November 27th, 2007
03:00 PM ET
11 years ago

Obama outlines foreign policy vision

Obama talked foreign policy Tuesday in New Hampshire.

PORTSMOUTH, New Hampshire (CNN) - Seeking to blunt mounting criticism by rival campaigns of his foreign policy credentials, Sen. Barack Obama outlined his international vision Tuesday in New Hampshire surrounded by some of the biggest names in diplomacy – including several who served in the Clinton administration.

Speaking at the latest in a series of foreign policy-themed events designed to address those attacks, the Democratic presidential candidate never mentioned frontrunner Hillary Clinton by name. But he took a dig at the foreign policy record of longtime Washington veterans like Vice President Dick Cheney that seemed to serve as a swipe at the New York senator, who has emphasized her years of government experience: “Their experience has not led to good judgment.”

Clinton’s campaign responded to the remarks by re-stating their recent mantra: that Obama is just too untested for the presidency. Voters will have to decide whether Obama, who “would have less experience than any President since World War II, has the strength and experience to be the next president,” said Clinton spokesman Phil Singer in a statement. Clinton, he added, “is ready to lead starting on Day One.”

Meanwhile, Harvard professor and Pulitzer prize winner Samantha Power, a campaign adviser, drew an unstated contrast with Clinton, reminding the audience of the Illinois senator's public stand against the Iraq war long before it began.

"I think it's really important to go back and remember that moment, just how popular that war was. Just the kind of political risk, a political candidate was taking," Power told the crowd.

"It was more important for Barack Obama to exercise judgment and to look at the facts and to say ' you know what, this doesn't sound right,'" she added, "That was a politically unpopular act as well as an unconventional act." Other foreign policy experts on hand included former Clinton administration officials like national security adviser Tony Lake and assistant secretary of State for African affairs Susan Rice.

The Illinois senator vowed to adopt a policy of aggressive diplomacy and transparency. "Openness is an important part of the leadership I offer because policies made in the shadows don't stand up well to sunlight," he told the crowd.

Obama said he would increase pressure on Iran to end its nuclear program, although he did not offer specifics on what form those measures might take. He also said the United States needed to take drastic action to further reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and help developing nations to do the same.

- CNN's Sareena Dalla and Rebecca Sinderbrand

soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. dmw, roeland park, ks

    Would you PLEASE stop talking about I am the only one running for President who was against the war...GOD what a broken record. Obama was not even a Senator at the time. He has, in the meantime voted for all war funding since he has been in the Senate.

    He is such a hypocrite!

    November 27, 2007 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  2. Will, Decatur GA

    I still don't understand what people have against talking to other countries, even if their leaders are immoral and despotic.

    Obama has firmly put himself in the right here. It's one thing to support the Northern Alliance against the Taliban, but we don't get anywhere by pretending that there's a big hole where Iran is on a map.

    We talked to the Soviet Union, right?

    November 27, 2007 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  3. Surrealist, Fort Myers, FL

    That is a fact he did not vote to allow Bush the authority to invade Iraq. Was it poise, thought, desire of more facts–or simply a failure to act on what appeared (falsely we have found) to be actionable information that the Iraqi government was aggresively manufacturing and preparing to deploy weapons of mass destruction? Who knows, I tend to go with the latter.

    November 27, 2007 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  4. anonymous, Washington, DC

    I don't care Mr. Harvard Professor that Obama was against the war in Iraq. What does that prove now? We're already in Iraq. What is he going to do now? What is his plan of action? Don't turn and criticize others. Spend more time on his plans and policies rather than trying to defend every remark from other candidates.

    November 27, 2007 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  5. xtina chicago IL

    Anybody can have a vision. I visualize less Congressional spending and lower taxes. But unfortunately, Obama doesn't have any executive experience. Being a legislator is sad preparation for President.

    November 27, 2007 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  6. Independent in IA

    Note that he had those who served during the Clinton Admin. around's a cinch he couldn't come up with anything original...he doesn't have the experience yet. God help this nation if he tries for O.J.T.

    November 27, 2007 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  7. Christian, Tampa FL

    Ever since Obama said that he would personally meet with our enemies, I've felt that he has the best ideas on foreign policy. We need a President who understands that we don't have the position in the world that we once did and that any progress that will be made with Iran (among others) will come with direct engagement.

    November 27, 2007 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  8. Cosme, Tx.

    I am starting to like Obama more little by little especially the part of his no vote on the war in Iraq & greenhouse gas. I have always voted democrat but Clinton just dose nothing for me I feel it will be like having Bill all over again. No action on Rwanda a national disgrace in my opinion, and very little action on osama.

    November 27, 2007 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  9. Nita - SA - TX

    Yeah that sums it up: Note that he had those who served during the Clinton Admin. around him…it's a cinch he couldn't come up with anything original. For a moment there I thought he would bring up those influetinal years in Indonesia.

    November 27, 2007 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  10. tired of corruption LV

    The 2 people who are running for president that have the LEAST amount of experience as an elected official are Clinton & Edwards.

    His early opposition to the Iraq invasion is very relevant. It shows his good judgement. His ability to reason and dig through the mire, even though he was not privvy to the NIE report.

    Unlike Clinton and Edwards who did not even bother to read the report and voted to send our soldiers to be killed or maimed. That is how little those two thought of our brave soldiers. There votes were self-serving and showed very poor judgement.

