Another controversial trip for Obama
By Ben Pershing
Though his term in the White House has been relatively short, President Obama has already gotten accustomed to criticism from some quarters for his forays abroad. His April trip to Europe, his June speech to the Muslim world in Cairo and his July visit to Russia were all dismissed as too apologetic, too unassertive or too unproductive by conservatives. So what will the verdict be on his current jaunt to Asia?
Obama held a town hall meeting Monday with students in Shangai, and the jury is out on whether the gathering projected the importance of open and free debate, or the opposite. Obama met "with a carefully screened group of students at the marquee event of his Asia trip," the Washington Post writes, one that "illustrated the Chinese government's tight grip" on society. Though Obama spoke of the "universal rights" of "freedoms of expression and worship, of access to information and political participation," the Post adds, "Virtually every aspect of the event was staged, and it was unclear how many Chinese citizens saw the hour-long exchange, which was not broadcast on national television." The Wall Street Journal also noted that Obama's words "likely reached few Chinese," unlike those of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, whose remarks were broadcast live when they visited the country.
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November 16, 2009; 8:31 AM ET
Categories: 44 Native , The Rundown
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