"Barack Obama is backtracking furiously from his public statements supporting unconditional negotiations with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad." -- The Washington Times
The Washington Times
May 31, 2008
Barack Obama is backtracking furiously from his public statements supporting unconditional negotiations with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Last summer, Mr. Obama stated unequivocally that he would hold direct talks with American enemies. He was asked during a presidential debate in July if he would "be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?" Mr. Obama replied, "I would," adding: "I think that it is a disgrace that we have not spoken to them."
Some of the candidate's aides were uncomfortable with his blanket endorsement of the idea, and tried to persuade Mr. Obama to qualify his answer. But during a conference call the following day, Mr. Obama defended his remarks and said they showed how he differed from other candidates. Mr. Obama's own campaign Web site boasts under the heading of "diplomacy": "Barack Obama is the only major candidate who supports tough, direct presidential diplomacy with Iran without preconditions." But Mr. Obama has come under withering fire from John McCain, who questions whether it would be useful to negotiate with someone like Mr. Ahmadinejad.
Indeed, even prominent Democrats are distancing themselves from Mr. Obama's call for unconditional talks with Iran - among them are Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joe Biden, former U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson and former Sen. Gary Hart. Mr. Richardson, who has met with the likes of Fidel Castro and Saddam Hussein, said meeting Mr. Ahmadinejad without preconditions would be a bad idea. Mr. Biden said that Mr. Obama "gave the wrong answer" during the Democratic debate, but added that his freshman Senate colleague has "learned a hell of a lot since then."
More recently, Mr. Obama has tried to qualify his comments. He said he would break with the Bush administration policy of refusing to meet with certain countries unless they meet preconditions. But Mr. Obama said he would reserve the right to choose which leaders he would meet with - if he chooses to meet them at all.
Lost in all the talk is this: Since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, Democratic and Republican administrations have attempted to negotiate with the Islamic Republic of Iran. And a strong case can be made that all have failed - in some cases with disastrous consequences. For example, on Nov. 1, 1979, then-President Carter's national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, who now advises Mr. Obama, met in Algiers with Iranian Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan - a relatively powerless Iranian "moderate" - in an effort to ease tensions between Washington and Tehran. In response, student radicals seized the U.S. Embassy in Iran and began the hostage crisis that continued until the day of Ronald Reagan's inauguration as president in January 1981. Although Mr. Reagan was masterful in winning the Cold War, he didn't fare much better than Mr. Carter and Mr. Brzezinski in negotiating with Iran - as evidenced by the failed effort to win the release of American hostages abducted by Iran's Lebanese ally Hezbollah.
The Clinton administration made an all-out push for dialogue following the election of Mohammed Khatami, a relative moderate, as president in 1997. The administration backed away from enforcing the 1996 Iran-Libya Sanctions Act, which targeted foreign companies that invest in the Iranian oil and gas industries. According to FBI Director Louis Freeh, the Clinton administration dragged its feet in investigating the June 1996 bombing of Khobar Towers, a U.S. housing facility in Saudi Arabia. Nineteen American servicemen were killed in the bombing, carried out by a Saudi offshoot of Hezbollah. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright went so far as to apologize for the U.S. role in the 1953 coup that brought the Shah to power. But in the end, negotiations collapsed as Iran demanded reparations from the United States and Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei denounced rapprochement with Washington as treason.
One myth spread by Mr. Obama and the Democrats is that the Bush administration has refused to talk with Iran. In fact, late in 2001, Washington and Tehran were cooperating on Afghanistan. But that cooperation came after Israel captured the Karine-A, a ship carrying Iranian-supplied weapons to Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority. Subsequent efforts to engage with Tehran foundered when Washington learned that the Islamic Republic was harboring al Qaeda terror suspects. During President Bush's second term, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, responding to European calls for dialogue with Iran, announced that Washington would drop its opposition to Iranian membership in the World Trade Organization (among other concessions) if it halted its nuclear weapons activities. In response, Iran's ruling clerics have continued their support for terrorism and installed Mr. Ahmadinejad as president.
Read The Washington Times Editorial
Saturday, May 31, 2008
"Barack Obama is backtracking furiously from his public statements supporting unconditional negotiations with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad." -- The Washington Times
Friday, May 30, 2008
"Obama's problem is that his Iraq strategy -- withdraw one or two brigades a month until all combat troops are out in 16 months -- was formulated when Iraq looked like a lost cause. If Obama were elected and stuck to his position, he would implement a policy based on conditions existing 1½ years before, not on current realities." -- Chicago Sun-Times
Obama's Strategy On Iraq Stuck In The Past
By Steve Huntley
May 30, 2008
National security, nearly everyone agrees, is McCain's strength, so the presumptive Republican nominee naturally rallies to it. National security, nearly everyone acknowledges, is Obama's vulnerability, so the Democrat has to address it forcefully.
The more experienced McCain likes to highlight the success of the military surge in Iraq, which he had advocated for years before President Bush finally embraced it after the old strategy had brought the Iraq enterprise to the threshold of defeat. The young Obama prefers to focus on what he calls the flawed rationale for the invasion and his early opposition to it.
While McClellan echoes Obama's criticism of Bush and McCain's judgment on Iraq, it is Obama's judgment on ending the war on which voters will increasingly focus if the Iraq news continues to be positive. Mostly it's been good for months. A year ago chaos and violence ruled, coalition forces were on the defensive, U.S. troops led all combat operations. Now violence is down dramatically. Iraqi security forces are on the offensive and take the lead, with Americans in supporting roles, in hard fighting in Baghdad's Sadr City and in Basra, achieving surprising success against fierce militias.
Obama's problem is that his Iraq strategy -- withdraw one or two brigades a month until all combat troops are out in 16 months -- was formulated when Iraq looked like a lost cause. If Obama were elected and stuck to his position, he would implement a policy based on conditions existing 1½ years before, not on current realities.
Obama, a University of Chicago intellectual, is in the unlikely position of seeming to have a closed, uninquisitive mind when it comes to Iraq. As McCain points out, the Democrat has visited Iraq just once and that was before the surge. McCain's criticism struck home as Obama now says he may visit Iraq this summer.
Obama also is busy trying to find some wiggle room in his declaration several months ago that he was willing to grant a presidential meeting without precondition in the first year of his term with leaders of rogue states like Iran. He now talks of extensive "preparations" for any summits and says no one is guaranteed a meeting.
Obama no doubt will be happier when the campaign moves on to the economy and gasoline prices.
Read The Chicago Sun-Times Op-Ed Here
"That statement by John Kerry, almost an implicit acknowledgement of the truth of what the McCain campaign has been saying -- that it has been a bad thing for Obama to have been absent from the theatre, lo these two-and-a-half years." -- Fox News
Fox News' "Happening Now"
May 30, 2008
FOX NEWS' JAMES ROSEN: "Lastly, however, John Kerry did acknowledge in his conference call with reporters that it would be a good thing if Barack Obama went to Iraq -- not, he says, for the purposes of a photo-op or a political stunt, but to meet with commanders and get an idea of what's going on there. That statement by John Kerry, almost an implicit acknowledgement of the truth of what the McCain campaign has been saying -- that it has been a bad thing for Obama to have been absent from the theatre, lo these two-and-a-half years."
Watch The Fox News Report
It has been 873 days since Senator Obama's one and only visit to Iraq. Yet, despite zero first hand knowledge of conditions on the ground since the change in strategy, Senator Obama advocates withdrawal of U.S. troops. While he is happy to hold unconditional presidential meetings with the world's worst dictators, he has yet to meet with General Petraeus about the improving conditions in Iraq.
Before Senator Obama decides to override the recommendations of our commanders in the field and surrender the flight, he should have the judgment to see for himself first-hand the conditions on the ground. Please click here to tell Senator Obama that he needs to see and learn about the facts in Iraq.
Reducing Nuclear Threats
John McCain believes that we can build a safer world, one with fewer nuclear weapons and in which proliferation, instability and nuclear terrorism are far less likely. To achieve this, John McCain outlined a series of initiatives that will enhance nuclear security and prevent proliferation. He spoke about his initiatives at the University of Denver in Colorado on Tuesday.
The global spread of nuclear weapons demands immediate action. As president, John McCain will establish a long-term commitment to a world free of nuclear weapons.
At the same time, the U.S. must continue to deploy a safe and reliable nuclear deterrent, robust missile defense and superior conventional forces. He supports further strategic arms reductions and will seek to reduce the size of our nuclear arsenal to the lowest number possible, consistent with our security requirements and global commitments.
John McCain will work to strengthen existing international treaties and institutions to combat proliferation and develop new ones where necessary. To prevent countries from using civilian nuclear programs as a cover for the development of weapons, he will limit the further spread of enrichment and reprocessing. Click here to read more about John McCain's vision for nuclear security in the 21st century.
Celebrate Father's Day with the McCain Golf Package
With Father's Day quickly approaching there is no better way to thank dad and show your support for John McCain than by giving our new, limited edition golf pack. Get outfitted with the genuine McCain towel, golf balls, tees, divot repair tool, and sporty McCain shoe bag.
Order yours today to ensure it arrives before Father's Day and make sure dad can show his support out on the course!
