news site is heading for the same catagory as FOX, CNN was also the only major news website to not or just briefly report on Israeli jets illeagly flying into Syria. CNN is quickly becoming a waste of time.

    September 12, 2007 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  9. Alan St Louis Mo

    In a Perfect World.

    BAH I say we change the rules for election day for president. IT just plain obvious we are just deciding which dem gona be next president. I say we remove the republicans from the ballot for president thier just a waste of ink on voters card. So that way america all can decide which they like better cliton or Obama or the others if they become tier 1 capable.

    September 12, 2007 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  10. Mary Westmont, IL

    I couldn't agree more. And it goes far deeper than that. If we truly want a uniter, he is the best of the bunch. He is no nonsense and has a great way of cutting through the bull and getting to the heart of the problem. I bet even the religious right would vote for him if they saw this – touted is the most important speech about religion and politics in 40 years. Skeptics take a look.

    September 12, 2007 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  11. Ron Nebraska

    Well that's the death blow for Obama, having an acknowledged expert support you just won't cut it with the new American voter. They'd rather have an incompetent pretend cowboy who ' talks just like me' as president than someone with depth and intellect.

    September 12, 2007 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  12. Juanito, Washington, DC

    The only people who called Obama's foreign policy speech into question were the Washington pundits. Meanwhile, these same pundits conveniently ignored that fact that Hillary Clinton said the same thing Obama said regarding actionable intelligence on Al Qaeda inside Pakistan. These same pundits did not call John Edwards "naive" when he made the exact same statement as Obama last week in his first foreign policy speech.

    I'm amazed that CNN is going along with this attempt to discredit Senator Obama....well...actually I'm not.

    September 12, 2007 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  13. Lioness, Washington DC

    Why does CNN always twist things on their heads?

    It is Obama who has called Hillary's judgment on international affairs questionable. She called him inexperienced and naive, but said nothing about judgment.

    Please do not make your pro-Clinton sympathies quite so obvious. You have earned a reputation among viewers for being biased in favor of Clinton and many are tuning out.

    September 12, 2007 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  14. SFT, Elgin, IL

    In addition ot Brezinski Obama is also endorsed by Ted Sorensen who was JFK's most important advisor. He was recently on Charlie Rose's show describing the how Kennedy handled crisis. It was a remarkable show and he ended by stating how Senator Obama has been diminished just like JFK was when he started his campaign. Then he goes on to say essentially that Barack Obama is the world's only hope because of the quality of his character and leadership. CNN producers should view the video at

    September 13, 2007 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  15. Michael James -- Illinois

    It seems to me that the only people who have called Obama's judgment in international affairs into question are media outlets such as CNN and his political rivals.

    People who actually have a good understanding of foreign policy and foreign relations, such as Mr. Brezinski and Ted Sorensen, have consistently said that Barack Obama has excellent foreing policy judgment.

    In point of fact, it seems as if the only one displaying actual leadership and good judgment on these issues is Barack Obama. He was and continues to be right about the Iraq war.

    You wouldn't know it from the headlines or from the inane attacks from Clinton, et al, but Barack was also was right when he said that we should act to take out Al Quada targets in Pakistan if certain conditions were met. That was when the whole "naive and irresponsible" bulls*** started. It subsequently turned out that most experts agreed that what Barack had said made a lot of sense and was not in any way naive or irresponsible.

    Furthermore, as noted by Mr. Brezinski and other foreign policy heavyweights, taking nukes off the table in terms of attacking terrorist training camps is exactly the right thing to do. In contrast, Hillary thinks it should still be on the table, even though she had previously taken a contrary position since it was politically convenient at the time.

    The bottom line is that Barack Obama has the experience, judgment, character and temperment to be a great president. If one delves into the actual details instead of relying on soundbyte journalism and/or scurrilous attacks by Clinton, et al, that fact will become apparent.

    September 13, 2007 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  16. Dan, Philadelphia PA

    Vote for Obama, change the world!!

    September 13, 2007 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  17. Maria, Houston

    Well said, well done.
    Go Barack!

    September 13, 2007 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  18. John, New York City, NY

    Wait. You mean the same President Carter who couldn't get our soldiers freed from captivity in Iran? Why should we care about this so called Foreign policy expert? He doesn't seem like an expert to me. The only expert on Foreign policy I have heard has been Ron Paul.

    September 13, 2007 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  19. Beaverton Oregon

    I do believe they say the best leaders are humble enough to surround themselves with equally capable people.

    He gets stronger every day.

    September 13, 2007 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  20. walters, A

    Bravo Obama 2008,
    This is great News when foreign policy expert trust your Good Judgment Rather than mere fanatism. Zbignew Brezinski is absolute right given his experience in manners of this context, Congressman Murphy people with a clear unbias mindset, support what they belief is best for this time. Obama is always leading with suggestions on what he stands for and belief and the others will merely come latter with no substantiative proposal but to seek little media attention to criticize his plans. ( except EDward with the first Healthcare Plan). My question is what make them think they have a better apreciation of the situation when none of them did not read the Intelligence report prior to Voting to authorize it, that's really outrageous.No good leadership exhibition onemore time clear exhibiton of fanatism and followers not Leaders.
    President Obama 2008 (Best judgment)
    V.P Hillary Clinton
    Secretary of state Joe Biden

    September 13, 2007 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
  21. Nai, Nairobi, Africa

    'Providing a much-needed boost to a candidate whose judgment in international affairs has been called into question'
    now when you say judgment, am not sure this is from an informed view point. Of the top Democratic candidates, whose judgment so far has come to pass? Obama's of course. way back before the war in Iraq he not only opposed the war but accurately described what is happening now in Iraq, while all the MSM including yourselves (CNN) supported Bush without interrogating him nor the intelligence reports that showed that the war was dumb and that the real battle field should have been Afghanstan where Al-Qaeda was and still is growing stronger.

    Do not borrow blindly the jabs that opponents throw at a man- in their rash to pander to conventional thinkers-whose judgment in international affairs so far has proved so prophetic if not plain commonsense that was available to anyone who dared read the inteliigence reports then. The media in America has failed its watchdog role on behalf of the masses and needs to revist the reason they exist.

    If anything, what has so far happened in Iraq, looked at against what Obama said then, lets one conclude that commonsense is not entirely common not when you read the MSM and the so called experienced candidates and the pundit conventional thinkers in DC.

    September 13, 2007 05:09 am at 5:09 am |
  22. Matt, coppell, tx

    I am sooooo hoping for a Clinton/Obama ticket, or an Obama/Edwards. Either of those are unbeatable.

    September 13, 2007 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  23. George, Denver, CO

    Wow! so Obama is hooking up with the Z man. hope he knows what a NEO-CON globalist/NWO puppeteer that Zbigniew Brezinski is (along with Kissinger). Obama just lost his soul.

    September 13, 2007 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  24. Bob, Long Beach, CA

    Who in their right mind wants anyone from the Carter years backing them??

    September 13, 2007 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  25. Bryan Barash, Selden, NY

    It's great that Obama is denouncing war with Iran, directly and unequivocally. That's the kind of leadership we need in this country.

    September 13, 2007 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
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