Discussing on ABC's This Week former President Jimmy Carter's planned meeting with a Hamas leader and the "two schools of thought about how America should deal in the world," Time magazine senior political analyst Mark Halperin -- citing former House Speaker Newt Gingrich -- said of Sen. Barack Obama: "Obama's position: Talk to your enemies." But Halperin did not mention that Obama has repeatedly said his willingness to meet with international adversaries "does not include Hamas."
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On the April 13 edition of ABC's This Week, discussing former President Jimmy Carter's planned meeting with Hamas leader Khaled Meshal, Time magazine senior political analyst Mark Halperin asserted: "I interviewed [former House Speaker] Newt Gingrich on Friday and he seized on this, because he says this is a clear choice if it's [Sen. Barack] Obama versus [Sen. John] McCain -- two schools of thought about how America should deal in the world. Obama's position: Talk to your enemies. The McCain-Republican-Gingrich position: You cannot talk to people who don't meet some certain thresholds." In fact, Obama has repeatedly stated that his willingness to meet with international adversaries "does not include Hamas." Indeed, earlier in the show, during an interview with Carter, host George Stephanopoulos noted, "Senators Obama and [Hillary] Clinton have both said they would not meet with Hamas leaders."
On March 3, Reuters reported that Obama "has said he would break with President George W. Bush's stance of declining to talk to some other international adversaries but that stance does not apply to Hamas." According to Reuters, at a campaign stop in San Antonio, Obama said, "You can't negotiate with somebody who does not recognize the right of a country to exist so I understand why Israel doesn't meet with Hamas."
From the April 13 edition of ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Your trip has also become fodder for the political campaign here at home. Senators Obama and Clinton have both said they would not meet with Hamas leaders. Several Democratic congressmen are urging you not to follow through with the meeting. And former Speaker Newt Gingrich pounced on this, saying Democrats ought to dis-invite you from their convention because of this proposed meeting. Are you worried that you might be making trouble for Senators Clinton, Obama, and other Democrats?
STEPHANOPOULOS: But what about sitting down with the leader of Hamas, and if there's any kind of give in his position that he can then, that President Carter can then go talk to the Israeli defense minister about -- what's wrong with that?
GEORGE WILL (Washington Post columnist): There's nothing wrong with it if there's the slightest shred of evidence that there will be this kind of give. There is none -- none, zero, in all the history of Hamas.
VICTORIA CLARKE (former Pentagon spokeswoman): Well, and the question for him was, when you were president of the United States, you would not appreciate and did not appreciate people from different places going around freelancing foreign policy. It's just not helpful. Having said that, again, overall impact, I don't think he has that much. I was struck by the contradictions he had within the conversation. On the one hand, he says, "I want to induce them to do these things -- but I'm not a negotiator." And then when you got onto the politics of it, he says, "Nancy Pelosi is right -- represent the popular will; however, superdelegates can do whatever they want." I just, I'm struck at the contradiction within one conversation.
HALPERIN: I interviewed Newt Gingrich on Friday and he seized on this, because he says this is a clear choice if it's Obama versus McCain -- two schools of thought about how America should deal in the world. Obama's position: Talk to your enemies. The McCain-Republican-Gingrich position: You cannot talk to people who don't meet some certain thresholds.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And there was some buzz that this might hurt Obama because he did not tell Jimmy Carter not to go and have that meeting.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That's all we're going to have time for today. Thank you all very much. This roundtable is going to continue.