On Monday, John McCain gave a Memorial Day speech at the New Mexico Veterans Memorial in Albuquerque, honoring and thanking our nation's veterans for the sacrifice they have made serving our country.
As president, John McCain will ensure that service members and veterans have access to the highest quality health, mental health and rehabilitative care in the world. The disgrace of Walter Reed must never happen again and John McCain will make sure it never does. We owe our veterans more than just respect. We owe them training, rehabilitation, education and support for their valuable and selfless service to our nation. Please click here to read John McCain's Memorial Day speech.
New Web Ad: Memorial Day
This week we launched a web ad honoring the service and sacrifice of Hispanics in our Armed Forces on Memorial Day.
From the names engraved in black granite on the Vietnam War Memorial to current service members in Iraq and Afghanistan, you will find many of Hispanic background. Like generations of Americans before them, these are men and women who love this country so much that they are willing to sacrifice their lives in its service.
Below are some of the top news articles from this week. For more news articles and press releases, go to www.JohnMcCain.com.
Boston Globe: McCain Talks Tough on North Korea
New York Times: McCain Vows to Work With Russia on Arms
Denver Post: McCain Speaks on War, Nuclear Weapons
Reno Gazette-Journal: McCain Comes to Reno
The New York Post: On Veteran's Benefits
I have long said that this election will present the American people with a clear choice in electing our next president. The differences between my vision for national security leadership and that of Senator Obama's could not be greater, and this is why I am writing to you today.
I think you all know that this war has been long, hard and tough. And it has meant enormous sacrifice on the part of Americans in blood and treasure. But after four years of a badly mismanaged war, our new strategy is succeeding and we are now winning in Iraq thanks to the service and sacrifice of the brave Americans who are serving.
I have visited Iraq on many occasions because I think the most vital decision that any President of the United States can make has got to be about the security of this nation and the lives of the young Americans who are serving.
But I cannot say the same of one of my opponents, Senator Barack Obama. He has only been to Iraq once, on a trip two years ago. Senator Obama speaks openly about his willingness to sit down with our enemies and engage in open talks, but he hasn't gone to Iraq in over two years to meet with our leaders and see that progress is being made on the ground. Something is wrong with your judgment when you want to sit down unconditionally with Raul Castro and Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but you don't take the opportunity to sit down with General Petraeus and learn about the situation in Iraq firsthand. My friends, this is not the "change" we need in our next president.
Our next president cannot just talk about leadership; they must demonstrate it. Senator Obama is the chairman of an important subcommittee that has oversight of our efforts in Afghanistan. Yet he has not held one hearing on Afghanistan, a place where young Americans are in harm's way every day. When a chairman of a subcommittee can't lead, it's bad; when a president doesn't lead, it's unacceptable.
I am convinced that my experience, knowledge and every challenge I have confronted during my years of service to our country and its ideals make me better able to lead and ready to serve as our Commander in Chief on day one. That is why I am asking you to make a financial contribution of $50, $100, $250, $500, or any amount up to the limit of $2,300 right away. Our national security is too important to hand over to someone who does not have the knowledge or experience to make judgment calls on Iraq. Thank you.
P.S. My friends, it's clear Senator Obama was driven to his position on the War in Iraq by his ideology and not by the facts on the ground. He does not have the knowledge or experience to make the judgments necessary to keep our Nation safe, prosperous and strong. Presidents have to listen and learn. Presidents have to make judgments no matter how popular or unpopular they may be. I believe I am better prepared to make these judgments, leading our country as your next president, and I ask that you make a financial contribution right away to my campaign so that I am able to take my message of experience to the American people. Thank you.
Obama v Obama?
By Jake Tapper
ABC News' Political Punch
May 29, 2008
In today's New York Times, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, seeks to clarify his views on meeting with hostile foreign dictators.
"I didn't say that I would meet unconditionally as John McCain maintained, because that would suggest whether it was useful or not, whether it was advancing our interests or not, I would just do it for the sake of doing it," Obama said. "That's not a change in position, that's simply responding to distortions of my position."
Okay, let's go to the videotape.
At last Summer's Youtube/CNN debate here's exactly what Obama said.
He was asked the following: "In 1982, Anwar Sadat traveled to Israel, a trip that resulted in a peace agreement that has lasted ever since. In the spirit of that type of bold leadership, would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?"
Okay, so let's review:
* A willingness.
* For meetings.
* Without preconditions.
* During the first 12 months of the Obama administration.
* With the leaders of Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea.
* And the goal: bridging the gap that divides the countries.
And Obama's answer?
"I would. And the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them -- which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration -- is ridiculous. Now, Ronald Reagan and Democratic presidents like JFK constantly spoke to Soviet Union at a time when Ronald Reagan called them an evil empire. And the reason is because they understood that we may not trust them and they may pose an extraordinary danger to this country, but we had the obligation to find areas where we can potentially move forward. And I think that it is a disgrace that we have not spoken to them. We've been talking about Iraq -- one of the first things that I would do in terms of moving a diplomatic effort in the region forward is to send a signal that we need to talk to Iran and Syria because they're going to have responsibilities if Iraq collapses."
One point of confusion seems to come from this: Obama is distinguishing between holding these meetings without "preconditions" -- as Obama said he would be willing to do during that debate, meaning that the U.S. would not require Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment program before agreeing to a meeting -- and holding them "unconditionally," meaning there without any "preparations," which he now says he would not do.
Obama spoke more about this in our interview with him last week.
Can voters be forgiven for not fully understanding Obama's views on this all?
Yesterday, Obama told reporters, "I want to initiate direct talks, starting at a low level, with Iran, exploring the possibilities of seeing a change in behavior in Iran. And hopefully over time, changing the nature of the relationship."
But the dispute isn't over low-level talks, it's over presidential-level meetings.
The initial Youtube question was about whether Obama would meet with the "leaders" of those hostile countries, not specifically Ahmadinejad.
And Obama yesterday told reporters "there is no reason why we would necessarily meet with Ahmadinejad before we know that he is actually in power. He is not the most powerful person in Iran."
But in a press conference last September, during the controversy over Ahmadinejad being invited to speak at Columbia University, Obama gave the distinct impression that he would specifically meet with Ahmadinejad, in this exchange:
QUESTION: "Senator, you've said before that you'd meet with President Ahmadinejad, would you still meet with him today?"
OBAMA: "Nothing's changed with respect to my belief that strong countries and strong presidents talk to their enemies and talk to their adversaries. I find many of President Ahmadinejad's statements odious and I've said that repeatedly. And I think that we have to recognize that there are a lot of rogue nations in the world that don't have American interests at heart. But what I also believe is that, as John F. Kennedy said, we should never negotiate out of fear but we should never fear to negotiate. And by us listening to the views even of those who we violently disagree with -- that sends a signal to the world that we are going to turn the page on the failed diplomacy that the Bush Administration has practiced for so long."
Read The ABC News Story Here.
"'There are many issues that lend themselves to partisan posturing, but giving our veterans the chance to go to college should not be one of them.' So pronounced the Democrats' likely presidential nominee, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, on the floor of the Senate last week. This was a lovely sentiment, marred only by the fact that it came seconds after Mr. Obama's own partisan posturing." -- The Washington Post
Striking a pose, Barack Obama says posturing on veterans' benefits is out of bounds.
May 29, 2008
"There are many issues that lend themselves to partisan posturing, but giving our veterans the chance to go to college should not be one of them." So pronounced the Democrats' likely presidential nominee, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, on the floor of the Senate last week. This was a lovely sentiment, marred only by the fact that it came seconds after Mr. Obama's own partisan posturing. Mr. Obama duly hailed his Republican opponent, Arizona Sen. John McCain, as a war hero, then launched a one-two punch, linking Mr. McCain to an unpopular president and painting him as stingy toward those who served their country.
Referring to Mr. McCain, Mr. Obama said, "I cannot understand why he would line up behind the president in his opposition to this GI Bill [or] why he believes it is too generous to our veterans."
For his part, Mr. McCain rose -- or sunk, perhaps -- to Mr. Obama's bait, retorting that he would not take "any lectures" from someone "who did not feel it was his responsibility to serve our country in uniform." The dispute between the two men is over a measure that we, like Mr. Obama, have supported, and that last week overwhelmingly passed the Senate as part of an emergency war spending bill. The proposal, by Sen. James Webb (D-Va.), would expand the current GI Bill to ensure full college scholarships for veterans who spend three years or more in the armed forces. As we have said, the current system has not kept pace with rising college costs and has shortchanged veterans who have endured the rigors of wartime service.
That does not mean that the measure is perfect or that the concerns expressed by the Pentagon and other critics, including Mr. McCain, should be brushed off as illegitimate or insensitive to veterans. The Pentagon argues that the measure would harm the military by providing too large an incentive for people to leave. The projected increase in departures would be offset by an increase in recruitment among those attracted by the new, improved benefit; however, that does not account for the loss of experience and added training costs. Mr. McCain and Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) have proposed an alternative that concentrates on giving those who remain in the service added educational benefits, including the ability to transfer their benefits to family members; the measure would also boost benefits for veterans, although far less than the Webb bill would.
