Friday, May 16, 2008

James Rubin: McCain Hypocrisy on Hamas

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Hypocrisy on Hamas
McCain Was for Talking Before He Was Against It
By James P. Rubin
Friday, May 16, 2008; Page A19

If the recent exchanges between President Bush, Barack Obama and John McCain on Hamas and terrorism are a preview of the general election, we are in for an ugly six months. Despite his reputation in the media as a charming maverick, McCain has shown that he is also happy to use Nixon-style dirty campaign tactics. By charging recently that Hamas is rooting for an Obama victory, McCain tried to use guilt by association to suggest that Obama is weak on national security and won't stand up to terrorist organizations, or that, as Richard Nixon might have put it, Obama is soft on Israel.

President Bush picked up this theme yesterday. Without naming Obama during his speech last night to Israel's Knesset, Bush suggested that Democrats want to "negotiate with terrorists" while Republicans want to fight terrorists.

The Obama campaign was right to criticize the president for his remarks and for engaging in partisan politics while overseas. Many presidents have said things abroad that could be construed as violating this unwritten rule of American politics. But it is hard to remember any president abusing the prestige of his office in as crude a way as Bush did yesterday. Charging your opponents with appeasement and likening them to Neville Chamberlain in the Knesset is a brutal blow. It is bad enough that Republicans use the politics of personal destruction here at home, but to deploy that kind of political weapon at an occasion as solemn as an American president addressing the parliament of a friendly government marks a new low.

Rubin Accuses McCain of Hypocrisy
This morning, James P. Rubin, an adjunct professor at Columbia University's School of International Affairs who was formerly the State Department's chief spokesman during the Clinton administration, penned an Op-Ed in The Washington Post recalling an interview he did with Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain two years ago, in which McCain took a position with regard to doing business with Hamas that Rubin says makes his present attacks on Democratic Sen. Barack Obama's Middle East policy positions hypocritical.

McCain camp denies he 'flip-flopped' on Hamas

John McCain's campaign said Friday that claims by a former State Department official that McCain had advocated unconditional dialogue with the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas were misleading.

James P. Rubin said on CNN Friday that McCain had told him during a 2006 interview that the United States would inevitably have to deal with Hamas. Rubin said criticism now of similar statements by Democrats was "the ultimate flip-flop in American politics."

The McCain campaign said Friday that his position had remained consistent: no dialogue with rogue or suspected terrorist nations or parties without pre-conditions...

On CNN's "American Morning" Friday, Rubin -- a former assistant secretary of state in the Clinton administration and a supporter of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign -- said McCain's criticism of Obama's position was hypocritical. Watch Rubin accuse McCain of flip-flopping

USA Today blog
What's new: Was McCain's view of Hamas different in 2006?

James Rubin in The Washington Post -- McCain was in favor of talking to Hamas before he was against it: Writing on the Post's op-ed page today, former Clinton administration State Department spokesman (and current Hillary Rodham Clinton supporter) James Rubin says that when he interviewed Republican presidential contender John McCain two years ago, the Arizona senator was in favor of dealing with Hamas. "They're the (Palestinian) government; sooner or later we are going to have to deal with them," McCain told Rubin at the time. More recently, Rubin writes, McCain and his aides have been using a comment made by a Hamas spokesman to suggest that the group is "rooting for an Obama victory."

Related video at the liberal Huffington Post -- Rubin's interview with McCain.

Update at 2:15 p.m. ET. Another McCain video that puts things in a different light?

At the conservative Weekly Standard, Michael Goldfarb has posted video from another interview McCain appears to have done on the same day in 2006. In it, McCain talks about what he believes Hamas would need to do before "we can do business again" in Palestine. Most notably, McCain says Hamas would need to renounce its commitment to "the extinction of the state of Israel."

McCain’s Hamas comments, context restored Update: Video context added

James Rubin: Lying, inept hack
by Beth C. — published on May 16th, 2008
While I was at TPM earlier reading the Greg Sargent piece on the McCain blogger call, I noticed the Left is pushing yet another blatant lie - that McCain wanted to have a dialogue with Hamas. Haha. As if.

Thankfully, I don’t have to tear that lie apart, because Ed Morrissey has already done it.

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