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Candidates React to News of Iran Talks

By Glenn Kessler
Barack Obama and John McCain have both reacted quickly to the news that the Bush administration has agreed to send a senior envoy -- Undersecretary of State William J. Burns -- to international talks this weekend with Iranian officials on its nuclear program. But they reached very different conclusions about what the administration's new gambit means.

The McCain campaign said it was an example of effective multilateral diplomacy and knocked, again, Obama's idea of directly engaging with Iran.

Here's a statement from Randy Scheunemann, the campaign's director of Foreign Policy and National Security:

John McCain supports multilateral diplomacy and multilateral sanctions to dissuade Iran from its nuclear ambitions. Unlike Senator Obama's unilateral approach based on unconditional and direct presidential diplomacy, which would make preemptive concessions to Iran that our European allies do not wish to make, Senator McCain believes working with our allies presents the best chance to increase the consequences should Iran continue its defiance of the international community. Sending Undersecretary Burns to listen to the Iranian response to the generous package of incentives offered to Iran is a much more realistic approach than engaging in the unilateral cowboy summitry advocated by Senator Obama.

But Obama hailed the news as a sign that the administration was beginning to follow his suggested approach, and now should go one step further. Here is a statement the campaign issued in his name:

I welcome news that the Bush Administration has shifted course and will send an envoy for direct talks as part of the P5+1 with the Iranians in Geneva this weekend. I commend our European allies and other friends on this effort. Now that the United States is involved, it should stay involved with the full strength of our diplomacy. A united front with our friends and allies directly calling on the Iranians to stand down on their illicit nuclear program will maximize the international pressure we can bring to bear and will show the Iranian people that Iran's isolation is a function of its government's unwillingness to live up to its obligations. Iran should live up to its obligations now; by waiting, it will only face greater isolation.

By Web Politics Editor  |  July 16, 2008; 1:12 PM ET
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Bush and McCain are on their way down. Obama is clearly the star of our future. What worries me, however, is to what lenghts would Bush and McCain stoop to get rid of Obama. Think about it!!!

Posted by: caliguy55 | July 18, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

it seems the war on iran is walking away,or more nearby.

Posted by: eric | July 17, 2008 9:13 PM | Report abuse


McCain 08' "He's on our side!"

Posted by: Not a Pawn to ObamaCon! | July 16, 2008 1:34 PM

Who is "OUR"? - Republithugs !!!!!certainly not working American citizens.

Posted by: Tecumseh | July 17, 2008 6:25 PM | Report abuse


If all these countries you mention also condemn Iran then why don't they invade Iran instead of us. Could it be that their leaders are smarter than GWB. Well I guess that don't take much.

Posted by: bill | July 17, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Iran has a clear right to use nuclear power for civilian purposes, and the participation of the US in the next round of meetings is to be applauded.

The national interests of the US would be advanced, by the reopening of the Iranian embassy in Washington and the American embassy in Tehran.

Posted by: James Canning | July 17, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I wonder why the News Media hasn't pick up on what Obama
has been saying all along. It
looks like he knows more than
Mccain and Bush about what's
going on in foreign politics.

Posted by: bill s | July 17, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Again, it appears several posters didn't bother to actually read this. No, scanning it and assuming you know what you read are not the same.

Posted by: another old fart | July 17, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Could be Obama is more attuned to and knowledgable because he has a degree in International Studies from Columbia U as well as a law degree from Harvard and is much more enlightened and intelligent that McCain. I suppose the Reps. don't mind having another dumb ass in the WH to carry on with business as usual ie ruining the economy, health care, war and more war, etc. Don't you Repukes undertand that loyalty to country should take precedence over party? McCain knows how to wins wars with his toy soldiers, he has no concept of what winning is much less winning a real war. His ideas are nonsensical and outdated, not to mention short sighted. Obama is showing him up for the idiot he is, graduating 5th from the bottom of his class in the Navy. He has no concept of Foreign Policy after sitting for 25 years on the FP committee. Another sitting duck waiting to happen.

Posted by: Sandra | July 17, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Winston Churchill once said, "Americans can be relied upon to do the right thing,having tried everything else first".

Posted by: Chrisle | July 17, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Sen. McCain's explanation makes one dizzy. The spin is so twisting it's difficult to grasp exactly what he means which of course is just what it's meant to do. Obama never said or implied that he would travel alone or exclude other allies, he simply stated he would use diplomacy instead of military might.