The fact that Mr. Webb's bill was co-sponsored by Republicans such as Sens. John W. Warner (Va.), the ranking member on the Armed Services Committee, and Chuck Hagel (Neb.), a former deputy administrator of the Veterans Administration, adds to its credibility. But as Mr. McCain pointed out, "It would be easier, much easier, politically for me to have joined Sen. Webb in offering his legislation." Tempting as it may be, his decision not to do so should not, as Mr. Obama suggests, be the occasion for partisan posturing.
Read The Washington Post Editorial.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
"I think the significant thing is what [Senator Obama's] trying to work his way out of right now -- the statement that he made that he would negotiate with Ahmadinejad and Castro without preconditions." -- Mayor Rudy Giuliani
Fox News' "Fox & Friends"
May 29, 2008
MAYOR RUDY GIULIANI: "I think the significant thing is what [Senator Obama's] trying to work his way out of right now -- the statement that he made that he would negotiate with Ahmadinejad and Castro without preconditions. This is a statement that, in the words of Hillary Clinton, was immature I think and naive and irresponsible. I think it was naive and irresponsible. This is the one thing Hillary Clinton and I agree on. It was nave, it was irresponsible, and it suggests that he doesn't have the right instincts to really handle tough diplomacy against really difficult people. That's a time honored rule of diplomacy, going back at least to my recollection of the summit meetings with Khrushchev and Kennedy and Eisenhower. You have to have preconditions when you deal with these people."
FOX NEWS' GRETCHEN CARLSON: "Democrat or Republican."
MAYOR GIULIANI: "I think it would be best for Barack Obama -- not to take my advice -- if he'd just admit this is an error and I don't have much experience and I made a mistake and I'm going to learn about it."
FOX NEWS' STEVE DOOCY: "A do-over."
Watch Mayor Giuliani On Fox News' "Fox & Friends"
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
"Why is it that Senator Obama wants to sit down with the President of Iran, but hasn't yet sat down with General Petraeus -- the leader of our troops in Iraq?" -- John McCain
John McCain At Town Hall Meeting In Reno, Nevada
May 28, 2008
"I think you all know that this war has been long and hard and tough. And it's meant enormous sacrifice on the part of Americans in blood and treasure. Over 4,000 brave young Americans have been sacrificed. And let's face it, this war was very badly mishandled for nearly four years. It's just a fact. But thank God we have a new general and a new strategy, and we are succeeding, and we are winning in Iraq. We are winning. Thanks to the service and sacrifice of these brave young Americans who also know that we are winning there. You can ask them.
"Now, I've been back to Iraq on many occasions. I've been back, because I think it's important that if you're involved in a major decision-making, the most vital decision that any President of the United States can make or frankly any elected official has got to be about the security of this nation, and the lives of young Americans who are serving. That's important. That's very important. The security of this nation and its future security against the threats and the challenge of radical Islamic extremism are transcendent. It's always transcendent to every president all throughout our nation's history.
"And so Senator Obama and I have a strong disagreement on this issue. And Senator Obama has been to Iraq once. A little over two years ago he went, and he has never seized the opportunity, except in a hearing, to meet with General Petraeus, with General Petraeus! My friends, this is about leadership and learning.
"I went to Iraq right after the initial success of the invasion, and sergeants came up to me and captains and majors and others came up to me and they said, 'Senator McCain, we're going to lose this way. We've got to have more troops over here. We've got to have a new strategy.' And I went back and fought for the new strategy. And it took too long. But why did I do that? Because I learned. I learned from the men and women who are serving in the military. I learned.
"Senator Obama is the chairman of an important subcommittee that has the oversight of what's going on in Afghanistan. He has not held one single hearing on Afghanistan where young Americans are in harm's way as we speak. My friends, this is about leadership.
"This is about what America is about, but it's also about the qualities of a President of the United States. Now, I asked Senator Obama to go to Iraq. I asked him to go back, and I asked him to meet with General Petraeus and our great Ambassador there, Ambassador Crocker. And I said I would go with him, if necessary.
"I'd be glad to go with him, because these issues are far more important than any election. The security of this nation is far more important than any political campaign. And you know it's not often that I read the statements issued by my opponents. But let me tell you what his campaign and he has said in response to this proposal to accompany him to Iraq so he could meet General Petraeus and he could meet Ambassador Crocker and he could see. He could see the fact that Sadr City is quiet. He could see that the Maliki government is taking control of Basra. He could see that the Iraqi military is leading the fight in these places with the support of American troops. And to say that we failed in Iraq and that we're not succeeding, does not comport with the facts on the ground. So we've got to show him the facts on the ground.
"Let me tell you what his campaign said about my proposal. 'John McCain's proposal is nothing more than a political stunt, and we don't need any more mission accomplished banners or walks through Baghdad markets to know that Iraq's leaders have not made the political progress that was the stated purpose of the surge. The American people don't want any more false promises of progress. They deserve a real debate about a war that has overstretched our military and cost the U.S. thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars without making the U.S. safer.'
"My friends, that is a profound misunderstanding, a profound misunderstanding, of what's happened in Iraq and what's at stake in Iraq, because if we set a date for withdrawal, which Senator Obama wants to do, there will be chaos. There will be genocide. There will be increased Iranian influence there, and we will have to go back with further sacrifice of American blood and treasure. I will never let that happen as President of the United States. I will never surrender in Iraq. I will not let that happen.
"And let me just point out one other aspect of this to you. Senator Obama has said, as you know, that he wants to sit down without any preconditions with the President of Iran, Ahmadinejad. He has said that he wants to sit down with a leader of a country that a few days ago called Israel a quote, 'stinking corpse'. He wants to sit down with a leader of a country that -- as recent news reports indicate clearly -- is moving towards the acquisition of nuclear weapons which could destabilize the entire region, obviously. Not to mention the direct threat to the existence of the state of Israel.
"More importantly perhaps, to many families and to you and to me, this is the leader of a country that is sending the most explosive devices, the most lethal explosive devices into Iraq and killing young Americans. Now, why is it that Senator Obama wants to sit down with the President of Iran, but hasn't yet sat down with General Petraeus -- the leader of our troops in Iraq? So I look forward to continuing this debate with Senator Obama and Senator Clinton as well. I look forward to continuing this debate, and I want you to know that my dedication to this nation is one that I'm not going to worry about the political consequences."
U.S. Senator John McCain delivered the following remarks at the Vestas Training Facility, in Portland, OR, May 12, 2008:
Thank you all very much. I appreciate the hospitality of Vestas Wind Technology. Today is a kind of test run for the company. They've got wind technicians here, wind studies, and all these wind turbines, but there's no wind. So now I know why they asked me to come give a speech.
Every day, when there are no reporters and cameras around to draw attention to it, this company and others like it are doing important work. And what we see here is just a glimpse of much bigger things to come. Wind power is one of many alternative energy sources that are changing our economy for the better. And one day they will change our economy forever.
Wind is a clean and predictable source of energy, and about as renewable as anything on earth. Along with solar power, fuel-cell technology, cleaner burning fuels and other new energy sources, wind power will bring America closer to energy independence. Our economy depends upon clean and affordable alternatives to fossil fuels, and so, in many ways, does our security. A large share of the world's oil reserves is controlled by foreign powers that do not have our interests at heart. And as our reliance on oil passes away, their power will vanish with it.
In the coming weeks, I intend to address many of the great challenges that America's energy policies must meet. When we debate energy bills in Washington, it should be more than a competition among industries for special favors, subsidies, and tax breaks. In the Congress, we need to send the special interests on their way -- without their favors and subsidies. We need to draw on the best ideas of both parties, and on all the resources a free market can provide. We need to keep our eyes on big goals in energy policy, the serious dangers, and the common interests of the American people.
Today I'd like to focus on just one of those challenges, and among environmental dangers it is surely the most serious of all. Whether we call it "climate change" or "global warming," in the end we're all left with the same set of facts. The facts of global warming demand our urgent attention, especially in Washington. Good stewardship, prudence, and simple commonsense demand that we to act meet the challenge, and act quickly.
Some of the most compelling evidence of global warming comes to us from NASA. No longer do we need to rely on guesswork and computer modeling, because satellite images reveal a dramatic disappearance of glaciers, Antarctic ice shelves and polar ice sheets. And I've seen some of this evidence up close. A few years ago I traveled to the area of Svalbard, Norway, a group of islands in the Arctic Ocean. I was shown the southernmost point where a glacier had reached twenty years earlier. From there, we had to venture northward up the fjord to see where that same glacier ends today -- because all the rest has melted. On a trip to Alaska, I heard about a national park visitor's center that was built to offer a picture-perfect view of a large glacier. Problem is, the glacier is gone. A work of nature that took ages to form had melted away in a matter of decades.
Our scientists have also seen and measured reduced snowpack, with earlier runoffs in the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere. We have seen sustained drought in the Southwest, and across the world average temperatures that seem to reach new records every few years. We have seen a higher incidence of extreme weather events. In the frozen wilds of Alaska, the Arctic, Antarctic, and elsewhere, wildlife biologists have noted sudden changes in animal migration patterns, a loss of their habitat, a rise in sea levels. And you would think that if the polar bears, walruses, and sea birds have the good sense to respond to new conditions and new dangers, then humanity can respond as well.
