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Obama Identifies a New Threat: Militant Islam in Afghanistan

8:26 PM, Jan 7, 2008 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
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Nashua, New Hampshire
Barack Obama will glide to an overwhelming win here in New Hampshire tomorrow, certainly by double-digits maybe by twenty. He is on such a roll that nothing, even a rather foolish gaffe on his weakest issue (national security), will do very much to slow him down.

Like this one. Obama had a Huckabee moment in an interview with NBC's Brian Williams when he said that militant Islam is "starting to seep in" to Afghanistan and "could cause us great danger." Here is the entire exchange:

Williams: To voters who say, "He doesn't have enough experience. We've got a dangerous world out there," what's the case you make back?

Obama: That on the most difficult foreign policy issues that we have confronted over the last several years, since 9/11, my judgment has been sound. I anticipated the problems that we would have in Iraq and warned against them before we went--into the war, at a time when I was--running for the United States Senate.

I had suggested very early on in this campaign and have been consistent in the view that we have to talk not just to--our friends but also to our enemies.

And--with what has happened recently with Iran, our national intelligence estimate confirms that we should be in direct talks with them. When it comes to Pakistan, back in August, I suggested we're on a dangerous course putting all our eggs in the Musharraf basket, that we have to broaden democracy there and we have to put much more pressure on them to go after al-Qaeda in Afghanistan because--militant Islam is starting to seep in and could cause--cause us great danger.

If Obama were likely to have any serious primary opponents left after New Hampshire--he won't--they would surely attack his comment as an example of his naivete. But as he said later in the same interview, he won't run a mistake-free campaign.

I can guarantee I will make mistakes. What I can also guarantee, though, is that I am not gonna get so scripted or cautious that--that I lose what you felt here today in this auditorium, which is people feel as though I'm talking to them, not at them.