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Candidates React to Hostage Rescue in Colombia

Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama issued statements on today's dramatic rescue of hostages in Colombia.

McCain: "Today, I spoke by phone to President Uribe. He told me some of the details of the dramatic rescue of the people who were held hostage. Three Americans are now free and Ingrid Betancourt is now in good condition. I'm pleased with the success of this very high-risk operation. Sometimes in the past, the FARC has killed the hostages rather than let them be rescued.

"So I congratulate President Uribe, the military and the nation of Colombia. It is great news. Now we must renew our efforts to free all of the other innocent people held hostage. With regard to the three Americans and Ingrid Betancourt -- they had been held many years, as many as six years.

"Last night, President Uribe and the defense minister did brief us that the operation was going to take place today."

Obama: "I join with the families and the American people in celebrating the wonderful news that these three American citizens - Marc Gonsalves, Thomas Howes, and Keith Stansell - have been released from the terrorist organization that held them hostage for so many years, along with former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt and eleven other Colombian hostages. We look forward to their speedy reunion with their loved ones, who have suffered so much through this ordeal.

"I strongly support Colombia's steady strategy of making no concessions to the FARC, and its targeted use of intelligence, military, law enforcement, diplomatic, and political power to achieve important victories against terrorism. I congratulate President Uribe and the Colombian government, express my gratitude for everyone who aided in this rescue, and will do everything that I can to assure the success of future efforts to free the FARC's hostages and to defeat this terrorist organization."

Posted at 6:30 PM ET on Jul 2, 2008  | Category:  Primary Source
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Comments

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It would be a twist of fate if Obama becomes the American version of Ingrid Betancourt when he visits Iraq.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2008 1:59 PM

McCain is a slimeball for using these hostages as a political stunt!

He knew the timing on this, as they were working with the US on this operation, and his partner in Crime, Karl Rove, would make sure McCain takes political advantage of this.

This bad apple hasn't fallen far from the Bush.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2008 12:50 PM

The attack was OBVIOUSLY planned in advanced, McCain's visit had nothing to do with it. How can someone like "Tina" be so obtuse?

Anyway. Regardless of who knows who was fred or not I am very happy a few families are going to be reunited with their loved ones and hopefully the rest (still captive) will have the same faith. Viva Colombia!

Posted by: Cath | July 3, 2008 11:30 AM

Wow, what a coincidence that McCain just happened to be in Columbia outsourcing some more American jobs and some hostages are rescued.

What are the chances of that happening?

Posted by: Tina | July 3, 2008 11:23 AM

If Obama is quoted correctly, he said the hostages were "released" which would mean they were let go voluntarily by their captives. This is not the case! They were not released; they were rescued by a military operation.

Posted by: Suzy Q | July 3, 2008 10:58 AM

Well, thank you President Uribe and everybody involved as you all pat yourselves on the back you have assured such an operation will never work again. Last night on every cable news show they had all the details of how the group was infiltrated and how they had been tricked. I hope they don't have any other similar operations going on at this time as the infiltrators will have their heads cut off as soon as it is determine who they are. There was no need to disclose anything about the operation, not one detail. If anything you do a cover story like it was just dumb luck you got them back. If Mccain was truly involved with any of the planning of the rescue and cared about the hostages still held, he would have insisted that nothing be said about any of how it was done afterwards. Instead he tries to turn it into some kind of political advantage for himself putting the lives of every hostage still held at risk. Good going John Mccain you F'n moron.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2008 9:39 AM

Obama badmouthed Bush for months, and now Obama is emulating Bush. This is a total surprise! Obama wants to continue and "improve" Bush's faith-based initiative. What gives? And what's next? Stay in Iraq and finish the job? LOL. They guy's a nutcase. He wants to win so badly that he's willing to say and do anything that he believes will win him votes. Obama turns out to be a real disappointment, a complainer, a skeptic, and a cry baby. Obama IS the typical politician. His campaign is run by a bunch of Washington insiders. And we're supposed to believe that they will bring "change"? He's a smooth talker, all right.

Posted by: Patricia | July 3, 2008 4:56 AM

The Obamas are a bunch of copycats. They look at who they want to be and they clone them. Then they present to the American people as the originals. Barack copies Dr King, JFK, and stole a black governor's speech. Words, words, words, and a bunch of mumbo jumbo that's not even his to begin with. If nobody caught his mistake, he would have gotten away with it. I can't believe that this guy actually went to Harvard! LOL. Did all that expensive education train you to plagiarize? I'm sure Michelle helped him write parts of his books. And Michelle wants to be a black version of Jackie. LOL. Please, please be yourselves and please be original. It's not even Halloween yet.

Posted by: Pat | July 3, 2008 4:36 AM

Re: Cindy McCain

I forgot to mention about Cindy McCain. I like her style better than Michelle. Cindy has her own style compared to Michelle who copied her style from Jackie, another fashion plagiarism choreographed by David Axelrod!

