Obama hits back at Bush over appeasement comments

May 17th, 2008 - 6:06 am ICT by admin  

Washington, May 17 (DPA) Democratic frontrunner Barack Obama lashed out at President George W. Bush Friday for carrying out an “appalling attack” by suggesting the Illinois senator would appease terrorists. “After eight years I did not think I could be surprised about anything George Bush says,” Obama said at a campaign rally in Watertown, South Dakota.

“That’s exactly the kind of appalling attack that divided our country and alienates us from the world,” he added.

Bush, speaking before the Knesset in Israel Thursday to celebrate 60 years of the Jewish state, made remarks widely interpreted as criticizing Obama for earlier comments showing a willingness to meet with the leadership of Iran and other rogue states if he took the White House.

“Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before,” Bush said, then compared the approach to the appeasement of Nazi Germany.

The White House denied the statement was directed at Obama, but it generated swift criticism from the Democrats and Hillary Clinton, who is trailing Obama in the race for the party’s nomination. Clinton called Bush’s comments “offensive and outrageous,” and said they have “no place in any presidential address.”

Obama also criticized the presumptive Republican nominee, John McCain, for his apparent agreement with Bush’s criticism.

“So much for civility,” Obama said of McCain’s earlier pledges to run a positive campaign.

Obama said he would engage Iran with “tough diplomacy” to persuade the Islamic state to abandon support for terrorism and its alleged nuclear weapons ambitions. McCain told supporters at a rally in Louisville, Kentucky, that Obama’s willingness to sit down with the Iranians was “reckless” and raised questions about his ability to lead.

“Until Senator Obama understands that reality the American people have every reason to doubt whether he has the strength, judgement and determination to keep us safe,” McCain said.

The US State Department lists Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism and the Bush administration has refused to hold high level talks with Tehran. The US and Iranian ambassadors in Baghdad, however, have held discussion over US concerns that Iran is provoking violence in Iraq - charges Iran denies.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said that she will meet with her Iranian counterpart once the country complies with UN Security Council demands to suspend uranium enrichment, a process that could be used to develop nuclear weapons.

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