April 22nd, 2008
02:05 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama: Carter's Hamas meeting was a 'bad idea'


[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/22/art.carter.jpg caption="Former president Jimmy Carter addressed the media in Jerusalem."]
PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (CNN) - Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama told reporters that it was a “bad idea” for former President Jimmy Carter to meet with exiled militant Hamas leader Khalid Meshaal “without [Hamas] having recognized Israel or renounced terrorism or acknowledged previous agreements.”

“What we're seeing now is that even as President Carter suggests there is a breakthrough, you had some of the same old rhetoric coming out of Hamas representatives with regard to Israel,” Obama said during a stop at a Pittsburgh diner, referencing a statement made Monday by Meshaal that Hamas would not in fact recognize Israel.

“If we are clear about improving the day-to-day lives of Palestinians,” Obama said, “Then I think that will do more than anything to encourage Hamas to renounce violence, rather than simply sitting down with them.”

Filed under: Pennsylvania
soundoff (109 Responses)
  1. Woohoo!

    I thought he was all for meeting everyone – including enemies of the US?

    April 22, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  2. Shasta

    Oh my God, Obama wants to HELP the people instead of pissing them off? What a crazy notion.

    Let's just bomb them, instead. Silly man...

    April 22, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  3. Uncle Sam

    While not an Obama supporter, I appreciate his comments about Hamas. I wonder whether this will affect their endorsement of him.

    Americans for McCain '08

    April 22, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  4. gerard morei

    Good try Obama, we all know that you are not a very good friend of Israel. Trying to get some republican votes? Keep dreaming.

    April 22, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  5. Mike

    Meeting with Hamas is a bad idea, but meeting with Hugo Chavez is a great one?

    Is this your change you hypocrite?

    April 22, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  6. EX Clinton Supporter

    Obama speaks the truth!
    The makings of a true LEADER!

    April 22, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  7. Paul

    First he is silent, now he is loosing Penn and wants to fix his mistake

    The Obamaniacs seem not to see beyond empty speeches. Have they reflected upon the present and the future of our nation. This election is not about having a good preacher but a Commander-in-Chief in the White House. Otherwise we can have Mr. Wright as Obama's VP
    Vote Democrat- Vote for Hillary

    April 22, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  8. chris isner

    Is it a bad thing that the entire world will cheer the inauguration of President Barack Obama? Or would it be better for us if we continue to be universally despised?

    I have an odd suspicion that if the world liked and respected us again through a president that is universally liked and respected, that somehow we would have far fewer enemies out there intent on harming us. But perhaps my logic is faulty.

    April 22, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  9. Stacy Clarks, TX

    GO OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    THE NEXT PRESIDENT!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 22, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  10. Ca Native

    Obama says talking to Hamas is bad.... yet Obama has repeatedly said he would talk to Iran's leader Ahmadinejad (who recently called Israel a filthy bacteria, questioned the holocost, and supports a Palestine free of the jews).

    What's the difference, Obama?

    April 22, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  11. Richard

    Well, well, well, It appears Obama must have finally gotten the poll back from his campaign that people are not happy with Carter. After he gets the poll then he makes a stand. Did you not already say that you would sit down with these types? Oh well more Obama spin.

    April 22, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  12. Max Kil

    The good news is that Hamas recognizes Israel. The other administration did not manage to get that. Instead of critisizing Mr. Carter we need to capitalize on the fact that Hamas recognizes Israel.
    I think he needs to go back to follow up with the deal. It is not a bad idea at all. Israel needs to be recognized by all the its neighbors.

    April 22, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  13. mitch from ark.

    obama's probably right,but, i have to give carter credit ,for trying.it's hard,for the u.s. to mediate ,between israel and palestine,because of our obvious bias towards israel.if we need to speak to the nation supporting hamas,that would be syria.obama has said he wouldn't be afraid,to meet with them.who knows?it's better than waiting for them to wreak havoc upon each other.

    April 22, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |

    I never think it is A BAD IDEA to talk to those who disagree with you. It is not a sign of weakness but of strength and confidence. Even if it does not result in success, that is not a sufficient reason not to try

    April 22, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  15. Sonia CA

    I don't understand WHY we have to defend always Israel?????? wait a minute....... we allow Israel to get nuclear bomb and no one protest about that, Iraq is on its way to get the same and we are shaking and upset???? why?? are the people from israel different than the Iraquis?? very unfair and very wrong.

    April 22, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  16. Benjamin

    Why is this such a bad idea? According to Obama, he would meet with every single one of America's enemies and aggressors without ANY preconditions. According to Obama, the Iranian President can deny Isreal exists, deny the holocaust ever happened, can refuse to stop uranium enrichment and nuclear development, and still Obama would meet with him.

    April 22, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  17. Dan, IL

    Wasn't it Obama's strategy to sit down and "talk" with a rogue country a few months ago? North Korea? Sensing a effort on his part to appear tough – what a surprise.

    If elected, his foreign policy will be all over the board. As the nation's most liberal senator he has no set principles or moral guidelines in relation to life and death. His voting record proves this out.

    April 22, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  18. Kris from AZ

    Obama is right. PA we need this guy as president.

    April 22, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  19. Cameron

    Obama is wrong on this one...What have Bush and Israel achieved by not talking to Hamas, the democratically-elected government of Palestinian Authority? Absolutely nothing. More innocents on both side have died and there has been no progress towards peace.

    Carter achieved more in one week than Rice has in four years!

    April 22, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  20. Jan

    Am I having a blonde moment or didn't Obama say in several of his
    speeches that we should sit down and talk with these people? And
    he was the one thtat was going to do just that.

    April 22, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  21. Steve

    The problem I have with Obama saying this is where do you draw the line in who you meet wit hand who you don't? So you won't meet with Hamas, but the Iranian President (his name I'm not even going to attempt to spell) is OK to meet with. The same man who has shown bigotry to the same people that Hamas does. It just doesn't make sense to me.

    April 22, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  22. ***AMERICAN***

    Agree. Jimmy didn't do good.

    April 22, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  23. Gabe Polson, The Woodlands,TX

    Wait. Was it not Obama who said in several debates that he would meet with these leaders? Now he is criticizing President Carter for doing just that?

    What is with this guy?

    Sorry, but God help us all should he become the nominee.

    April 22, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  24. James Friel

    Bottom line, Obama does not have a clue about what to do about anything, if he wins the Democratic nomination. You have to wonder
    if his view is his own or what his handlers tell him to say. To say
    anything bad about Jimmy Carter and his efforts to talk to Hamas
    show how ignorant he is. But he will talk to Hugo Chavez and the president of Iran,Duh! I just hope people see how shallow this man really is, not presidential material at all. People, you voted for
    George Bush, do not be fooled again.

    April 22, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  25. Kathleen

    I think all of you have it wrong about Obama. Obama just will not sit down and talk to our enemies at any point in time. There would have to be a means to justification for this to happen at all depending on the circumstances. His statement about Hamas proves this. Judgement is an important thing to consider before making the move to sit down and talk. Sometimes it is better not to. Other ways can result in a better outcome.

    April 22, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
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