August 5th, 2007
02:09 PM ET
11 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. Dan, TX

    Obama's problem is that he isn't being realisitic about how the news media reduces everything to sound bites. One sentence taken out of context will always be used to define him. Obama hasn't learned that he will never be quoted in context. It is naive of him to not make every sentence "context proof". You do that by avoiding the issues, not facing them honestly and head on. How can you discuss an issue in 30 sec or less? That is what the debates are about. Not much of a way to communicate.

    Anyone who says something negative about a candidate without getting the whole story is not part of the solution. Very few of us take the time to get the whole story.

    August 5, 2007 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  2. Gregg Heacock, Santa Monica, CA

    Mitt Romney either has a problem with perception or hopes that he can create such a problem for his audience. Obama said that it is time to talk directly to those we have demonized as "the enemy." Mitt's "sitting down . . . tea" is an attempt to make a show of strength into a sign of weakness. Then, he characterizes Obama's willingness to attack al Qaeda in Pakistan as they prepare their assault upon Afghanistan as "bombing our allies." We would expect Pakistan, our allie, to help us in this venture. If Mitt does not recognize leadership when he sees it, Republicans would do well to support a more forthright candidate to oppose Barack in the general election.

    August 5, 2007 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  3. Jim, MO

    Giuliani spoke about Hope, Romney spoke about projecting our values, they all agreed that high value terrorist targets in pakistan should be taken out if it means we go it alone. Is it just me or are the republican candidates sounding like Obama each time. The funny thing is that they criticize him for talking about these bold positions but agree with him in the policy aspect. Obama is definately changing the debate in american politics.

    August 5, 2007 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  4. C.LyONs, New York, NY

    We see politicians and the media trying to misconstrue Obama's words to 1) Sell a story in a rather dull "talking head" prez race, 2)Trying to play up on Obama's inexperience to raise their leadership platforms....ALL BS....we have someone for a chance offering up very real progresive politics and all th other pols are trying to all you "in the pocket" voters....these are different times and we need to also think's up to us as a nation to call this BS on the pols and truly take this country into the next century.....

    August 5, 2007 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  5. Wallace, Philly PA

    Most of the comments on here prove that Americans do not read. The people that have jumped Obama's ship are prime examples. Idiots!

    August 5, 2007 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  6. Gil, Chicago IL

    I agree with Mitt Romney, Barak Hussein Obama is just making a fool of himself. Talk with the enemies and bomb the allies? Is that Obama's notion or understanding of diplomacy?
    He's gone from dumb to dumber.

    August 5, 2007 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  7. Ryan, Provo, UT

    I have to admit, while I'm a strong Obama supporter, his ideas for unilateral action in Pakistan aren't my favorite. Pakistan is barely holding back the militants as it is, we don't need to reduce Musharraf's credibility in the eyes of his people any more than it already has been. Pakistan needs to remain an "equal" partner and it seems to me that taking action without their permission would violate their trust.

    But we're talking about hypothetical actions that are years away. If and when Barack becomes president, the world could be a very different place, so I'm not sure how relevant this all is. As far as his other "controversial" statements go, I think they've been a breath of fresh air that represent a sensible, ethical philosophy rather than an indication of a lack of experience.

    August 5, 2007 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  8. DAn

    Just goes to show how inside the box people like Romney are. Everyone jumps on Obama for having an original idea. What a joke.

    August 6, 2007 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  9. Tricia M Charlottetown PEI

    At first I saw Obama in a very positive light. However, in the last month he's become his own worst enemy.

    He's all over the map. Him an Romney are looking alot alike. Two Candidates who either can't decide which side of the issues they are on or forget which side they are on.

    August 6, 2007 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  10. J.P., Madison, WI

    Hearty congratulations to Senator Obama for becoming the leading candidate for Republican Party's nomination for president in 2008. Losers only take shots at the man in front.

    August 6, 2007 01:37 am at 1:37 am |
  11. Ali A. Akbar, Fort Worth, Texas

    I laughed. Hard... and I don't like Romney.

    August 6, 2007 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  12. queuno

    Obama's comment re Pakistan:

    "There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al Qaeda leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will."

    Obama's comments re meeting with enemy leaders:

    "Question: Would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?

    Obama: I would. And the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them - which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration - is ridiculous. ... And I think that it is a disgrace that we have not spoken to them. We've been talking about Iraq - one of the first things that I would do in terms of moving a diplomatic effort in the region forward is to send a signal that we need to talk to Iran and Syria because they're going to have responsibilities if Iraq collapses."

    If you're going to criticize the criticism, at least acknowledge what Obama said.

    It's sad to say, but he makes Dubya circa 1999 seem experienced.

    August 6, 2007 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  13. John, Simi Valley CA

    Ronald Reagan sat down with Mikhail Gorbachev. Richard Nixon opened the door to China. Franklin Roosevelt allied with Stalin.

    Romney should look in the mirror if he is concerned about conflicting points of view.

    August 6, 2007 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  14. Matsukhu Mwisunji, Nairobi, Kenya

    Can Romney say what his plan for fighting terror would be? Serenading Pakistan for harbouring terror groups doesn't sound like a great option.