I advise Cindy though showing your cleavage is not good for public appearance. Sorry I did not mean to offend you but you have to dress appropriately. I know you are shy, but your images perceived in this digital era are important to voters.

Cindy is doing great by maintaining her own style in terms of dress and the way she speaks. When voters see that genuine side of real characters, then they will identify themselves with her American values immediately. So no need to be hyper-sensitive like Obama who does not eat taco or does not like fist-bumps!

Posted by: peace4world | July 3, 2008 3:54 AM

Re: Obama, Obama, Obama

This is the moment of tragedy when your empty rhetoric meets your reality--terrorism?! I am sure that McCain's new strategist is smart enough to see what is going on in his policy discourses that have been shifting for 17 months.

Nothing is consistent. His supporters are already protesting against his broken promises on the FISA.

Obama has mobilized all anti-Iraq War and anti-Bush coalitions and now signaling that he is leaning toward war-on-terrorism...what a crap. So now he is not anti-Iraq War!

If there is anyone who still donates his/her money to this phony guy, I am so sorry about that. Save it for your gas money.

What he's said here is a footing that he has supported the FISA Compromise to fight against terror--another pithy pre-emptive strike out of deficiency syndrome as he did in the Clark Fiasco. He is just an unspeakable liar.

Obama's new press secretary is even worse, adding additional discourses to his lies in her own terms--if anyone watched her defenses. She is not helping Obama!

Posted by: peace4world | July 3, 2008 3:37 AM

Obama, shut up. Just shut up!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2008 1:03 AM

"The Huffington Post is reporting"

It is a left wing rag bent on the destruction of American values and turning it into another communist China.

Posted by: Realitycheck | July 2, 2008 10:42 PM

The White House knew about this maneuver for about a week. Lo and behold, McCain schedules a trip and gets briefed before the action is taken.

Nice to have comments prepared in advance for the photo op.

What did McCain say yesterday? The politics end at the water's edge? Yeah, right.

Posted by: Susan | July 2, 2008 9:39 PM

More about Carl Lindner, who has overseen funding to both McCain and various terrorist groups:

Late last week, Lindner co-hosted a $25,000-per-person fundraiser for McCain and the Republican Party in the wealthy Indian Hills neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio. The event raised about $2 million; Lindner also serves on McCain's Ohio Victory Team.

While Lindner was CEO of Chiquita, the company began sending money to the AUC through its shipping subsidiary Banadex. A report by the Organization of American States states that Banadex also engaged in arms trafficking, helping to deliver 3,000 Nicaraguan AK-47 rifles and millions of rounds of ammunition to the AUC in 2001. According to federal prosecutors, when company officials realized the arrangement was illegal, they switched to making the payments in cash.

Chiquita's funding of violent paramilitaries does not end with the right-wing AUC. The fruit giant "had been making similar payments to the leftist FARC and ELN guerrillas" since 1989, also on Lindner's watch. Those payments ended in 1997 as "control of the company's banana-growing area shifted" to the AUC, according to the Associated Press.

Posted by: B2O2 | July 2, 2008 7:57 PM

Here's the part the WaPo won't tell you about their pal John:

The Huffington Post is reporting that one of John McCain's top fundraisers oversaw the funneling of money to three different Columbian terrorist groups, including the one who held Ingrid Betancourt. It also looks like this same fundraiser got favors from McCain in a Senate deal. Should we look the other way on this?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/07/02/mccain-fundraiser-oversaw_n_110354.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/08/AR2008050803494.html

Posted by: B2O2 | July 2, 2008 7:46 PM

David, Dave, Matt, and Anon:

This was wonderful news. Of course, both McCain and Obama applaud the great success of the Columbian military. Believe it or not, not everything needs to be seen through a partisan lens. Think just a little in future.

BB

Posted by: Fairlington Blade | July 2, 2008 7:45 PM

Dave, Obama is against the columbia deal. Obama also spoke to a palestinian activist in 2004 who had written positive things about Hamas and Obama said keep up the good work. At the time he said he couldn't bash Israel because of the election coming up.

Posted by: David | July 2, 2008 7:23 PM

I imagine McCain used "a Google" to figure out who Ingrid Betancourt was earlier today.

Posted by: Matt | July 2, 2008 7:18 PM

interesting that Obama has used very tough wording in his comments, and the use of various tools to "defeat this terrorist organization...." yet 1 very key way to defeat the appeal of the terrorists in colombia is to support the US-colombia free trade pact, not ice it like Pelosi did...also that obama would give "no concessions" to a terror group, which one assumes he will apply across the board to all terror groups including those in hamas and hezbollah....

Posted by: dave | July 2, 2008 7:05 PM

It would be Obama who doesn't have a clue who she is. Obama thinks Maliki is the president of Iraq. Obama thinks the leader of Canada is the president of Canada. But that doesn't matter.

Posted by: David | July 2, 2008 6:55 PM

I wonder if Mccain has a clue who Ingrid Betancourt is?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 2, 2008 6:34 PM

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