August 5th, 2007
02:09 PM ET
12 years ago

Obama 'gone from Jane Fonda to Dr. Strangelove'

Obama drew fire on Sunday for some of his recent remarks

(CNN)–Senator Barack Obama drew criticism from Republican presidential candidates over his recent comments over how he would shift the focus of the war on terror from Iraq to Pakistan.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney said Obama has been inconsistent in his recent comments. "You look at that Democratic debate, I had to laugh at what I saw Barack Obama do," Romney said in reference to the CNN/You Tube debate last month in South Carolina. "I mean in one week he went from saying he's going to sit down, you know, for tea, with our enemies, but then he's going to bomb our allies. I mean he's gone from Jane Fonda to Dr. Strangelove in one week."

In that debate, Obama had said that he would be willing to meet with the leaders of rogue governments like Cuba, Venezuela, and Iran without pre-condition. In a speech delivered last week in Washington, D.C., Obama said the U.S. must be ready to take military action inside Pakistan to dismantle terrorist networks.

Romney, and the 8 other GOP candidates were debating on the campus of Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

–CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Iowa • Mitt Romney • Race to '08
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. av3, Washington DC





    August 6, 2007 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  2. Anonymous

    "Quite simply…

    Romney should learn to read and comprehend… Obama did not say he would sit down with tea… he answered a question about willingness to meet with people America imports most of its oil from… and did not say he would bomb pakistan. He said he would take out targets in those non governed areas if the pakistani government chooses not to… Both of those positions are critical and pragmatic if one wants to results in American foreign policy.

    Romney should go read a book and take some comprehension lessons."

    You need to learn the concept of an analogy for humor sake...

    August 6, 2007 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  3. don

    right on. Obama would be a disaster given his recent comments. i would meet with our enemies chavez and ahbmedinedjad, but I would bomb our arguably most important ally in the war on terror. is he nuts? clearly he is simply playing politics and not thinking about what he is saying.

    as to lens' simplistic post saying romney would allow pakistan to harbour terrorists, you are obviously misinformed. Pakistan just send thousands of troops to fight al quaeda and is doing what they can. if you bomb them, musharaff gets the boot and etremists take over which would force us to basically go to war with them as well or just let the radicals allow al queada to grow unfettered. you have to weigh and balance the options. you obviously have not thought through any of those.

    romney realizes that words have consequences as as a presidential candidate you don't go around throwing out hypothetical comments like that. romney is more smart and tactical than obama ever will be. what has obama done that would need such tactical and executive whit? oh, wait he was a member of the state legislature, wow...... they work like a month out of the year right? Definetly experienced to run the largest corporation in the world, the United States.

    August 6, 2007 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  4. Millie, Indiana have my vote, I will never vote Republican again! The country is completely hosed thanks to GB.

    August 6, 2007 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  5. mconnors LIC NY

    Watch frontline- there are tribal areas of Waziristan in Pakistan on the border of Afghanistan where the Pakistani government won't venture and taliban are regrouping. These tribes are as much and enemy to Musharraf as us. They are drawing a lot of support from Iraq because we are occupying that nation and destroyed it in the process. Borack is absolutely correct. Conservatives are once again proven totally incompetant.

    August 6, 2007 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  6. Ruth Lambert

    Obama should shut his big mouth before he has to eat his words. Why would anyone vote for just a head strong person. we sure don't need another war lord in Washington for another 4 yrs. His actions puts you in mind of a spoiled child trying to impress somebody. He leaves a lot to be desired

    August 6, 2007 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  7. Fred, San Francisco

    Anyone who thinks General Musharraf and Pakistan is our ally is the naive one. Pakistan gives the appearance of being an ally because the US Government told them they would be bombed back to the Stone Age if they did not agree with us.

    But if we look back in history, General Musharraf overthrew a democratically elected Prime Minister. Now we back him. The US only made a token comment about democracy when the coup took place and it was not to restore the PM. Now some eight years later, Musharraf is going to be voted out of office and I would bet my next pay check (I only get paid once a month) that Pakistan will stop giving the appearance of being our ally once that takes place.

    First off, the US is not the world’s big brother and we should stop trying to be. But since the politicians are not going to listen to that sound advice, we should lead by example and not by force. Obama is actually saying the right thing in wanting to sit down with other countries we do not agree with. Besides, Cuba is the way it is because of the United States, not because of Castro. Venezuela does not like us because we try to take advantage of poor countries. Iran does not care for us because we back Israel and we are making a mess of the Middle East. Our standing in the world arena is our own fault. Obama simply said he would sit down to try to fix that. What’s naive about that?

    I think we should look at the bigger problem in that why is it that these people/groups don’t like the US? It is not because we deliver love around the world or spread democracy. There is something we are doing to them to give them the impression that they have to defend themselves by any means necessary. It is much deeper than they not agreeing with our foreign policy. Get to the root, fix the problem.

    August 6, 2007 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  8. Edgar Montrose, St Louis, Mo

    Obama would still be an unknown except that an Illinois republican senator, Fitzgerald, retired. Obama had not served 2 years when the media went orgasmic over him out of desperation. I'm from illinois and will NOT vote for him.

    August 6, 2007 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  9. Doug, Indianapolis, Indiana

    Does this man have any relationship with the truth? Can't he recall week-old quotes with a modicum of accuracy? Must he resort to such cheap tactics like this and posing with the "No Osama . . ." sign like he did last week.

    August 6, 2007 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  10. David, Gilbert Arizona

    Obama is not naive for having a policy of striking Al Qaeda interests inside Pakistan, given reliable intelegent information, with or without Pakistan consent. This mindset has been echoed by George Bush.

