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. Liz

    At least Carter is trying. The numbnuts in Washington just don't want to talk to anyone who doesn't share their point of view and I'm not sure you can go forward without all parties at the table. But of course, that's injecting a little common sense, which is sorely lacking with this regime. Have some faith Obama, Carter is a good man and he's been there before. Washington would hate it if he actually made inroads to the stalemate situation they have created.

    April 22, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |


    obama has said repeatedly that he would meet with enemies w/out any preconditions. why is this any different?

    Obama is the same or worse as any other politician.

    I am sick of him and will vote republican if he wins the nomination

    April 22, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  3. A. Harrison

    1. Uhmm.... Carter is basically pledging support to you (since his family is for you OBama).
    2. Wasn't it your idea in the first place to talk to our friends as well as our enemies?
    3. Your actions are not matching your words right now.
    4. Your words aren't matching your wordes either.

    April 22, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  4. Get Real

    I guess it is okay though for Obama's mentor to meet with Khadafy. Hamas endorsed Obama...he just wants to be the one to meet with them, not a wise old man who actually got Eygpt and Israel together. Obama is a rookie.

    April 22, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  5. Harvey in Va

    Obama says a bad idea and both HAMAS AND CARTER support Obama...wonder why interesting politics here

    April 22, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  6. WD

    And yet, isn't that Obama's plan? To sit down and talk with our enemies WITHOUT CONDITIONS? There he goes, changing his stances YET AGAIN! Honestly, where does this man stand on things?!?!??!

    April 22, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  7. Lewis

    People – Obama said he would meet with our enemies provided *at a minimum* certain preparatory gestures are made in return.

    Read beyond the headlines. Obama is a smart man and speaks with a lot of nuanced statements.

    April 22, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  8. nord

    Obama is doing nothing but acting like this was a bad idea, when in fact, he more than likely asked Carter to go over there to do prep work so that Obama can meet with Hamas when he's in office (if he even gets the nomination). After all, this is a guy who says he'll meet with North Korea, Cuba, Iran and all of our other enemies.

    I agree with an earlier post that I read with regard to the Julie Nixon endorsement. "Obama has more tircks up his sleeve than Tricky Dick"....and there all dirty tricks.

    My guess is CNN won't post this message because they publish only "THE GOOD" things about Obama, "THE BAD" things about Hillary...so guess that makes CNN, "AND THE UGLY".

    Good luck America if Obama is the next President, we'll need it. We made the mistake of electing Bush (no experience) gave him a second term and now look at the mess we're in.

    Let's not make the same mistake for the third time by electing Obama or McCain (the Bush wanna-bes)...Vote Hillary if we at least want to see our Country in one piece at the end of her 1st term. .

    April 22, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  9. No McSame

    History all over again. Years ago Andrew Young went to talk to the PLO and wound up being run out of Washington. Years later the PLO leader is on the White House lawn with the leader of Isreal and our leader shaking hands. Talk is good and Mr. Carter I respect you for trying.
    Obama please don't do a Clinton on us so early in the game. The man is trying to save lives the best way that he can.
    Show them both the love of Christ Mr. Carter. Good Job

    April 22, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  10. Mike

    I guess Obama didn't have the judgement to state his view BEFORE Carter met with a terrorist organzation. Everyone has perfect judgement after the fact.

    April 22, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  11. Patrick

    Ok I actually think it is a good idea to talk to everyone. I don't see what's wrong with telling someone to their face, your stated policy towards the country. The worst that can happen is that nothing changes, but the upside is enormous. What I find troubling about this is that Obama is totally flip-flopping.

    April 22, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  12. Mikey

    Whever you have to interpret what a person says, they are not really saying anything. Obama-bots will threaten to riot if their chosen one does not win the Democratic nomination or the General Election for that matter. Guess what – guess you better start making plans for unrest. Although I have full confidence in our police across the nation to quell such negative displays from sore losers. Nobama,No way.

    Hillary or McCain for President.

    April 22, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  13. Diva in Pennsylvania


    I will be brief...

    I understand that Jewish people have had it hard... So have Black people...

