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It Depends on What the Definition of "Leaders" Is

2:27 PM, May 27, 2008 • By DEAN BARNETT
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Barack Obama continues to use weasel words and equivocations in his lame effort to step back from his pledge that as president he would chat with any malefactor willing to stand still with him long enough for a photo-op. Let's first remember the policy pronouncement from the YouTube debate:

QUESTION: 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?

OBAMA: I would.

Just reading that clips gives me nostalgic pangs for the Obama of old: Bold, forthright, not given to avoiding delicate topics like so many politicians. The only problem with this policy was that it meant Obama would make a priority of sitting down with characters like Mahmoud Ahmadenijad. Not that such a pledge was a problem for everyone. The Atlantic's Matthew Yglesias lionized the pronouncement in the most recent issue of the magazine.

Still, the policy was enough of a problem for a sufficient number of voters that Obama and his eager acolytes like Joe Klein have gone to extraordinary lengths to make it disappear. Today, Obama "clarified:"

"There's no reason why we would necessarily meet with Ahmadinejad before we know that he was actually in power. He's not the most powerful person in Iran," Obama told reporters while campaigning in New Mexico.

So there you have it. It's not that he will meet with A'jad. And it's not that he won't meet with A'jad. It's "there's no reason he'll necessarily meet" with A'jad.

I'm so pleased he cleared that up.