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Obama Talks Latin America -- and Spain -- on Miami Radio

By Ed O'Keefe
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has exploited anti-American sentiments in Latin America partly because the United States is "obsessed with Iraq," Sen. Barack Obama said in an interview with the same Miami radio station that conducted an interview with Sen. McCain last week that caused a stir in Spain.

"I think that Chavez has obviously been exploiting anti-American sentiment in the region and part of the reason is that because the United States has been so obsessed with Iraq that we haven't spent time focused on the situation in Latin America," Obama told Radio Caracol. "We spend the same amount in Latin America in an entire year that we spend in Iraq in one week. That has created, I think, a void which people like Chavez have been able to fill. I think it's important for us to not overreact to Chavez. I think what we have to do is just let Chavez know that we don't want him exporting anti-American sentiment and causing trouble in the region, but that we are interested in having a respectful dialogue with everybody in Latin America in terms of figuring out how we can improve the day to day lives of people."

The Democratic nominee's comments follow the release of a Spanish-language TV commercial produced by the McCain campaign that raises questions about Obama's vow to meet with leaders like Chavez "without preconditions." The Obama campaign called the ad a "desperate attempt" to distract Hispanic voters.

Obama was also asked in the radio interview about Colombia, Cuba, Spain and Venezuela, questions similar to the ones McCain answered last week.

Regarding Cuba, Obama said, "We have to put pressure on Raul Castro and others in that government to free political prisoners and to create political freedoms and freedom of the press, freedom of religion." He later added that "I think we should keep the embargo until we are seeing clear signs of increased political freedom and that so we can maintain leverage in any direct negotiations that may take place."

Obama was asked by interviewer Yoly Cuello if he would invite Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero to the White House if he were elected president. Last week McCain's vague answer to the same question provoked strong reactions in Spain and the liberal blogosphere.

Obama said he would "of course" invite Zapatero. "Spain is a NATO ally," he said. "The fact that Senator McCain indicated that he might not meet with Zapatero I think indicates that he wants to continue the Cheney policies of trying to dictate American foreign policy instead of trying to build cooperation -- and I think that's a mistake."

The interview was conducted in English on Friday and aired today on Radio Caracol in Miami. It will air nationwide on other Spanish-language radio stations owned by the Union Radio company on Wednesday, if not before.

By Web Politics Editor  |  September 22, 2008; 5:05 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama  
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Next: McCain, Aides to Join Palin at Meetings with World Leaders


wow its crazy

Posted by: yona loriner | September 23, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

McCain: 'Obama Took a Hike' on Immigration Reform

September 22, 2008

Article Excerpts:

(NECN) -- Addressing the crowd at an Irish American town hall meeting in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Republican presidential candidate John McCain spoke on his history of reaching across the aisle in the Senate to work for appropriate immigration reform.

McCain worked with Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy, a Democrat, on this proposal.

"We cannot have a continuing situation were there are 12 million people in this country illegally and broken borders," McCain said.

McCain then offered the three main parts of the proposal:

"Having our borders secured, we must secure our borders not just from illegal immigration -- but also because we have to stop the flow of illegal drugs."

"We have to give people a path to citizenship, based on the principal that they cannot have priority over anyone who came to this country legally or waited to come to this country legally."

-- "A temporary worker program that is truly temporary, that has to do with a tamper-proof biometric documents."

McCain called the working relationship with Kennedy a fragile one, that sometimes forced him to make a tough stand against his constituents.

"To preserve that fragile coalition, I sometime had to take votes which were not popular; Senator Kennedy took votes that were not popular. Senator Obama took a hike," McCain said.

He then said that Obama supported an amendment that could have ended a temporary worker program in America. . . .

Posted by: Scott | September 23, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

i smell lets shower 2getha!

Posted by: Yo momma. | September 23, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I love ♥ this article. i wanna be famous one day. Please recommend me.! ☺

Posted by: Monserrath | September 23, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse


Did you happen to see the Emmy's on Sunday? Martin Sheen as "Jed Bartlet" joking about voting "at least once".


Posted by: JakeD | September 23, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

A Interview with Obama on Spanish Radio that went without a hitch! McCain, take Note! You and Palin Study Well BEFORE you Speak--maybe you'll not be accused of biting off your toenails--as much.

Posted by: ji_john | September 23, 2008 1:57 AM | Report abuse

If Obama is elected, someone should start a pool on how many days it'll take before he ends the Embargo and screws all the Cubans who had their property stolen.

Posted by: info | September 22, 2008 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Good point (McCain lives in Arizona though : )

Posted by: JakeD | September 22, 2008 7:12 PM | Report abuse


One day a year, a broken clock is right three times if you don't live in Arizona.

Definitely vote only once. But definitely vote.

Posted by: mnteng | September 22, 2008 7:08 PM | Report abuse

McCain won't talk to Spain's Zapatero because he had the nerve to question US action in Iraq. Never mind that he, and the rest of Europe was right, that there was no evidence of WMDs. Never mind that Spain is a member of NATO and an ally. Anything short of blind allegiance to a belligerent America and you're a 'damned socialist' surrender to terrorism, pansy. Just what we DON't need. More of that.

