November 27th, 2007
03:00 PM ET
10 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. VoiceForTheUniter

    You guys commenting that all Obama has to run on is war opposition know absolutely nothing about him.
    At least the victims of the clinton brainwash are now acknowledging his chances of winning.

    Godspeed Barack.

    November 27, 2007 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  2. skw, Des Moines, IA

    Noted the point of Clinton's "negative" experience and Obama's lack of it. Why are the Democratic voters not leaning toward Biden who's been a senator since the 70's and the head of the foreign affairs committee for some time? It seems experience really isn't that big of a deal.

    November 27, 2007 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  3. stan pitts p.a

    Being president of the united states does require you to be a genius as we now know, it requires that you surround yourself with the best political team, with experience and obama with good judgement to lead, hillary votes with the republicans for iraq and now for potetially war with iran, she lacks good judgement and is highly inexperienced enough to think that voters are gonna vote for her based on her husbands record, she has consistently tried to campaign on her husbands record as she has none of her own!!!

    November 27, 2007 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  4. Pete Illy, Chicago, Illinois

    I continue to hear Obama showcase his opposition to the Iraq War as a badge of change and honor! Can we really take this seriously? Obama was a State Senator from Illinois at the time! Being in Chicago at the time, never once did I hear the infamous Obama opposition to the Iraq War. Obama's opposition to the Iraq War is not based off of principle, since he was never relevant to the decision-making process in the first place. It takes more character to stand by one's vote when history deems it unpopular and negative political consequences ensue (As Clinton is doing despite the consequences from the Liberal Base) than to proudly assert a popular position at a time when there are no adverse political consequences at all.

    November 27, 2007 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  5. Phil Smith, Denver, Colorado

    So...uh...what's the man's proposed foreign policy? Instead, CNN focuses on the tit-for-tat claptrap going on between Obama and Clinton. So what? This is par for the course and doesn't help me as a voter.

    November 27, 2007 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  6. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Experience, experiment, this country has seen both through the Bush administration. This country needs a CHANGE.

    November 27, 2007 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  7. Kia, Atlanta, GA

    Good judgment trumps "experience," bad judgment, and no true political stance with me any day!

    November 27, 2007 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  8. Glen Parker, Glendora, CA

    Barack Obama with less than 3years in the Senate has less expeience than any president since Abraham Linclon. (Lincoln had only one term in the house)
    George W. Bush served only three years out of the four-year term as governer of texas. Judgement or experience?

    November 27, 2007 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  9. Brad, Stockton, CA

    It's time for someone with little or no experience; real claims to fraudulent experience and fraudulent claims to real experience are the problems in Washington – the "experienced" people have been there far too long already and our country is in worse shape because of their "experience."

    November 27, 2007 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  10. Ron Nebraska

    I'll take Obamas' candor, integrity, intellect, and sound decision making ability over any of the career politicians trying to manipulate their way to the job. This time in our history requires the best choice.

    November 27, 2007 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  11. Michael Watterson, Sioux City, IA

    Obama 08

    Barack is the only candidate that can lead is in the right direction.
    He has the experience!!
    He is the right person for the job!!

    Obama 08

    November 27, 2007 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  12. Craig Abresch, Salisbury, MD

    If you are really going to vote based on the level of a candidate's experience then the choice has to be between Biden, and Kucinich. Compared to these folks Hillary has virtually NO experience. Neither does Obama.

    But experience isn't the only factor that need be fact, I challenge the assertion that experience is the prime attribute necessary for the presidency. Good judgment, based on facts and sound reasoning (not just hyperbole and rhetoric), a belief in people–citizens as well as non-citizens, the ability to entrust others with responsibility and to let-go and NOT micro-manage, a firm understanding of the constitutional mandate to 'protect and serve;...these are a few of the things that really matter. Experience, as a first-lady, simply isn't experience as the executive officer of the United States. Experience as an elected official is helpful, especially in navigating the dark channels of the legislative machinery, but I much prefer the kind of experience that shows that a candidate has a grasp of what it means to live as an ordinary person–this is the kind of person most likely to have genuine empathy for the conditions we Americans face on a daily basis.

    I have not made up my mind on who I will vote for, but I have decided who I will NOT vote for.

    CA of Salisbury

    November 27, 2007 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  13. Kim, Peabody MA

    So, let me get this straight...

    1) Obama refused to pay respect to our flag and our troops by placing his hand over his heart during the pledge of allegiance.

    2) He want to negotiate with our enemies vs. our allies

    3) Says he has foreign policy experience for he lived overseas at the age of 10

    Check out:

    November 27, 2007 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  14. Bea, Hoboken, NJ

    Bla, bla, bla........

    How many times is this guy going to say that he was against the war in Iraq? He only got into the US senate less than 3 years ago and he thinks that he's ready to be president????

    Where was he when the senate voted on the Iran resolution? Oh yeah, campaigning in NH. Supposedly Reid didn't give him enough warning, the funny thing though, is that the other "presidentials" showed up to vote (except Mccain, another one who should explain his absence since he's such a big fan of the war).

    Obama, come back in 8 years when you actually have some gravitas!