    August 6, 2007 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  15. Matt, from the al Anbar province of Iraq

    So I guess we, the readers and voters, really do just here a comment or two about a position and take it at face value. The way I see it is Barack Obama has taken a very agressive foreign policy strategy with both substance and the change we need. All the democrats that have been calling him naive and inexperienced are kicking themselves because they didn't say it first or are scared to say something meaningful. I would really like to hear Clinton, Dodd or Edwards talk about what they would do about a country that either can't handle or won't handle the formally government funded Taliban and al Qaeda. Romney is just trying to get a sound bite from the whole thing. I don't remember Obama ever saying he would "invade" Pakistan, but he did say he would act on "actionable intelligence". That doesn't mean going to war with Pakistan, but it does mean attacking the terrorist that Pakistan is failing to rid itself from. You can very easily use guided munitions or missles to get the job done. Like I said, he has a very sgressive foreign policy, which is something this country and the world needs after the past few years.

    August 6, 2007 02:58 am at 2:58 am |
  16. Ken White, Sonoma County, Calif.

    Romney has the best line of the campaign so far...I hope his religiosity does not knock him from the race. I am independent but I find this guy very appealing. After what we have been putting up with for so many years now, it feels good to see someone with matter-of-fact intelligence rather than concocted intelligence...or, as is most often the case...NO intelligence whatsoever.

    August 6, 2007 03:10 am at 3:10 am |
  17. The Truth, Naperville, IL

    People fear what they don't understand, hate what they can't conquer I guess it's the theory of man. Senator Obama has a certain presence about himself that other canidates lack. He has the ability to bring this country together. I'm not saying that his policies are perfect but I will say this meeting with dictators to discuss relevant issues doesn't make him naive; it actually shows his intelligence.

    August 6, 2007 04:21 am at 4:21 am |
  18. Gary, Niagara Falls, NY

    With all the stupid things that are coming out of Obama's mouth as of late, all I can say is "Thank you Oprah Winfrey for inflicting us with this idiot." This man would not have probably not had his popularity boosted to the level it is with out the help of Oprah's easily led and equally naive, dough-headded fan base. I suspect Obama is also getting his policy advice from Oprah. Think about it - to the thugish dictators of the world, "Can't we just talk?" Where do you think such naivete came frome? Smooth-talking Obama is proving to be a con just like "A million little pieces" and "The Secret," two recent Oprah favorites.

    August 6, 2007 05:10 am at 5:10 am |
  19. who givs a damn anymore?

    barack looks like the president from 24, so ill probably end up voting for him

    August 6, 2007 06:01 am at 6:01 am |
  20. David Gillis, Nassau Bay, TX

    Jamie Crawford indulges in a brazen display of bias as she waters down Obama's comments to make them more palatable to readers, at the cost of her integrity. CNN scores again on the dark side of the journalistic ledger.

    August 6, 2007 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  21. Rod Allan

    It just so happens I totally agree with Obama's comments. He hasn't committed to anything he is just putting options out on the table. As a republican I am totally fed up with my partys personal agendas and its refreshing to see someone else willing to start with new ideas. Whatever you say about Obama the man is clearly intelligent and when he makes a decision its going to be well researched and he is going to make the decision he feels is best. Even if we don't agree with it this is a big improvement over our current president.

    August 6, 2007 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  22. Winston

    My only goal is to understand what the hell happened to us after a few generations. You guys and gals are all brainwashed to pick from a pre determined line up of "front" runner candidates.

    None of them have anything brilliant other than the same philosophy. You all need to quit being influenced by TV and think about truth and whats right. You are going to send us straight to hell arguing about "1st" runner candidates. You all are already forcing many of us to move our business and families to other countries. Unless you Americans can reverse your trends, you WILL live in poverty as the INFORMED ones will be gone with their money and jobs.

    August 6, 2007 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  23. Bruce Taylor,Sacramento,CA

    I beg your pardon but Senator Obama DID NOT say he would speak to possible enemy leaders without pre-condition.
    I watched the debate and I have read the transcripts. A retraction of false reporting is in order.
    I have no idea what agenda is being perpetuated but whatever it is it is based on a manipulation of the truth.

    August 6, 2007 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  24. Jason McCann, Spring, TX

    George W. Bush himself said he would invade Pakistan if actionable intelligience warranted it. I do not see the difference between what Bush said and what Barack Obama said. By the way, I am an undecided independant voter.

    August 6, 2007 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  25. Walters, A

    Can anyone take Romney serious, this inconsistent political idiot. Someone who has changed positions on many serious issues even to the extent of going against his religious doctrine when it came to the abortion, when running for Gov, suddenly became pro-life as a republican contender. He even is not well acquainted with the facts when he said in the first Republican debate that pres. Bush was right to invade Iraq because Saddam had refused to let the UN inspectors. I was supprised that nobody in the media corrected him on this one. Gov Romney needs to read the facts correctly before vying for office. This nation deserves better than this, thank u.

    August 6, 2007 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
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