We have many advantages in the fight against global warming, but time is not one of them. Instead of idly debating the precise extent of global warming, or the precise timeline of global warming, we need to deal with the central facts of rising temperatures, rising waters, and all the endless troubles that global warming will bring. We stand warned by serious and credible scientists across the world that time is short and the dangers are great. The most relevant question now is whether our own government is equal to the challenge.
There are vital measures we can take in the short term, even as we focus on long-term policies to mitigate the effects of global warming. In the years ahead, we are likely to see reduced water supplies, more forest fires than in previous decades, changes in crop production, more heat waves afflicting our cities and a greater intensity in storms. Each one of these consequences of climate change will require policies to protect our citizens, especially those most vulnerable to violent weather. Each one will require new precautions in the repair and construction of our roads, bridges, railways, seawalls and other infrastructure. Some state and local governments have already begun their planning and preparation for extreme events and other impacts of climate change. The federal government can help them in many ways, above all by coordinating their efforts, and I am committed to providing that support.
To lead in this effort, however, our government must strike at the source of the problem -- with reforms that only Congress can enact and the president can sign. We know that greenhouse gasses are heavily implicated as a cause of climate change. And we know that among all greenhouse gasses, the worst by far is the carbon-dioxide that results from fossil-fuel combustion. Yet for all the good work of entrepreneurs and inventors in finding cleaner and better technologies, the fundamental incentives of the market are still on the side of carbon-based energy. This has to change before we can make the decisive shift away from fossil fuels.
For the market to do more, government must do more by opening new paths of invention and ingenuity. And we must do this in a way that gives American businesses new incentives and new rewards to seek, instead of just giving them new taxes to pay and new orders to follow. The most direct way to achieve this is through a system that sets clear limits on all greenhouse gases, while also allowing the sale of rights to excess emissions. And this is the proposal I will submit to the Congress if I am elected president -- a cap-and-trade system to change the dynamic of our energy economy.
As a program under the Clean Air Act, the cap-and-trade system achieved enormous success in ridding the air of acid rain. And the same approach that brought a decline in sulfur dioxide emissions can have an equally dramatic and permanent effect on carbon emissions. Instantly, automakers, coal companies, power plants, and every other enterprise in America would have an incentive to reduce carbon emissions, because when they go under those limits they can sell the balance of permitted emissions for cash. As never before, the market would reward any person or company that seeks to invent, improve, or acquire alternatives to carbon-based energy. It is very hard to picture venture capitalists, corporate planners, small businesses and environmentalists all working to the same good purpose. But such cooperation is actually possible in the case of climate change, and this reform will set it in motion.
The people of this country have a genius for adapting, solving problems, and inventing new and better ways to accomplish our goals. But the federal government can't just summon those talents by command -- only the free market can draw them out. A cap-and-trade policy will send a signal that will be heard and welcomed all across the American economy. Those who want clean coal technology, more wind and solar, nuclear power, biomass and bio-fuels will have their opportunity through a new market that rewards those and other innovations in clean energy. The market will evolve, too, by requiring sensible reductions in greenhouse gases, but also by allowing full flexibility in how industry meets that requirement. Entrepreneurs and firms will know which energy investments they should make. And the highest rewards will go to those who make the smartest, safest, most responsible choices. A cap-and-trade reform wi ll also create a profitable opportunity for rural America to receive market-based payments -- instead of government subsidies -- for the conservation practices that store carbon in the soils of our nation's farms.
We will cap emissions according to specific goals, measuring progress by reference to past carbon emissions. By the year 2012, we will seek a return to 2005 levels of emission, by 2020, a return to 1990 levels, and so on until we have achieved at least a reduction of sixty percent below 1990 levels by the year 2050. In the course of time, it may be that new ideas and technologies will come along that we can hardly imagine today, allowing all industries to change with a speed that will surprise us. More likely, however, there will be some companies that need extra emissions rights, and they will be able to buy them. The system to meet these targets and timetables will give these companies extra time to adapt -- and that is good economic policy. It is also a matter of simple fairness, because the cap-and-trade system will create jobs, improve livelihoods, and strengthen futures across our country.
The goal in all of this is to assure an energy supply that is safe, secure, diverse, and domestic. And in pursuit of these objectives, we cannot afford to take economic growth and job creation for granted. A strong and growing economy is essential to all of our goals, and especially the goal of finding alternatives to carbon-based technology. We want to turn the American economy toward cleaner and safer energy sources. And you can't achieve that by imposing costs that the American economy cannot sustain.
As part of my cap-and-trade incentives, I will also propose to include the purchase of offsets from those outside the scope of the trading system. This will broaden the array of rewards for reduced emissions, while also lowering the costs of compliance with our new emissions standards. Through the sale of offsets -- and with strict standards to assure that reductions are real -- our agricultural sector alone can provide as much as forty percent of the overall reductions we will require in greenhouse gas emissions. And in the short term, farmers and ranchers can do it in some of the most cost-effective ways.
Over time, an increasing fraction of permits for emissions could be supplied by auction, yielding federal revenues that can be put to good use. Under my plan, we will apply these and other federal funds to help build the infrastructure of a post-carbon economy. We will support projects to advance technologies that capture and store carbon emissions. We will assist in transmitting wind- and solar-generated power from states that have them to states that need them. We will add to current federal efforts to develop promising technologies, such as plug-ins, hybrids, flex-fuel vehicles, and hydrogen-powered cars and trucks. We will also establish clear standards in government-funded research, to make sure that funding is effective and focused on the right goals.
And to create greater demand for the best technologies and practices in energy conservation, we will use the purchasing power of the United States government. Our government can hardly expect citizens and private businesses to adopt or invest in low-carbon technologies when it doesn't always hold itself to the same standard. We need to set a better example in Washington, by consistently applying the best environmental standards to every purchase our government makes.
As we move toward all of these goals, and over time put the age of fossil fuels behind us, we must consider every alternative source of power, and that includes nuclear power. When our cap-and-trade policy is in place, there will be a sudden and sustained pursuit in the market for new investment opportunities in low-emission fuel sources. And here we have a known, proven energy source that requires exactly zero emissions. We have 104 nuclear reactors in our country, generating about twenty percent of our electricity. These reactors alone spare the atmosphere from about 700 million metric tons of carbon dioxide that would otherwise be released every year. That's the annual equivalent of nearly all emissions from all the cars we drive in America. Europe, for its part, has 197 reactors in operation, and nations including France and Belgium derive more than half their electricity from nuclear power. Those good p ractices contribute to the more than two billion metric tons of carbon dioxide avoided every year, worldwide, because of nuclear energy. It doesn't take a leap in logic to conclude that if we want to arrest global warming, then nuclear energy is a powerful ally in that cause.
In a cap-and-trade energy economy, the cost of building new reactors will be less prohibitive. The incentives to invest in a mature, zero-emissions technology will be stronger. New research and innovation will help the industry to overcome the well known drawbacks to nuclear power, such as the transport and storage of waste. And our government can help in these efforts. We can support research to extend the use of existing plants. Above all, we must make certain that every plant in America is safe from the designs of terrorists. And when all of this is assured, it will be time again to expand our use of one of the cleanest, safest, and most reliable sources of energy on earth.
For all of the last century, the profit motive basically led in one direction -- toward machines, methods, and industries that used oil and gas. Enormous good came from that industrial growth, and we are all the beneficiaries of the national prosperity it built. But there were costs we weren't counting, and often hardly noticed. And these terrible costs have added up now, in the atmosphere, in the oceans, and all across the natural world. They are no longer tenable, sustainable, or defensible. And what better way to correct past errors than to turn the creative energies of the free market in the other direction? Under the cap-and-trade system, this can happen. In all its power, the profit motive will suddenly begin to shift and point the other way toward cleaner fuels, wiser ways, and a healthier planet.
As a nation, we make our own environmental plans and our own resolutions. But working with other nations to arrest climate change can be an even tougher proposition. China, India, and other developing economic powers in particular are among the greatest contributors to global warming today -- increasing carbon emissions at a furious pace -- and they are not receptive to international standards. Nor do they think that we in the industrialized world are in any position to preach the good news of carbon-emission control. We made most of our contributions to global warming before anyone knew about global warming.
This set of facts and perceived self-interests proved the undoing of the Kyoto Protocols. As president, I will have to deal with the same set of facts. I will not shirk the mantle of leadership that the United States bears. I will not permit eight long years to pass without serious action on serious challenges. I will not accept the same dead-end of failed diplomacy that claimed Kyoto. The United States will lead and will lead with a different approach -- an approach that speaks to the interests and obligations of every nation.
Shared dangers mean shared duties, and global problems require global cooperation. The United States and our friends in Europe cannot alone deal with the threat of global warming. No nation should be exempted from its obligations. And least of all should we make exceptions for the very countries that are accelerating carbon emissions while the rest of us seek to reduce emissions. If we are going to establish meaningful environmental protocols, then they must include the two nations that have the potential to pollute the air faster, and in greater annual volume, than any nation ever in history.
At the same time, we will continue in good faith to negotiate with China and other nations to enact the standards and controls that are in the interest of every nation -- whatever their stage of economic development. And America can take the lead in offering these developing nations the low-carbon technologies that we will make and they will need. One good idea or invention to reduce carbon emissions is worth a thousand finely crafted proposals at a conference table. And the governments of these developing economic powers will soon recognize, as America is beginning to do, their urgent need for cleaner-burning fuels and safer sources of energy.
