The Hill's Stoddard falsely claimed Obama attempting to "get away from" national security, John McCain's "comfort zone"

››› ››› TOM ALLISON

In an online video segment, A.B. Stoddard described national security as Sen. John McCain's "comfort zone" and asserted that Sen. Barack Obama "hasn't quite figured out yet how to get away from it, but he will. He has a few months to figure out how to always lob it back to the economy." But far from attempting "to get away" from the issue of national security, Obama has challenged McCain to debate the issue.

In the May 28 edition of The Hill's online video segment "Ask A.B.," associate editor and frequent MSNBC commentator A.B. Stoddard described national security as Sen. John McCain's "comfort zone" and asserted that Sen. Barack Obama "hasn't quite figured out yet how to get away from it, but he will. He has a few months to figure out how to always lob it back to the economy." But far from attempting "to get away" from the issue of national security, Obama has challenged McCain to debate the issue. In a May 16 speech in Watertown, South Dakota, Obama stated, "If George Bush and John McCain want to have a debate about protecting the United States of America, that is a debate that I'm happy to have any time, any place and that is a debate I will win because George Bush and John McCain have a lot to answer for."

From Obama's May 16 speech:

If George Bush and John McCain want to have a debate about protecting the United States of America, that is a debate that I'm happy to have any time, any place and that is debate I will win because George Bush and John McCain have a lot to answer for. George Bush and John McCain have a lot to answer for. They've got to explain why we are now in our sixth year, entering our sixth year of war in Iraq. We were supposed to be going over there for weapons of mass destruction that we never found. We were told that it was going to last a few months and cost a few billion dollars. We have now spent over $600 billion, thousands of lives lost and we have not been made safe. They are going to have to explain the fact that Osama bin Laden is still at large and is sending out videotapes with impunity. They need to answer for the fact that al Qaeda's leadership is stronger than ever because we took our eye off the ball in Afghanistan. They've got to answer for the fact that Iran is the greatest strategic beneficiary of our invasion in Iraq. It made Iran stronger -- George Bush's policies. They are going to have to explain why Hamas now controls Gaza. Hamas that was strengthened because the United States insisted that we should have democratic elections in the Palestinian Authority. They are going to have to explain why it is that Iran is able to fund Hezbollah and poses the greatest threat to America and Israel and the Middle East in a generation. That's the Bush-McCain record on protecting this country. Those are the failed policies that John McCain wants to double down on because he still hasn't spelled out one substantial way in which he'd be different from George Bush when it comes to foreign policy.

Moreover, contrary to Stoddard's claim, Obama has, in fact, taken an active role in addressing national security issues. As Media Matters for America has noted, Obama worked with fellow Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) on the "Lugar-Obama nonproliferation initiative" to secure unguarded weapons stockpiles in foreign countries -- which became law in January 2007 and for which the Senate Appropriations Committee provided $48 million in June 2007. Obama has also "spoke[n] passionately about the dangers of loose nukes" since he began his campaign for the Senate in 2004, as Washington Monthly's Christina Larson wrote in September 2006.

In addition to the Lugar-Obama initiative, Obama has introduced several other bills related to national security, including:

  • The Nuclear Weapons Threat Reduction Act of 2007 (S.1977), co-sponsored by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE), which would "provide for sustained United States leadership in a cooperative global effort to prevent nuclear terrorism, reduce global nuclear arsenals, stop the spread of nuclear weapons and related material and technology, and support the responsible and peaceful use of nuclear technology."
  • Legislation that would have required the redeployment of U.S. troops in Iraq.
  • With Lugar and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), a bill "[t]o promote the national security and stability of the economy of the United States by reducing the dependence of the United States on oil through the rise of alternative fuels and new technology."

From The Hill's May 28 video segment "Ask A.B.":

STODDARD: Welcome back to "Ask A.B.," where I take your questions and you take my answers. I'm A.B. Stoddard, associate editor at the Hill newspaper. Thank you for joining my weekly Q&A on HillTube.

John McCain -- we haven't talked about him in a while -- is taking the general election to his comfort zone of national security. Barack Obama hasn't quite figured out yet how to get away from it, but he will. He has a few months to figure out how to always lob it back to the economy.

But for today, with a new report out from the International Atomic Energy Association, John McCain is talking about nuclear weapons, the threat of loose nukes, the threat of a nuclear Iran in a big speech today. And we're going to open with some questions on this very topic.

Network/Outlet
The Hill
Person
A.B. Stoddard
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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