Bush, McCain. No More Years.

Posted by: thebob.bob | September 22, 2008 7:00 PM | Report abuse


Even a broken clock is right twice a day. I think you would also agree with me that students should NOT vote more than once (at school and then via absentee ballot at home ; )

That would be against federal law.

Posted by: JakeD | September 22, 2008 6:54 PM | Report abuse

What happened - presidential election
National Review, Dec 9, 1988 by Humphrey Taylor

"ONE THING about this election that is worth remembering is how often the gurus and pundits were wrong. The eminence noire of gurus, Richard Nixon, predicted at one time that Bob Dole would defeat George Bush and that Mario Cuomo would be the Democratic nominee. After Michael Dukakis's triumph in Atlanta, his unexpectedly eloquent acceptance speech, and his 17- to 18-point lead in the polls, the media were already writing off Bush's chances....."

SOUNDS FAMILIAR- Dukakis had a 17 point lead in '88? Wow....guess the Olberman, Cafferty, and the NY Times just can't be relied upon to pick a President...

Posted by: Scott | September 22, 2008 6:36 PM | Report abuse

what do u guys and gals think of ahmadenijad coming to ny???

Posted by: yona loriner | September 22, 2008 6:36 PM | Report abuse

I sort of like what Obama is saying here. But I have to wonder if it really works in practice. Chavez, despite being a babbling idiot, is the kind of person who, when given an inch, takes a mile. It's not clear that playing nice with him would yield anything other than some kind of grand concessions from the U.S. side. I recall how poorly Jimmy Carter's Mr. Nice Guy policy worked and I think that it left a lot to be desired. Beyond that, I have to wonder what Obama thinks he can get with any of this. Still, his argument does have some limited appeal. After all, it's not easy to play hard ball with leaders who refuse to play ball at all. The U.S. could perhaps stand a little less unilateralism in its approach.

Posted by: ttj | September 22, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Though I disagree with JakeD's reasons, he has a point about voting absentee. For all the college students out there who have gone away to school, it is worthwhile to check to see if you are/can register to vote locally or if you need to request an absentee ballot.

From the Brennan Center for Justice:

"The Twenty-Sixth Amendment gives 18 to 21 year olds a voice in our democracy. Students who leave home to attend college should have the right to choose where they vote. In most states it is possible for students to make this choice, but the laws governing voting eligibility can be tricky, confusing, or downright restrictive. Students can be unfairly targeted by election officials or partisan challengers and often have trouble establishing residency where they live and attend school."

Don't let your voting rights be abridged by the local election officials.

Posted by: mnteng | September 22, 2008 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Republitards are at it again on yet another blog. Some of you need to get half a brain. That way your comments can make sense.

Posted by: Nellie | September 22, 2008 6:24 PM | Report abuse

"Vote now because you might die!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 22, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Not at all, Charles. No one in those States are guaranteed another day on this fragile earth. The day I get my absentee ballot, I am voting, signing it, and sending it right back. This election is too important to risk any other course of action.

Posted by: JakeD | September 22, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Each new day reveals more reasons not to vote for McCain. That's why JakeD is pushing people to vote now.

Posted by: Charles | September 22, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Residents of Georgia, Kentucky, and Virginia:

Make sure you start voting for McCain-Palin TODAY!! In all, 34 states allow people to vote before election day. 28 of those states allow "no-excuse" absentee voting, so just get it done ASAP. You may not get another chance.

Posted by: JakeD | September 22, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

America's medieval hatred towards
those who are 'different than us' is perfectly represented by the duo of serial liars without shame. Politicians are not the only ones in need of desperate change. SO does the
national psyche of this 'beautiful? US.

Posted by: sansdoute | September 22, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Is Obama Another Dukakis?
Why is Obama so vapid, hesitant, and gutless?
By Christopher Hitchens
Updated Monday, Sept. 22, 2008, Slate

"...I ran into a rather clever Republican operative at the airport last week, who pointed out to me that this ought by rights to be a Democratic Party year across the board, from the White House to the Congress to the gubernatorial races. But there was a crucial energy leak, and it came from the very top. More people doubted Obama's qualifications for the presidency in September than had told the pollsters they had doubted these credentials in July. "So what he ought to do," smiled this man, "is spend his time closing that gap and less time attacking McCain." Obama's party hacks, increasingly white and even green about the gills, are telling him to do the opposite. I suppose this could even mean that Sarah Palin, down the road, will end up holding the door open for Hillary Clinton. Such joy!"

Posted by: Scott | September 22, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Of course I would invite Zapatero, he is a good socialist, just like me.

Obama could hit 2,000,000,000 on the bop-o-meter this week.

Posted by: From One Socialist to Another! | September 22, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Not to do with the issue, but my gosh, Sarah will speak alone on CNN Canada. Of course it will be scripted, for she has had a month of coaching. Will she answer questions?? Dobt it. Will she disclose her tax forms and Quirks. NO.
Watch and wake up America. You all had slaves and if black is bad, best all Americans get a DNA test. You might be surprized.

Posted by: justada55+ | September 22, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

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