If the efforts to negotiate an international solution that includes China and India do not succeed, we still have an obligation to act.
In my approach to global climate-control efforts, we will apply the principle of equal treatment. We will apply the same environmental standards to industries in China, India, and elsewhere that we apply to our own industries. And if industrializing countries seek an economic advantage by evading those standards, I would work with the European Union and other like-minded governments that plan to address the global warming problem to develop a cost equalization mechanism to apply to those countries that decline to enact a similar cap.
For all of its historical disregard of environmental standards, it cannot have escaped the attention of the Chinese regime that China's skies are dangerously polluted, its beautiful rivers are dying, its grasslands vanishing, its coastlines receding, and its own glaciers melting. We know many of these signs from our own experience -- from environmental lessons learned the hard way. And today, all the world knows that they are the signs of even greater trouble to come. Pressing on blindly with uncontrolled carbon emissions is in no one's interest, especially China's. And the rest of the world stands ready to help.
Like other environmental challenges -- only more so -- global warming presents a test of foresight, of political courage, and of the unselfish concern that one generation owes to the next. We need to think straight about the dangers ahead, and to meet the problem with all the resources of human ingenuity at our disposal. We Americans like to say that there is no problem we can't solve, however complicated, and no obstacle we cannot overcome if we meet it together. I believe this about our country. I know this about our country. And now it is time for us to show those qualities once again.
U.S. Senator John McCain's presidential campaign announced that it will run the TV ad, entitled "Accountable," in the important battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania starting tomorrow (May 28, 2008). The ad focuses on John McCain's innovative pro-growth plans to get our economy back on track.
VIEW THE AD HERE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yI4mNspYdCA
Script For "Accountable" (TV:30)
JOHN MCCAIN: The great goal is to get the American economy running at full strength again -- creating the opportunities Americans expect and the jobs Americans need.
ANNCR: As president, John McCain will make taxes simpler, fairer;
Energy cleaner, cheaper;
Health care portable and affordable;
Corporate CEOs accountable;
Mortgage debt restructured;
Big ideas for serious problems,
I'm John McCain and I approve this message.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Today, John McCain Outlined His Vision For Nuclear Security In The 21st Century.
John McCain believes that we can build a safer world, one with fewer nuclear weapons and in which proliferation, instability, and nuclear terrorism are far less likely. To achieve this, John McCain outlined a series of initiatives that will enhance nuclear security and prevent proliferation.
A Crisis That Has Been Building For Decades, The Global Spread Of Nuclear Weapons, Demands Action Now.
North Korea pursues a nuclear weapons program that has advanced to the point where Kim Jong-Il has tested a nuclear weapon, and almost certainly possesses several more nuclear warheads. North Korea has shared its nuclear and missile know-how with others, including Syria. Iran is marching with single-minded determination toward the same goal. Other nations are wondering whether they need to have such weapons. We could find ourselves in a world where a dozen or more nations have viable nuclear weapons programs.
A World Free Of Nuclear Weapons:
As President, John McCain Will Establish A Long-Term Commitment To A World Free Of Nuclear Weapons. Like President Reagan, John McCain believes we can see a day when nuclear weapons are banished from the Earth. While a distant and difficult goal, we must proceed toward it prudently and pragmatically, and with a focused concern on our security and our allies' security. The time has come to take further measures to reduce the number of nuclear weapons, and the U.S. must be a leader.
John McCain's Highest Priority Will Be To Reduce The Danger Nuclear Weapons Will Ever Be Used.
We must seek to do all we can to ensure that nuclear weapons will never again be used. While working closely with our allies, John McCain will ask the Joint Chiefs of Staff to engage in a comprehensive review of all aspects of our nuclear strategy and policy.
At The Same Time, The U.S. Must Continue To Deploy A Safe And Reliable Nuclear Deterrent, Robust Missile Defense And Superior Conventional Forces.
John McCain Supports Further Strategic Arms Reductions. John McCain will seek to reduce the size of our nuclear arsenal to the lowest number possible consistent with our security requirements and global commitments, moving as rapidly as possible to a significantly smaller force.
John McCain Will Work With Russia On Nuclear Security. John McCain is prepared to enter into a new arms control agreement with Russia to reduce nuclear weapons.
He will work toward agreement with Russia on binding verification measures based on those currently in effect under the START Agreement. Working with our allies, John McCain will explore ways with Russia to reduce -- and hopefully eliminate -- deployments of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe. He will work with Russia to build confidence in our missile defense program, seriously consider Russia's recent proposal to work together to globalize the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and redouble our common efforts to reduce the risk that nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons may fall into the hands of terrorists or unfriendly governments.
John McCain Believes We Should Begin A Nuclear Dialogue With China.
We should work to achieve the greatest possible transparency and cooperation on nuclear force structure and doctrine. We should work hard to bring China in to line with the practices of the other four nuclear weapon states recognized in the Non-Proliferation Treaty. We should also work to see China move toward a moratorium on the production of additional fissile material.
John McCain Will Also Address Nuclear Testing.
As president, John McCain will continue America's current moratorium on testing and begin a dialogue with our allies to identify ways we can move forward in limiting testing in a verifiable manner. This includes taking another look at the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty to see what can be done to overcome shortcomings that prevented it from entering into force.
John McCain Opposes The Development Of New Nuclear Weapons Unless Certain Specific Conditions Are Met.
John McCain would only support the development of any new type of nuclear weapon that is essential for the viability of our deterrent, that results in making possible further decreases in the size of our nuclear arsenal, and furthers our global national security goals. John McCain will cancel all further work on the so-called Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator.
John McCain Will Work To Strengthen Existing International Treaties And Institutions To Combat Proliferation And Develop New Ones Where Necessary.
The U.S. should move quickly to negotiate a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty and improve the ability to interdict the spread of nuclear weapons and material under the Proliferation Security Initiative. John McCain will increase funding for American nonproliferation efforts, including the Cooperative Threat Reduction programs established by the landmark Nunn-Lugar legislation.
Strengthen The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT):
As President, John McCain will work to strengthen and enhance the non-proliferation regime. We need to strengthen enforcement of the so-called "atoms for peace" bargain by insisting that countries that receive the benefits of peaceful nuclear cooperation must return or dismantle what they receive if they violate or withdraw from the NPT.
Increase IAEA Funding And Enhance The Intelligence Support It Receives:
The UN Security Council should require that international transfers of sensitive nuclear technology be disclosed in advance, and further require that undisclosed transfers be deemed illicit and subject to interdiction. To enforce treaty obligations, IAEA member states must be willing to impose sanctions on nations that seek to withdraw from it.
John McCain Supports The U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Accord.
This accord strengthens our relationship with the world's largest democracy and further involves India in the fight against proliferation. John McCain will actively engage both India and Pakistan to improve the security of their nuclear stockpiles and weapons materials.
To Prevent Countries From Using Civilian Nuclear Programs As A Cover For The Development Of Nuclear Weapons, John McCain Will Limit The Further Spread Of Enrichment And Reprocessing.
John McCain supports international guarantees of nuclear fuel supply to countries that renounce enrichment and reprocessing. He also supports establishing international nuclear enrichment centers and an international repository for spent nuclear fuel.
U.S. Senator John McCain delivered the following remarks at the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado, today:
For much of our history, the world considered the United States a young country. Today, we are the world's oldest constitutional democracy, yet we remain a young nation. We still possess the attributes of youth -- spirit, energy, vitality, and creativity. America will always be young as long as we are looking forward, and leading, to a better world.
Innovative and energetic American leadership is as vital to the world's future today as it was during the Cold War. I have spent my life in public service working to ensure our great nation is strong enough to counter those who wish us ill. To be an effective leader in the 21st century, however, it is not enough to be strong. We must be a model for others. That means not only pursuing our own interests but recognizing that we share interests with peoples across our planet. There is such a thing as good international citizenship, and America must be a good citizen of the world--leading the way to address the danger of global warming and preserve our environment, strengthening existing international institutions and helping to build new ones, and engaging the world in a broad dialogue on the threat of violent extremists, who would, if they could, use weapons of mass destruction to attack us and our allies.
Today we also need to apply our spirit of optimism, energy, and innovation to a crisis that has been building for decades but is now coming to a head: the global spread of nuclear weapons. Forty-five years ago, President John F. Kennedy asked the American people to imagine what the world would look like if nuclear weapons spread beyond the few powers that then held them to the many other nations that sought them. "Stop and think for a moment," he said, "what it would mean to have nuclear weapons in so many hands, in the hands of countries large and small, stable and unstable, responsible and irresponsible, scattered throughout the world." If that happened, he warned, "there would be no rest for anyone."
Kennedy's warning resonates more today than ever before. North Korea pursues a nuclear weapons program to the point where, today, the dictator Kim Jong-Il has tested a nuclear weapon, and almost certainly possesses several more nuclear warheads. And it has shared its nuclear and missile know-how with others, including Syria. It is a vital national interest for the North Korean nuclear program to be completely, verifiably and irreversibly ended. Likewise, we have seen Iran marching with single-minded determination toward the same goal. President Ahmadinejad has threatened to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, and represents a threat to every country in the region - one we cannot ignore or minimize.
