On the August 1 edition of MSNBC's Tucker, while discussing Sen. Barack Obama's (D-IL) August 1 speech proposing a strategy to fight terrorism, host Tucker Carlson asserted: "Like the kid who's had sand kicked in his face one too many times, Barack Obama announced to the world he is no weakling when it comes to foreign policy." Later in the segment, Carlson asserted: "In the space of a day, Obama the weak has become Obama the fierce," and went on to ask, "Does he mean it?" Later, during an interview with Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), Carlson paraphrased Obama as having said during the speech that he "want[s] to leave a country [Iraq] where Al Qaeda is strong." Carlson also said that this purported position "seems a big deal to me." What Obama said, in fact, was that Al Qaeda "is not the primary source of violence in Iraq" and has "little support." Obama also said that "al Qaeda's appeal within Iraq is enhanced by our troop presence" and that "ending the war will help isolate al Qaeda and give Iraqis the incentive and opportunity to take them out."
From the August 1 speech:
In ending the war, we must act with more wisdom than we started it. That is why my plan would maintain sufficient forces in the region to target al Qaeda within Iraq. But we must recognize that al Qaeda is not the primary source of violence in Iraq, and has little support -- not from Shia and Kurds who al Qaeda has targeted, or Sunni tribes hostile to foreigners. On the contrary, al Qaeda's appeal within Iraq is enhanced by our troop presence.
Ending the war will help isolate al Qaeda and give Iraqis the incentive and opportunity to take them out. It will also allow us to direct badly needed resources to Afghanistan. Our troops have fought valiantly there, but Iraq has deprived them of the support they need and deserve. As a result, parts of Afghanistan are falling into the hands of the Taliban, and a mix of terrorism, drugs, and corruption threatens to overwhelm the country.
Carlson's assertion during that show that "Obama the weak has become Obama the fierce" echoes his frequent attacks on Obama. As Media Matters for America has documented, in the month of July alone, Carlson said Obama "seems like kind of a wuss," "sounds like a pothead," and gave a speech that was "kind of wimpy." Further, on the July 12 edition of Tucker, Carlson teased an upcoming segment on the New Hampshire book clubs recently established by Obama's presidential campaign, saying: "Well, everybody knows that a book club is no place for a man. So why has Barack Obama suddenly turned into Oprah? [Producer] Willie Geist rounds up the girls, brings the chardonnay, and heads to the Oprah book club -- or the Obama book club -- when we come back." Despite these repeated attacks, Carlson said of Obama on the July 18 edition of his show: "I don't spend my time trashing the guy."
From the August 1 edition of MSNBC's Tucker:
CARLSON: Welcome to the show. Like the kid who's had sand kicked in his face one too many times, Barack Obama announced to the world today that he is no weakling when it comes to foreign policy. Obama laid out his vision for a new and more effective war on terror during a speech this morning in Washington.
For more than a week, the [Sen.] Hillary Clinton [D-NY] campaign has derided Obama as soft on foreign affairs. Well, it's going to be a lot harder to make that claim now. If anything, Obama's speech erred on the side of hawkishness, most notably in his call to send American troops, if necessary, into Pakistan, a sovereign nation that he referred to more than once as, quote, "a battlefield."
The senator went on to explain that as president, he would push for free elections in Pakistan, send additional forces to Afghanistan, and station American troops in the vicinity of Iraq to fight the Al Qaeda factions he now acknowledges exist within that country. In short, he sounded a lot like a neocon, at times coming off as more bellicose than the president he hopes to replace.
In the space of a day, Obama the weak has become Obama the fierce. Does he mean it? Do his ideas make more sense now than when the Bush administration first proposed a lot of them, and is it really a good idea to invade Pakistan?
SMITH: But the important thing about Senator Obama's speech today -- two things, one, he said, "Let's focus on Al Qaeda. Let's focus on the group that hit us and threatens us first and foremost, and change our policy accordingly."
CARLSON: Which he acknowledges is in Iraq.
CARLSON: Is in Iraq.
CARLSON: So, he says -- he acknowledges that, which seems a big deal to me. You want to leave a country where Al Qaeda is strong. And then he says we're going to move to the region so we can go attack Al Qaeda in Iraq. What other country are we going in to from which we will launch these attacks into Iraq?
SMITH: Well, we have a number of allies in the region. Kuwait is perhaps the biggest one. But Senator Obama said that he would leave enough forces there to deal with Al Qaeda. What he --
CARLSON: Does the base know this? It's not really a pullout. I mean we're -- does the Democratic base, "get them all out" caucus know that he wants to leave guys in Iraq?
SMITH: That's what we voted on in the House. Congressman [Rep. Jim] McGovern [D-MA] who had --
SMITH: -- what was sort of the gold-standard bill for what the "out of Iraq" caucus wanted had a provision in there that said we'll pull out the forces but we will leave enough forces to be able to counter terrorists.
CARLSON: Someone should tell the Daily Kos this. I think they're going to be upset when they find out.