    And to add to that poor judgement, Clinton again voted to give Bush the authority to do the same in Iran.

    November 27, 2007 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  11. Ryan, New Jersey

    I laugh every time the Clinton campaign says, "He just doesn't have the experience we do." It's akin to Cheney still going on the Sunday talk shows and swearing up and down that Saddam had WMDs. Everyone knows it isn't true! Clinton gets her so called experience from what? A stint as first-lady during a largely crisis-less presidency? A stint as senator of a state she isn't from and was hardly ever in while she was representing it? I don't get it? Where's the experience?? The only Democratic nominee who can truly claim any foreign policy experience is Joe Biden! The rest are on a level playing field, and Hillary is just full of it.

    November 27, 2007 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  12. Jaik , chicago, IL

    Clinton has negative experience, and we have had negative experiences with her. She exercises poor judgement and wants to be rewarded. Half a million people are dead and more are maimed because of an authorization for war. She is shady, less so than Guliani, but more so than any Democrat

    November 27, 2007 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  13. Seam, Philly PA

    Hey xtina chicago IL: What candidate do you know of has the kind of executive experience needed to be president? Let me guess............NO ONE.

    November 27, 2007 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  14. Will, Bethesda MD

    A broken record? Really? His decision isa show of his character and his foresight. Also, his votes to support war funding do not make ihm a hypocrite. If he had voted against those bills he would not be standing where he is today. It remains political suicide to do anything that borders on not supporting our armed forces. Despite our feelings for the war it remains a good thing to help fund the war to allow the troops to have the best equipment possible, hopefully making them as safe as possible in this horrible war.

    November 27, 2007 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  15. William

    Samantha Power is paid by Obama campaign. There are lots of people like that who will sell their soul for money.

    November 27, 2007 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  16. Mia, Stafford, VA

    Politicians repeat themselves because there are new people who are starting to listen everyday. For those of us who have been paying attention I can understand your frustration, but I know that many many many people still haven't tuned in yet to the candidates and their stance on various issues.

    Unless a President is going into his/her second term they don't have experience, PERIOD! Let's get off this he doesn't have the experience, are you people blind, Dick Cheney and Rumsfield had all the experience and look where we are NOW.

    Judgement is way more important. Judgement to make good choices, and pick good people is important.

    November 27, 2007 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  17. john, NY,NY

    so what is next OBama? You were against the Iraq war so are you going to say I am not going find way to deal with it as I never supported. I find him like a spoil brat with nothing to show for.

    November 27, 2007 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  18. RalphB

    When you have nothing to run on besides a speech, to an anti-war rally, in 2002 as an Illinois legislator, it's a really sad day when that's a viable presidential candidate.

    This is embarassing.

    November 27, 2007 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  19. Surrealist, Fort Myers, FL

    The President of the United States–is going to fly in to unsecured areas to meet with our enemies (because we know they won't come to Washington). Saying it was dumb...believing it is dumber!!! Look, he may be a real "feel good" candidate. But........

    November 27, 2007 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |

    How come Obama supporters won't realize that having good judgement doesn't mean anything if the voters don't think you have the experience to use your good judgement? I am so tired of everyone saying stuff about good judgement. Come on he is a politician just like everyone else. It was no accident he was not there to vote on the Kyl-Lieberman resolution. He tries to appear as anti-war as possible but this will work against him in the general election if he comes to be the nominee. He will be ripped to shreds.

    November 27, 2007 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  21. J Houston, TX

    I still don't understand what people have against talking to other countries, even if their leaders are immoral and despotic.

    If you are trying to garner support against the US and people are unsure if you're a hero or a lunatic...the fact that they recognize you and respond gives credence to your cause. You legitimize the person by offering them a chance to meet with such a high office individual in your nation. Now you can claim you frighten them, that you are important, that your efforts are working enough to draw attention, that there is hope to get what you want.

    November 27, 2007 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  22. Mike, IL

    Its incredible how arrogant his guy can be. Its easy to be 'against" from the margins when there is limited responsibility. The only time he could vote on a related matter, he just missed the vote.

    Dr. Samantha Power is certainly a young promising scholar interested in peace and human rights. However, here we talk about the best candidate to be the President of the United States not the Secretary-General of United Nations. Obama can compete for that position.

    November 27, 2007 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  23. Michelle D. - Atlanta, GA

    What I'm afraid of is INEXPERIENCE and STUPIDITY in our leaders. Are any of them REALLY qualified (either party)???

    I like to idea of diplomacy over the "cowboy mentality". But Obama spoke before he engaged his brain when he said he would hold direct talks. He has "people" for that and he should be spending his time doing more important things. Sounds like he needs to learn how to delegate. NOT the sign of a good leader in my book.

    November 27, 2007 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  24. borat osama, des moine, iowa

    OBama's foreign policy? It must be, as he said last week, from his experience at age 6 to 10 during his stay with his stepfather in the muslim country, Indonesia. It must be 40 years out-of-date, and has no relevance to the great ole USA.

    NObama 08.

    November 27, 2007 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  25. Joan, miami, FL

    I do not know that Obama has a foreign policy "vision." For a long time, I thought he is blind.

    November 27, 2007 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
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