Other nations have begun to wonder whether they, too, need to have such weapons, if only in self-defense. As a result, we could find ourselves in a world where a dozen or more nations, small and large, stable and unstable, responsible and irresponsible, have viable nuclear weapons programs. But there is a flip side to President Kennedy's warning. We should stop and think for a moment not only of the perils of a world awash with nuclear weapons, but also of the more hopeful alternative -- a world in which there are far fewer such weapons than there are today, and in which proliferation, instability, and nuclear terrorism are far less likely. This is the world it is our responsibility to build.
There is no simple answer to the problem. If you look back over the past two decades, I don't think any of us, Republican or Democrat, can take much satisfaction in what we've accomplished to control nuclear proliferation. Today, some people seem to think they've discovered a brand new cause, something no one before them ever thought of. Many believe all we need to do to end the nuclear programs of hostile governments is have our president talk with leaders in Pyongyang and Tehran, as if we haven't tried talking to these governments repeatedly over the past two decades. Others think military action alone can achieve our goals, as if military actions were not fraught with their own terrible risks. While the use of force may be necessary, it can only be as a last resort not a first step. The truth is we will only address the terrible prospect of the worldwide spread of nuclear arms if we transcend our partisan differences, co mbine our energies, learn from our past mistakes, and seek practical and effective solutions.
I'd like to suggest some steps we should take to chart a common vision for the future. It is a vision in which the United States returns to a tradition of innovative thinking, broad-minded internationalism, and determined diplomacy, backed by America's great and enduring power to lead. It is a vision not of the United States acting alone, but building and participating in a community of nations all drawn together in this vital common purpose. It is a vision of a responsible America, dedicated to an enduring peace based on freedom.
A quarter of a century ago, President Ronald Reagan declared, "our dream is to see the day when nuclear weapons will be banished from the face of the Earth." That is my dream, too. It is a distant and difficult goal. And we must proceed toward it prudently and pragmatically, and with a focused concern for our security and the security of allies who depend on us. But the Cold War ended almost twenty years ago, and the time has come to take further measures to reduce dramatically the number of nuclear weapons in the world's arsenals. It is time for the United States to show the kind of leadership the world expects from us, in the tradition of American presidents who worked to reduce the nuclear threat to mankind.
Our highest priority must be to reduce the danger that nuclear weapons will ever be used. Such weapons, while still important to deter an attack with weapons of mass destruction against us and our allies, represent the most abhorrent and indiscriminate form of warfare known to man. We do, quite literally, possess the means to destroy all of mankind. We must seek to do all we can to ensure that nuclear weapons will never again be used.
While working closely with allies who rely on our nuclear umbrella for their security, I would ask the Joint Chiefs of Staff to engage in a comprehensive review of all aspects of our nuclear strategy and policy. I would keep an open mind on all responsible proposals. At the same time, we must continue to deploy a safe and reliable nuclear deterrent, robust missile defenses and superior conventional forces that are capable of defending the United States and our allies. But I will seek to reduce the size of our nuclear arsenal to the lowest number possible consistent with our security requirements and global commitments. Today we deploy thousands of nuclear warheads. It is my hope to move as rapidly as possible to a significantly smaller force.
While we have serious differences, with the end of the Cold War, Russia and the United States are no longer mortal enemies. As our two countries possess the overwhelming majority of the world's nuclear weapons, we have a special responsibility to reduce their number. I believe we should reduce our nuclear forces to the lowest level we judge necessary, and we should be prepared to enter into a new arms control agreement with Russia reflecting the nuclear reductions I will seek. Further, we should be able to agree with Russia on binding verification measures based on those currently in effect under the START Agreement, to enhance confidence and transparency. In close consultation with our allies, I would also like to explore ways we and Russia can reduce -- and hopefully eliminate -- deployments of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe. I also believe we should work with Russia to build confidence in our missile defens e program, including through such initiatives as the sharing of early warning data and prior notification of missile launches.
There are other areas in which we can work in partnership with Russia to strengthen protections against weapons of mass destruction. I would seriously consider Russia's recent proposal to work together to globalize the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. I would also redouble our common efforts to reduce the risk that nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons may fall into the hands of terrorists or unfriendly governments.
I believe we should also begin a dialogue with China on strategic and nuclear issues. We have important shared interests with China and should begin discussing ways to achieve the greatest possible transparency and cooperation on nuclear force structure and doctrine. We should work with China to encourage conformity with the practices of the other four nuclear weapon states recognized in the Non-Proliferation Treaty, including working toward nuclear arsenal reductions and toward a moratorium on the production of additional fissile material.
I believe we must also address nuclear testing. As president I will pledge to continue America's current moratorium on testing, but also begin a dialogue with our allies, and with the U.S. Senate, to identify ways we can move forward to limit testing in a verifiable manner that does not undermine the security or viability of our nuclear deterrent. This would include taking another look at the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty to see what can be done to overcome the shortcomings that prevented it from entering into force. I opposed that treaty in 1999, but said at the time I would keep an open mind about future developments.
I would only support the development of any new type of nuclear weapon that is absolutely essential for the viability of our deterrent, that results in making possible further decreases in the size of our nuclear arsenal, and furthers our global nuclear security goals. I would cancel all further work on the so-called Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator, a weapon that does not make strategic or political sense.
Finally, we cannot achieve our non-proliferation goals on our own. We must strengthen existing international treaties and institutions to combat proliferation, and develop new ones when necessary. We should move quickly with other nations to negotiate a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty to end production of the most dangerous nuclear materials. The international community needs to improve its ability to interdict the spread of nuclear weapons and material under the Proliferation Security Initiative. And we need to increase funding for our own non-proliferation efforts, including the Cooperative Threat Reduction programs established by the landmark Nunn-Lugar legislation, and ensure the highest possible standards of security for existing nuclear materials.
In 2010, an international conference will meet to review the Non-Proliferation Treaty. If I am President, I will seize that opportunity to strengthen and enhance all aspects of the non-proliferation regime. We need to strengthen enforcement of the so-called "atoms for peace" bargain by insisting that countries that receive the benefits of peaceful nuclear cooperation must return or dismantle what they receive if they violate or withdraw from the NPT. We need to increase IAEA funding and enhance the intelligence support it receives. We also need to reverse the burden of proof when it comes to discovering whether a nation is cheating on its NPT commitments. The IAEA shouldn't have to play cat-and-mouse games to prove a country is in compliance. It is for suspected violators to prove they are in compliance. We should establish a requirement by the UN Security Council that international transfers of sensitive nuclear technology must be disclosed in advance to an international authority such as the IAEA, and further require that undisclosed transfers be deemed illicit and subject to interdiction. Finally, to enforce treaty obligations, IAEA member states must be willing to impose sanctions on nations that seek to withdraw from it.
We need to enlist all willing partners in the global battle against nuclear proliferation. I support the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Accord as a means of strengthening our relationship with the world's largest democracy, and further involving India in the fight against proliferation. We should engage actively with both India and Pakistan to improve the security of nuclear stockpiles and weapons materials, and construct a secure global nuclear order that eliminates the likelihood of proliferation and the possibility of nuclear conflict.
As we improve the national and multilateral tools to catch and reverse illicit nuclear programs, I am convinced civilian nuclear energy can be a critical part of our fight against global warming. Civilian nuclear power provides a way for the United States and other responsible nations to achieve energy independence and reduce our dependence on foreign oil and gas. But in order to take advantage of civilian nuclear energy, we must do a better job of ensuring it remains civilian. Some nations use the pretense of civilian nuclear programs as cover for nuclear weapons programs. We need to build an international consensus that exposes this deception, and holds nations accountable for it. We cannot continue allowing nations to enrich and reprocess uranium, ostensibly for civilian purposes, and stand by impotently as they develop weapons programs.
The most effective way to prevent this deception is to limit the further spread of enrichment and reprocessing. To persuade countries to forego enrichment and reprocessing, I would support international guarantees of nuclear fuel supply to countries that renounce enrichment and reprocessing, as well as the establishment of multinational nuclear enrichment centers in which they can participate. Nations that seek nuclear fuel for legitimate civilian purposes will be able to acquire what they need under international supervision. This is one suggestion Russia and others have made to Iran. Unfortunately, the Iranian government has so far rejected this idea. Perhaps with enough outside pressure and encouragement, they can be persuaded to change their minds before it is too late.
I would seek to establish an international repository for spent nuclear fuel that could collect and safely store materials overseas that might otherwise be reprocessed to acquire bomb-grade materials. It is even possible that such an international center could make it unnecessary to open the proposed spent nuclear fuel storage facility at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.
This is a long list of steps we need to take. It is long because there is no single answer to this crisis, and there are no easy answers. It is long because no nation can meet this dire challenge alone and none can be indifferent to its outcome. The United States cannot and will not stop the spread of nuclear weapons by unilateral action. We must lead concerted and persistent multilateral efforts. As powerful as we are, America's ability to defend ourselves and our allies against the threat of nuclear attack depends on our ability to encourage effective international cooperation. We must strengthen the accords and institutions that make such cooperation possible. No problem we face poses a greater threat to us and the world than nuclear proliferation. In a time when followers of a hateful and remorseless ideology are willing to destroy themselves to destroy us, the threat of suicide bombers with the means to wreak incompreh ensible devastation should call the entire world to action. The civilized nations of the world must act as one or we will suffer consequences once thought remote when the threat of mutually assured destruction could deter responsible states from thinking the unthinkable.
