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