    What is not fair is to go into a land of people who have occupied their land for centuries and steal a piece of it for another group. That was wrong. Can someone explain to me why this was okay and why everyone is so angry at the people who got their land stolen?

    Isn't this what was done to the Native Americans and the Africans?


    April 22, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  14. Doug R.

    Jimmy Carter did in one trip what Condoleezza Rice has been incapable of doing since she became Secretary of State. As Secretary of State, Rice has accomplished nothing. Zero. She is a tool.

    April 22, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  15. Patricia

    I thought Obama is the "great leader" who is willing to meet with our enemies with no preconditions. Guess he sees that the wind is blowing in another direction today, so it's time to change his story - again.

    April 22, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  16. Jon

    Shut up, Obama. Sick of his lies. What a hypocrite.

    April 22, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  17. NC Voter

    There is a difference between talking to the leader of a "real" country, with physical borders (Iran, Korea), and talking to the leader of a rogue organization that has no physical "home" which can be identified and pointed to on a map (Hamas, Al Quada).

    April 22, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  18. Jim, Indiana

    Funny you should say that now, after the fact!!!

    Obama is anonther Jimmy Carter and I lived through Carter's term and remember the regret that Americans felt!

    April 22, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  19. Bosnian Sniper

    No presidential candidate can support Carter's actions because of domestic politics. Yet they all know that Carter is doign exactly what should be done if anyone wants to address this conflict seriously. it is the right thing to do but it is political suicide – that's why only a former Pres and Nobel Prize winner can do it and even then there are morons saying that the guy doesn't know how to negotiate.

    April 22, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  20. Euphemia, Dublin, Ireland

    Senator Obama, Iam one of your biggest supporters but beg to differ on this. It behoves you to remember the old saying, "keep your friends close, and your enemies even closer". If President Clinton et al had not sat down with terrorists Adams, McGuinness, paramilitaries, et AL; we would never have had peace in Northern Ireland today. I think President Carter has shown great a great example of, and leadership and Statesmanship – it is only by keeping dialgue open, however, distasteful, can we hope to see peace in the Middle East. The alternative – the continuus bloodbath of the innocents.

    April 22, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  21. W PA

    "Ca Native April 22nd, 2008 3:16 pm ET

    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"

    Carter isn't Obama, he went on his own...while he is not the President anymore.

    April 22, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  22. Roots of Bitterness

    DIVA in PA – you are right!!!
    But, the Native American genocide and African slave trade is too close for comfort in the backyard of American history. That's why no one wants to deal with it or heal the wounds.
    It's easier to deal with someone else's drama and sad saga.......

    April 22, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  23. Young Rep

    Diva do a little research...

    The Palestine people have never had their own land or country since a very long time. The land has been in the hands of other countries or kingdoms. Quite frankly the Palestine people have been treated like our Native Americans by people of their own faith. Second of all, it was a mistake to give the Jews the land...

    Hamas will only do this if Israel will give back the lands they have gained since the Six Day War in 1967. So pretty much Israel has to give up the Gaza Strip, West Bank and the Golan Heights. That will never happen and quite frankly I wouldn't trust Hamas. SO NO CARTER DIDN'T GET ANYTHING DONE...

    It's strange to see people beating Obama up for this cause his Foreign Policy from day one has been horrible. Of course he said it wasn't a good idea. He says whatever is popular at the moment..

    April 22, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  24. Chris

    People, get a CLUE!!! Think before you post your knee-jerk reactions!!

    Hamas is a terrorist organization, NOT A COUNTRY!

    Iran is a COUNTRY, Iraq is a COUNTRY, the USA is a COUNTRY!

    Obama has said he will meet with leaders of other COUNTRIES that the US does not have a good relationship with, NOT a terrorist organization.

    April 22, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  25. well if carter is so great

    Then why is our own government in the works of banning our taxes on his projects, worth about $20 million dollars.... even the US senate is aware of Carter's actions, and he should be punished for them. Carter made our country look like weak, ignorant fools, and anyone can pick up on that.

    America has had a firm saying that we do not negotiate with terrorists.

    Hamas (on their website) calls for the destruction of all Jews. Carter met with this group. That's like giving Hitler an open forum. It's unacceptable and insane.

    April 22, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
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