Americans have always risen to the challenges of their time. And we have always done so successfully not by hiding from history, but by making history; by encouraging a sometimes reluctant world to follow our lead, and defend civilization from old mistakes and old animosities, and the folly of relying on policies that no longer keep us safe. I want to keep the country I love and have served all my life secure in our freedom. I want us to rise to the challenges of our times, as generations before us rose to theirs. It is incumbent on America, more than any other nation on earth, to lead in building the foundations for a stable and enduring peace, a peace built on the strength of our commitment to it, on the transformative ideals on which we were founded, on our ability to see around the corner of history, and on our courage and wisdom to make new and better choices. No matter how dangerous the threats we face in our day, it still remains within our power to make in our time another, better world than we inherited. And that, my friends, is what I am running for President to do.
Monday, May 26, 2008
For a good illustration of just how vulnerable Barack Obama apparently feels on national security, look no farther than the fight he picked with John McCain on the Senate floor last week. ... McCain, of course, has his reasons - most significantly, the fear that the measure would encourage battle-toughened soldiers and Marines not to re-enlist at a time when their skills are most needed. Not that this matters to Democrats in general - and Obama in particular - for whom veterans' compensation forms an all-too-convenient smokescreen to cover their utter lack of substantive ideas when it comes to the thing our troops care about the most. That's to say: victory." -- The New York Post
Bam's GI Posturing
New York PostMay 25, 2008
For a good illustration of just how vulnerable Barack Obama apparently feels on national security, look no farther than the fight he picked with John McCain on the Senate floor last week.
Obama lashed out at McCain over the latter's opposition to an expansive, $52 billion benefit package for War on Terror vets. The bill would grant tuition assistance up to the cost of the most expensive in-state public college to any vet who's served at least three years since 9/11.
"I respect [McCain's] service to our country," Obama said, "but I can't understand why he would line up behind the president in opposition to this GI Bill."
McCain, of course, has his reasons - most significantly, the fear that the measure would encourage battle-toughened soldiers and Marines not to re-enlist at a time when their skills are most needed.
Not that this matters to Democrats in general - and Obama in particular - for whom veterans' compensation forms an all-too-convenient smokescreen to cover their utter lack of substantive ideas when it comes to the thing our troops care about the most.
That's to say: victory.
To be sure, partisan calculation isn't the whole story: The measure's co-sponsors, Sens. Jim Webb (D-Va.) and Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), are both Vietnam vets themselves.
But even so, some historical context is sorely needed.
The measure, which passed the Senate 75-22 as part of a broader war-funding bill, is explicitly modeled on the 1944 GI Bill - which also provided a free college education to returning veterans.
The difference being that that war effort required the mass conscription of millions of men called upon to sacrifice years of their lives - with none of the vast incentive system in place for those who join today's all-volunteer military.
The GI Bill, for instance, already offers tens of thousands of dollars for vets' college education, and re-enlistment bonuses can be equally generous - especially for service members with critical skills.
That's not to mention the world-class - and often-transferable-to-civilian-life - education American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines and women are getting on the job.
It goes without saying, of course, that Americans should always be vigilant in seeing that their troops are justly compensation for their sacrifices and service.
But the country's far beyond the point where veterans' compensation is fair game for a cheap political attack.
Or it should be.
So one wonders: Is Sen. Obama trying to compensate for something?
Read The New York Post Editorial
Posted by Georgia Front Page.com at 10:37 PM
U.S. Senator John McCain's remarks as prepared for delivery at the New Mexico Veterans Memorial in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Memorial Day at 10:30 a.m. MDT (12:30 p.m. EDT):
Thank you. I'm always grateful for the opportunity, and pleased to be in the company of Americans who have had the burden of serving our country in distant lands, and the honor of having proved your patriotism in difficult circumstances.
I was blessed to have been born into a family who made their living at sea in defense of our security and ideals. My grandfather was a naval aviator; my father a submariner. And it was nearly pre-ordained that I would find a place in my family's profession, and that occupation would one day take me to war. Such was not the case for many of you. Your ambitions might not have led you to war; the honors you sought were not kept hidden on battlefields. Many of you were citizen-soldiers. You answered the call when it came; took up arms for your country's sake; and fought to the limit of your ability because you believed America's security was as much your responsibility as it was the professional soldier's. And when you came home, you built a better a country than the one you inherited. It's a privilege to be in your company.
The sacrifices made by veterans deserve to be memorialized in something more lasting than marble or bronze or in the fleeting effect of a politician's speeches. Your valor and devotion to duty have earned your country's abiding concern for your welfare. And when our government forgets to honor our debts to you, it is a stain upon America's honor. The Walter Reed scandal recalled, I hope, not just government but the public who elected it, to our responsibilities to the men and women who risked life and limb to meet their responsibilities to us. Such a disgrace is unworthy of the greatest nation on earth. As the greatest leaders in our history, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, instructed us, care for Americans who fought to defend us should rank among the highest of national priorities.
Those who have borne the burden of war for our sake must be treated fairly and expeditiously as they seek compensation for disability or illness. We owe them compassion, knowledge and hands-on care in their transition to civilian life. We owe them training, rehabilitation and education. We owe their families, parents and caregivers our concern and support. They should never be deprived of quality medical care and mental health care coverage for illness or injury incurred as a result of their service to our country.
As President, I will do everything in my power to ensure that those who serve today and those who have served in the past have access to the highest quality health, mental health and rehabilitative care in the world. The disgrace of Walter Reed must not be forgotten. Neither should we accept a situation in which veterans are denied access to care due to great travel distances, backlogs of appointments, and years of pending disability evaluation and claims. I believe we should give veterans the option to use a simple plastic card to receive timely and accessible care at a convenient location through a provider of their choosing. We should no longer tolerate requiring veterans to make an appointment to stand in line to make an appointment to stand in line for substandard care of the injuries you have suffered to keep our country safe. Whatever our commitments to veterans cost, we will keep them, as you have kept every co mmitment to us. The honor of a great nation is at stake.
I also believe we should provide veterans with a substantial increase in educational benefits. I have joined with colleagues to offer legislation that will do just that. The bill we have sponsored would increase monthly education benefits to $1500; eliminate the $1200 enrollment fee; and offer $1000 annually for books and supplies. Importantly, we would allow veterans to transfer those benefits to their spouses or dependent children or use a part of them to pay down existing student loans. We also increase benefits to the Guard and Reserve, and even more generously to those who serve in the Selected Reserve.
I know that my friend and fellow veteran, Senator Jim Webb, an honorable man who takes his responsibility to veterans very seriously, has also offered legislation that would provide more generous benefits. Both Senator Webb and I are united in our deep appreciation for the men and women who risk their lives so that the rest of us may be secure in our freedom. And I take a backseat to no one in my affection, respect and devotion to veterans. I grew up in the Navy; served for twenty-two years as a naval officer; and, like Senator Webb, personally experienced the terrible costs war imposes on the veteran. The friendships I formed in war remain among the closest relationships in my life. The Navy is still the world I know best and love most.
But, as you might know, I am running for the office of Commander-in-Chief. That is the highest privilege in this country, and it imposes the greatest responsibilities. And this is why I am committed to our bill, despite the support Senator Webb's bill has received. It would be easier politically for me to have joined Senator Webb in offering his legislation. More importantly, I feel just as he does, that we owe veterans the respect and generosity of a great nation because no matter how generously we show our gratitude it will never compensate them fully for all the sacrifices they have borne on our behalf.
The most important difference between our two approaches is that Senator Webb offers veterans who served one enlistment the same benefits as those offered veterans who have re-enlisted several times. Our bill has a sliding scale that offers generous benefits to all veterans, but increases those benefits according to the veteran's length of service. It is important to do that because, otherwise, we will encourage more people to leave the military after they have completed one enlistment. At a time when the United States military is fighting in two wars, and as we finally are beginning the long overdue and very urgent necessity of increasing the size of the Army and Marine Corps, one study estimates that Senator Webb's bill will reduce retention rates by 16 percent.
Most worrying to me, is that by hurting retention we will reduce the numbers of men and women who we train to become the backbone of all the services, the noncommissioned officer. In my life, I have learned more from noncommissioned officers I have known and served with than anyone else outside my family. And in combat, no one is more important to their soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen, and to the officers who command them, than the sergeant and petty officer. They are very hard to replace. Encouraging people to choose to not become noncommissioned officers would hurt the military and our country very badly. As I said, the office of President, which I am seeking, is a great honor, indeed, but it imposes serious responsibilities. How faithfully the President discharges those responsibilities will determine whether he or she deserves the honor. I can only tell you, I intend to deserve the honor if I am fortunate to rece ive it, even if it means I must take politically unpopular positions at times and disagree with people for whom I have the highest respect and affection.