    November 27, 2007 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  15. Mo, New York, New York

    Senator Obama has shown the best foreign policy judgment of any candidate in the field. He vocally opposed the war in Iraq at great political risk to himself. He has shown an understanding of the need to preserve and strengthen American global leadership and is the only candidate with the kind of experience necessary to do so. He has the confidence of the leading foreign policy thinkers and policy makers on both sides of the aisle. And he's ultimately the best positioned to rebuild U.S. credibility in the world. I don't believe that more Bush-Clinton Era politics will serve American interests at home or abroad – they communicate only 'more of the same' from Washington. For all these reasons, I can't name a better choice for president in '08. Obama has my vote, without a doubt.

    November 27, 2007 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  16. Kenster, San Diego, CA

    Mr Obama has ZERO experience for the capacity he is looking to fill – POTUS!

    Smooth talk and a calm demeanor are only a miniscule part of the requirement that we will place upon our next President.

    Obama is SO lacking in any meaningfull experience that has served to prepare him for the job of leading our Nation to better heights. Period. Oprah Winfrey can campaing for this youngster all day, doesn't change the fact that he isn't ready by a long shot to take the lead and foster change.

    What scares the heck outta me is that the NEXT time we get smashed in the mouth by an agressive nation, he'll cut tail and run. He'll "open more dialogue" to "work it out" as opposed to agressively ensuring we remain free from harm – BEFORE HAND.

    All of you who think peace comes naturally to all nations and that there are none who mean us harm for being who we are are seriously living in a dreamland of hope.

    I have lived overseas, have experienced first hand the way middle eastern nations think, feel, are raised to look at us, and KNOW that we are all NOT cut from the same cloth in terms of how we see the world. You all are worried about a potential candidate that comes from a religion of PEACE....what about the nations who have absolute religions of destruction and annihilation as thier tennants???

    Many in the world intend the US serious harm – as soon as it can be perpetrated upon us upon our own soil. Mr Obama still lives in the dreamland of peacefull natives, sunny days and no mean people.

    We need a leader whom KNOWS what has to be done and is prepared to immediately take charge of a Nation with many problems – not a guy who's plan is to "formulate a plan" as he goes.

    November 27, 2007 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  17. Daniel, New Hampshire

    Still supporting Hillary.

    Clinton 2008

    November 27, 2007 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  18. Mike

    Better a candidate that has not been tested (or at least has been to a lesser degree) than one who has been tested and found wanting (Clinton either didn't even bother to read the evidence available to her before voting to authorize Bush on Iraq, or did so and voted anyway, an even scarier thought).

    November 28, 2007 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  19. Robert Rochester, MN

    How much foreign policy experience did Bill Clinton have when he took office? The fact is that as long as he surrounds himself with reliable people who do have experience, Obama's own level of foreign policy experience isn't too important.

    November 28, 2007 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  20. fair,washington,dc

    You Obama supporters just don't get it...the Iraq war is the hot topic right now, but if national security becomes the issue( GOP candidates are already attacking Dems cause supposedly the surge is working) before the general election those same things you supporters are touting on here as positives, Obamas against the war, Obama against the Iran resolution, etc..are gonna be big time ammo for a Rudy Guilliani who is running his campaign already on National Security. Right or wrong he's gonna make Obama look weak on National Security and us Democrats will only be able to sit back and hope it doesn't resonate.

    November 28, 2007 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  21. Diane, NYC NY

    It always makes me wonder what kind of mistakes someone might make who is so arrogant as to believe they are 'ready to lead from day one' and 'doesn't need on-the-job-training'.

    Most CEO's need at least 6 months to settle into their new jobs, regardless of whether they have been a CEO before or not.

    Mrs Clinton is clearly delusional about her own abilities and what it takes to be an effective leader.

    November 28, 2007 06:14 am at 6:14 am |
  22. George Albert

    Where is the "vision?" It is not in the article. Did the writer leave it out or does Obama not have a vision. We do know that he supports surrender to terrorists; he said so by saying he would not stop genocide. The man is an empty suit being pushed by the left wing press and by the Surrendercrats.

    November 28, 2007 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  23. John Karsten, Virginia Beach, VA

    This article was about Obama’s foreign policy. I do not see what that big deal is by talking to other countries leaders. I know some of these people are not very nice and have done some terrible things, but does that justify not even having a channel open for dialogue with them. For example, imagine during the cold war if we did not talk to the Soviets. Just because they are our enemy, that should be ALL THE MORE REASON to talk to them. We have conflicting view and we need to sit down and hash out what ever the issue is. The GOP says that if you are not with us you are against us. Only very closed minded people share this view. I think a good leader is a person who leaves his options open. Bush and his crony’s say that Iran is next. Why? If they acquired nuke’s and then used them or sold them, then that would be justification for war. Iran is a member of the ISEA and was an original member. That document said they are entitled procure peaceful nuclear power. If they violate that, then WE have justification, but right now we do not. For any leader to say that we will not talk to a country because they are doing something we don’t like is childish, it really is. My 8 year old son acts like that; I don’t want or need a President like that!

    OBAMA 08!!!

    November 28, 2007 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  24. Julia - Madison, WI

    This is what drives me batsh** crazy about current political "coverage": You tell us that Obama outlined his foreign policy vision - and then tell us virtually nothing about the substance of it. Who cares who was with him, what Hillary's campaign said, and whether he took a swipe at Hillary. Please tell us what the plan IS!!!

    November 28, 2007 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  25. Jake, des moines, ia

    As mentioned by Obama earlier, Obama learned his foreign relation experience during his young years at age 6 t0 10 while in Indonesia. His foreign policy does not worth much.

    November 28, 2007 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
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