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Pakistan Trip Makes Obama C-In-C Material

From his untiring cheerleaders at the New York Times:

Obama Says Real-Life Experience Trumps Rivals’ Foreign Policy Credits

April 10, 2008
By LARRY ROHTER

To counter opponents’ accusations that he lacks experience in foreign policy, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois often cites his ties to relatives in poor villages in Kenya and the years he spent growing up in Indonesia. Now he has added a new personal detail to that résumé: a trip to Pakistan while a college student.

Mr. Obama, the front-runner in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, made the disclosure Sunday night while speaking to supporters at a fund-raiser in San Francisco. His remarks, in which he poked fun at the utility of traditional foreign policy qualifications like government officials traveling abroad on fact-finding missions, were recorded and were quickly placed on the Web.

Mr. Obama, the front-runner in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, made the disclosure Sunday night while speaking to supporters at a fund-raiser in San Francisco. His remarks, in which he poked fun at the utility of traditional foreign policy qualifications like government officials traveling abroad on fact-finding missions, were recorded and were quickly placed on the Web…

“Experience in Washington is not knowledge of the world,” he continued, provoking laughter among those present. “This I know. When Senator Clinton brags, ‘I’ve met leaders from 80 countries,’ I know what those trips are like. I’ve been on them. You go from the airport to the embassy. There’s a group of children who do a native dance. You meet with the C.I.A. station chief and the embassy and they give you a briefing. You go take a tour of plant that” with “the assistance of Usaid has started something. And then, you go.”

During the speech, Mr. Obama also spoke about having traveled to Pakistan in the early 1980s. Because of that trip, which he did not mention in either of his autobiographical books, “I knew what Sunni and Shia was [sic] before I joined the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,” he said…

Even more than a gap on specific policies, Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain’s respective positions represent a fundamental philosophical difference. Mr. Obama’s advisers argue that “there are multiple aspects to experience, each of which can be relevant.” Mr. Obama’s experience “provides a different kind of insight” than the traditional résumé, said Susan E. Rice, a former assistant secretary of state for African affairs and a National Security Council official who is one of Mr. Obama’s foreign policy advisers.

“At a time when our foreign policy and national security have so obviously suffered from a simplistic, black-and-white interpretation,” Ms. Rice added, having “an American president who spent part of his formative years and young adulthood living in a poor country under a dictatorship brings an understanding of the complexity of things that others may not have. I’m not saying that official travels and Congressional delegations are without value, but there are limits to what you can glean from that.”

Mr. Obama’s advisers acknowledge that there are gaps in his experience — he has never traveled to Latin America, for instance — but they maintain that the sound judgment they say he has demonstrated on foreign policy issues, like Iraq and Pakistan, where he wants the United States to distance itself from Gen. Pervez Musharraf, more than compensates for any such shortcomings.

According to his campaign staff, Mr. Obama visited Pakistan in 1981, on the way back from Indonesia, where his mother and half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, were living. He spent “about three weeks” there, Mr. Obama’s press secretary, Bill Burton, said, staying in Karachi with the family of a college friend, Mohammed Hasan Chandoo, but also traveling to Hyderabad, in India.

Mr. Obama appears not to have previously cited his travel in Pakistan in speeches during the campaign. In “Dreams from My Father,” he talks of having a Pakistani roommate when he moved to New York, a man he calls Sadik who “had overstayed his tourist visa and now made a living in New York’s high-turnover, illegal immigrant work force, waiting on tables.”

Mr. Obama, the campaign and his publisher have not provided any details about the identity of Sadik.

During his years at Occidental College, Mr. Obama also befriended Wahid Hamid, a fellow student who was an immigrant from Pakistan and traveled with Mr. Obama there, the Obama campaign said. Mr. Hamid is now a vice president at Pepsico in New York, and according to public records, has donated the maximum $2,300 to the Obama campaign and is listed as a fund-raiser for it.

Mr. Chandoo is now a self-employed financial consultant, living in Armonk, N.Y. He has also donated the maximum, $2,300, to Mr. Obama’s primary campaign and an additional $309 for the general election, campaign finance records show.

Funny how the New York Times makes it sound like Mr. Obama trotted out this latest bit of biography voluntarily. Whereas it in reality it would appear to have been more of a slip of the tongue.

But in any case, it is of course highly risible that Mr. Obama (and the New York Times) would think this burnishes his qualifications for the Presidency.

Though, Mr. Obama does have a point. Compared to Mrs. Clinton’s junkets as First Lady, he does have more actual experience overseas. But of course most Army brats could top them both. 

Worse yet, Mr. Obama’s revelations only serve to make him that much more shady. (If that term is still permitted.)

Which is undoubtedly why he has never brought up this vacation fact-finding mission before. And why he only did so accidentally.

What, you didn’t know his only friend in New York City was an Pakistani living in this country illegally? What’s wrong with that?

Living with an illegal alien Muslim should be a resume enhancer for any future President.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, April 10th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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