    Obama is naive thinking the U.S. news media would not reduce the concept to a single sound byte, making his comments misleading. Obama shows his inexperience by addressing the American voter, who has an attention span of 14 seconds, as someone who can comprehend the difference between taking action on an enemy and attacking an allied government. This is where Obama is lacking. He is not prepared for the realities of having his words misquoted and spun in every direction. Obama would do well to remember most voters are not going to read past the headlines.

    Mitt, on the other hand, is not naive at all. Romney is simply an idiot. He made a comment during one of the GOP debates regarding Al Qaeda and terrorists say, "they've come together as Shia and Sunni and Hezbollah and Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda." Obviously Mitt has no clue what he's talking about. Shia and Sunni are elements within the Islamic religion, not unlike Babtists and Methodists are elements in the Christian religion. Shia and Sunnis date all the way back to the early times of Islam.

    Mitt is the last person that should be point out someone elses mistakes.

    August 6, 2007 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  11. Juanito, Washington, DC

    Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney claimed during an August 5 debate aired on ABC's This Week that Sen. Barack Obama "went from going to sit down to tea with our enemies, but then he's going to bomb our allies. I mean, he's gone from Jane Fonda to Dr. Strangelove in one week."
    His reference to Dr. Strangelove was an attack on Obama apparently for saying during an August 1 speech that "if we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets" in Pakistan, "and President Musharraf won't act, we will."
    In fact, in the course of the very same debate, Romney and Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani both acknowledged that they agree that a president should retain the option of attacking terrorists within the territory of an ally.

    August 6, 2007 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  12. memon SC

    Its nothing but arogance when you talk about attacking Pakistan. What do you know about Pakistan. If there are some bad people in Pakistan that means you attack Pakistan?? how ideotic that is. Would you attack USA because there are bad people here too–Ideotic
    When are we going to learn from Bush's mistakes and not attack other countries and create more hate and enemies. Dont we have enough of those.

    August 6, 2007 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  13. Lance, Monrovia, CA

    The idea that we could somehow use nukes to passify terrorists is laughable at best, criminal at worst. Nuclear deterence works against massive infastructures that can be destroyed. A terrorist with some dynamite, nails and a laptop can be over a border in minutes, why is he going to care who you nuke? By talking about it, or worse by doing it, you're serving the terrorist's desire to spread havok and yes, terror.

    That's why Barrack Obama was saying that he would not use nukes against terrorist targets in Pakistan or elsewhere. That would be the preverbial using a bazooka on a cockroach. Obama doesn't deserve to be attacked for his statement. He was, as he has consistantly been, the only candidate to actually speak common sense instead of blind propaganda.

    Barrack Obama is blunt, he makes sense, and because he's not using politik speak 24/7 other candidates think they can attack him for his words. What they have failed to yet is the power of such common sense statements and how they reflect my own and hopefully many others beliefs.

    They're trying to swift boat him by twisting his words but it won't work because the man knows how to stand up for himself.

    Obama was absolutely right about what he said both concerning Pakistan and also at the YouTube debate about when to talk to world leaders. Look at what he said in context. Of course you have to do groundwork before you meet with any leader good or bad. He wasn’t speaking of blindly “having them over for tea.” He was saying the time for blustering and non-communication is past, which is exactly what Hilary has said in the past. He simply said it more effectively and much more bluntly.

    She and other critics are just pandering and trying to pick a fight because they know he's gaining. To his credit, Obama hasn’t lay down on this issue, he’s been swinging full force back at Clinton, proving that he’s got the mettle that Kerry lacked.

    Kerry would have let himself get tagged a whimp, but Obama, no way is that dude a wimp. Look at him, he’s fierce, he’s determined, and the more the country knows about him, the more he’s going to be unstoppable.

    Clinton is resting on her laurels, plain and simple. She is content with the status quo and frankly that scares me silly. We need a president in office that can undo the mass damage that has been done by Bush. Clinton would be "okay." She would not inspire, she would lead those who like her but she would not lead the nation, which includes both friend and foe.

    I rejoice at Obama because I feel like he could bring the fractured nation and the fractured world together in some very important ways.

    August 6, 2007 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  14. Jason, Newburgh, NY

    "Its nothing but arogance when you talk about attacking Pakistan. What do you know about Pakistan. If there are some bad people in Pakistan that means you attack Pakistan?? how ideotic that is. Would you attack USA because there are bad people here too–Ideotic
    When are we going to learn from Bush’s mistakes and not attack other countries and create more hate and enemies. Dont we have enough of those."

    To memon

    Are you being serious? If a country is harboring the same organized that killed over 3000 innocent people on US soil, and will probably not hesitate to do the same thing, or even worse, should we just let them be and give them more time to plot up an even more deadly attack on us?

    August 7, 2007 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  15. Darlene, Monroeville PA

    I happen to love and admire Romney's plan for America. And just because he's not dumb enough to grace dictators with a presidential visit, it doesn't mean that he plans to "ignore them." He plans on visiting and strengthening relationships with our ALLIES first, which I happen to think is very wise. As for being a "flip-flopper," it's being WAY overplayed. As Gov. of Mass., he promised not to touch the laws already in place concerning gay marriage and abortion, even though he personally felt it was wrong. Sort of an "I won't endorse it, but I won't attack what you've already created" approach for the sake of making progress in other areas (like eliminating Mass.'s budget deficit and enabling EVERYONE to get affordable health insurance.) He was clear about it all from the very beginning. Anyway, he's a great man with a great vision of what America needs. I know I'm in a room full of Democrats, but I had to get it out there.

    August 24, 2007 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
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