Now, I would like to end by discussing the subject that concerns all of us more than anything else, the war in Iraq. When I was five years old, a car pulled up in front of our house in New London, Connecticut, and a Navy officer rolled down the window, and shouted at my father that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. My father immediately left for the submarine base where he was stationed. I rarely saw him again for four years. My grandfather, who commanded the fast carrier task force under Admiral Halsey, came home from the war exhausted from the burdens he had borne, and died the next day. In Vietnam, where I formed the closest friendships of my life, some of those friends never came home to the country they loved so well. I detest war. It might not be the worst thing to befall human beings, but it is wretched beyond all description. When nations seek to resolve their differences by force of arms, a million tragedies en sue. The lives of a nation's finest patriots are sacrificed. Innocent people suffer and die. Commerce is disrupted; economies are damaged; strategic interests shielded by years of patient statecraft are endangered as the exigencies of war and diplomacy conflict. Not the valor with which it i00s fought nor the nobility of the cause it serves, can glorify war. Whatever gains are secured, it is loss the veteran remembers most keenly. Only a fool or a fraud sentimentalizes the merciless reality of war. However heady the appeal of a call to arms, however just the cause, we should still shed a tear for all that is lost when war claims its wages from us.
As we meet, in Iraq and Afghanistan, American soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen are fighting bravely and tenaciously in battles that are as dangerous, difficult and consequential as the great battles of our armed forces' storied past. As we all know, the American people have grown sick and tired of the war in Iraq. I understand that, of course. I, too, have been made sick at heart by the many mistakes made by civilian and military commanders and the terrible price we have paid for them. But we cannot react to those mistakes by embracing a course of action that will be an even greater mistake, a mistake of colossal historical proportions, which will -- and I am sure of this -- seriously endanger the security of the country I have served all my adult life.
We have new commanders in Iraq, and they are following a counterinsurgency strategy that we should have been following from the beginning, which makes the most effective use of our strength and doesn't strengthen the tactics of our enemy. This new battle plan is succeeding where our previous tactics failed. The Government of Iraq and the Iraqi Army are now taking more responsibility for the security of their own country and fighting successfully in Basra, Sadr City and Mosul. We must give General Petraeus and the Americans he has the honor to command adequate time to salvage from the wreckage of our past mistakes a measure of stability for Iraq and the Middle East, and a more secure future for the American people.
To walk away now -- before the Iraqi government can fully protect its people from ruthless enemies -- would strengthen al Qaeda, empower Iran and other hostile powers in the Middle East, unleash a full scale civil war in Iraq that could quite possibly provoke genocide there, and destabilize the entire region as neighboring powers come to the aid of their favored factions. The consequences would threaten us for years, and I am certain would eventually draw us into a wider and more difficult war that would impose even greater sacrifices on us.
Our defeat in Iraq would be catastrophic, not just for Iraq, but for us. I cannot be complicit in it. I will do whatever I can, whether I am effective or not, to help avert it. That is all I can offer my country. It is not much compared to the sacrifices made by Americans who have volunteered to fight this war for us. I know that and am humbled by it. But though my duty is neither dangerous nor onerous, it compels me nonetheless to say to my fellow Americans, as long as we have the opportunity to succeed we must try to succeed. And I firmly believe that, with the continued right course of action, we will succeed.
I have many responsibilities to the American people, and I take them all seriously. But I have one responsibility that outweighs all the others and that is to use whatever talents I possess, and every resource God has granted me to protect the security of this great and good nation from all enemies foreign and domestic. And that I intend to do, even if I must stand athwart popular opinion. I will attempt to convince as many of my countrymen as I can that we must show even greater patience, though our patience is nearly exhausted, and that as long as there is a reasonable prospect for succeeding in this war then we must not choose to lose it. That is how I construe my responsibility to my country. That is how I construed it yesterday. It is how I construe it today. It is how I will construe it tomorrow. I do not know how I could choose any other course.
The war in Iraq has divided the American people, but it has divided no American in our admiration for the men and women who are fighting for us there. It is every veteran's hope that should their children be called upon to answer a call to arms, the battle will be necessary and the field well chosen. But that is not their responsibility. It belongs to the government that called them. As it once was for us, their honor will be in their answer not their summons. Whatever we think about how and why we went to war in Iraq, we are all -- those who supported the decision that placed them in harm's way and those who opposed it -- humbled by and grateful for their example. They now deserve the distinction of the best Americans, and we owe them a debt we can never fully repay. We can only offer the small tribute of our humility and our commitment to do all that we can do, in less trying and costly circumstances, to help ke ep this nation worthy of their sacrifice.
Many of them have served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many have had their tours extended. Many have returned to combat sooner than they had been led to expect. It is a sad and hard thing to ask so much more of Americans who have already given more than their fair share to the defense of our country. Few of them and their families will have received the news about additional and longer deployments without aiming a few appropriate complaints in the general direction of people like me, who helped make the decision to send them there. And then they shouldered a rifle and risked everything -- everything -- to accomplish their mission, to protect another people's freedom and our own country from harm.
It is a privilege beyond measure to live in a country served by them. I have lived a long, eventful and blessed life. I have had the good fortune to know personally a great many brave and selfless patriots who sacrificed and shed blood to defend America. But I have known none braver or better than those who do so today. They are our inspiration, as I suspect all of you were once theirs. And I pray to a loving God that He bless and protect them.
Posted by Georgia Front Page.com at 10:33 PM
Saturday, May 24, 2008
"Senator Obama claimed that the threat Iran poses to our security is 'tiny' compared to the threat once posed by the former Soviet Union. Obviously, Iran isn't a superpower and doesn't possess the military power the Soviet Union had. But that does not mean that the threat posed by Iran is insignificant. ... Should Iran acquire nuclear weapons, that danger would become very dire, indeed. They might not be a superpower, but the threat the Government of Iran poses is anything but 'tiny.'" -- John McCain
Remarks As Prepared For Delivery
National Restaurant Association
May 19, 2008
Watch John McCain's Remarks
"Before I begin my prepared remarks, I want to respond briefly to a comment Senator Obama made yesterday about the threat posed to the United States by the Government of Iran. Senator Obama claimed that the threat Iran poses to our security is 'tiny' compared to the threat once posed by the former Soviet Union. Obviously, Iran isn't a superpower and doesn't possess the military power the Soviet Union had. But that does not mean that the threat posed by Iran is insignificant. On the contrary, right now Iran provides some of the deadliest explosive devices used in Iraq to kill our soldiers. They are the chief sponsor of Shia extremists in Iraq, and terrorist organizations in the Middle East. And their President, who has called Israel a 'stinking corpse,' has repeatedly made clear his government's commitment to Israel's destruction.
Most worrying, Iran is intent on acquiring nuclear weapons. The biggest national security challenge the United States cur rently faces is keeping nuclear material out of the hands of terrorists. Should Iran acquire nuclear weapons, that danger would become very dire, indeed. They might not be a superpower, but the threat the Government of Iran poses is anything but 'tiny'.
"Senator Obama has declared, and repeatedly reaffirmed his intention to meet the President of Iran without any preconditions, likening it to meetings between former American Presidents and the leaders of the Soviet Union. Such a statement betrays the depth of Senator Obama's inexperience and reckless judgment. Those are very serious deficiencies for an American president to possess. An ill conceived meeting between the President of the United States and the President of Iran, and the massive world media coverage it would attract, would increase the prestige of an implacable foe of the United States, and reinforce his confidence that Iran's dedication to acquiring nuclear weapons, supporting terrorists and destroying the State of Israel had succeeded in winning concessions from the most powerful nation on earth. And he is unlikely to abandon the dangerous ambitions that will have given him a prominent role on the world stage.
"This is not to suggest that the United States should not communicate with Iran our concerns about their behavior. Those communications have already occurred at an appropriate level, which the Iranians recently suspended. But a summit meeting with the President of the United States, which is what Senator Obama proposes, is the most prestigious card we have to play in international diplomacy. It is not a card to be played lightly. Summit meetings must be much more than personal get-acquainted sessions. They must be designed to advance American interests. An unconditional summit meeting with the next American president would confer both international legitimacy on the Iranian president and could strengthen him domestically when he is unpopular among the Iranian people. It is likely such a meeting would not only fail to persuade him to abandon Iran's nuclear ambitions; its support of terrorists and commitment to Israel's extinction, it could very well convince him that those policies are succeeding in strengthening his hold on power, and embolden him to continue his very dangerous behavior. The next President ought to understand such basic realities of international relations."
What Senator Obama Said:
Senator Obama: "Strong countries and strong Presidents talk to their adversaries. That's what Kennedy did with Khrushchev. That's what Reagan did with Gorbachev. That's what Nixon did with Mao. I mean think about it. Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union. They don't pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us. And yet we were willing to talk to the Soviet Union at the time when they were saying we're going to wipe you off the planet. And ultimately that direct engagement led to a series of measures that helped prevent nuclear war, and over time allowed the kind of opening that brought down the Berlin Wall. Now, that has to be the kind of approach that we take.
"You know, Iran, they spend one-one hundredth of what we spend on the military. If Iran ever tried to pose a serious threat to us, they wouldn't stand a chance. And we should use that position of strength that we have to be bold enough to go ahead and listen. That doesn't mean we agree with them on everything. We might not compromise on any issues, but at least we should find out other areas of potential common interest, and we can reduce some of the tensions that has caused us so many problems around the world." (Sen. Barack Obama, Remarks, Pendelton, OR, 5/19/08)
• Watch Senator Obama: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ew5qP2oPdtQ