Posted by: kaycwagner | July 17, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

It is amazing how wrong McCain is and has been on Iran, Iraq, and now Afghastan. Yet he is wrapped in the cover of "expert" when it comes to Foreign Affairs....The news media is openly baised when it comes to which candidate it prefers on this issue....If the media would perform its legitimate role of reporting the news rather than propogandizing our politics all would be better informed and our leaders would be forced to make more logical decisions.

Posted by: Skyview | July 17, 2008 3:57 AM | Report abuse

Wisdom comes late. We welcome the changed course of action of Bush Administration. Engaging Iran in direct negotiations, instead of issuing war warnings, will also help reduce pressure on world economy due to escalations in oil prices.
USA is a strong country. It may become even stronger if she learns to regard sovereignty of other nations.

Posted by: Syyed Mansoor Agha | July 17, 2008 1:42 AM | Report abuse

If you don't know him you are stupid. He cannot and will not bring change unless normal Americans give him a chance. It will take years my bitter foe. We are screwed.

Posted by: justadad55+ | July 17, 2008 1:24 AM | Report abuse

Just goes to show that a smart man (Obama) can influence international markets and politics. It also goes to show how far behind the times Mr. McCain is, and how he could no more be an international player than my dog Kinmchee.

Posted by: Daddio on the Paddio | July 16, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

I've seen several righties today trying to give Bush credit for his executive action on offshore drilling as the force behind the drop in oil prices. Nothing could be further from the truth; it's the idea that the U.S. is sitting down with Iran and talking that is cooling off oil prices. That and a huge oversupply as we try to balance $4 gas with that urge to take a road trip. If the Bush administration didn't keep threatening Iran with destruction, traders wouldn't be so nervous about getting hold of sweet Persian crude. Kudos to Obama for seeing how the world really works -- in grown-up discussions that seek common ground, where each back gets scratched.

Posted by: gromansky | July 16, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Not a Pawn to ObamaCon wrote: "Obama does NOT know about the World > PERIOD... If you for him you are naive.


You people are truly idiotic. Clearly and undeniably, this boosts Obama's argument about diplomacy. So did the N. Korea development a few weeks ago.

Secondly, McCain hasn't got a clue. He doesn't even know the difference between Sunni and Shia, what that means for Iraq, Iran and al Qaeda. He doesn't know that Czechoslovakia hasn't been a country for 15 years (even my 7 year old nephew knows the countries of Europe), he doesn't know how many troops are even in Iraq and so on. THIS is the self-proclaimed "foreign policy expert?" LOL! Excuse me while I laugh my ass off.

Finally, McBush and the backwards Republican agenda has only "succeeded" in weakening, bankrupting (morally and financially) and humiliating OUR country, isolating us and strengthening our enemies.

Republicans ARE the enemies of America. You people are idiots. Thank GOD we're taking our country back and dumping you fascist clowns into the "dustbin of history" where you belong.

Obama 08!

Posted by: sequoia | July 16, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

One simple, your ignorant comments don't help. Two the US is being a key focal point of Iranian opposition and everybody else is forgetting that other high figure contries have condemned Irans actions. ie UK, France, Russia, China

Mostly because Iran say's their mission is peaceful but won't let any body see. HMMMMM thats a tough one to see that they are hiding something.... If this wasn't to make weapons and rekindle the cold war then Iran would follow the ordinance set out by the United Nations.

Lastly, who threatened who with war first. Even Iranians agree that their own leaders started the impasse.

Posted by: jay | July 16, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

My grandmother in a small village in the Southwest of a country out there knows better how life (public or private) works than both your Obama and McCain. Please stop worshiping another human being who is just another human being. This is a very Christian concept to wait for a super natural human coming and taking care of your self inflicted misery, isn't it? Please do the work. This election and its blah blah are identical to any other election before. Simple

Posted by: Simple | July 16, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Good to see that McCain and Bush are still learning from Obama about National Security.

Too bad that it is, too little, too late.

The GOP's policy so far has been an extreme failure. Lets hope they continue to wise up and listen to Obama and others that know how the world works.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

John McCain issues his statement, hoping that, like his senile self, nobody will remember that he's ready and eager to lay waste to Iran.

John McCain. And you thought that Bush was irresponsible?!

Posted by: JamesCH | July 16, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

For somebody who doesn't know anything about the world, he seems to be doing a pretty good job driving our foreign policy with his suggestions. This is, after all, what we suggested we do in regards to Iran a couple of months ago.
Are you sure you're not the enemy?

Posted by: Dijetlo | July 16, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Obama does NOT know about the World > PERIOD... If you for him you are naive.


McCain 08' "He's on our side!"

Posted by: Not a Pawn to ObamaCon! | July 16, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

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