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Mark Warner's Middle East Journey

Several potential 2008 presidential candidates were in Washington Saturday night to schmooze with the capital's press corps at the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner. However, one much-hyped Democratic candidate who happens to live just across the river from D.C. was nowhere to be seen.

Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner left earlier Saturday for a week-long trip to Israel. Warner's itinerary includes meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Richard Jones, and leaders of the Kadima, Labor and Likud political parties.

In addition, Warner is scheduled to visit the Golan Heights, the Western Wall in Jerusalem and the sea of Galilee. He'll move on to Jordan where he will huddle with King Abdullah and Queen Rania in Amman.

As The Fix noted last week, presidential candidates see trips overseas as a chance to flex their foreign policy know-how or to bolster somewhat thin international credentials.

No top-tier candidate of either party has a bigger challenge in this area than Warner, whose only political experience is a single term as governor. Proving his foreign policy bona fides is a critical hurdle for Warner, considering the Iraq conflict and the ongoing war on terrorism, the growing nuclear threat from Iran and America's uncertain relations with China.

Since leaving office earlier this year, Warner has recruited a stable of advisers to consult with him on foreign policy, according to his camp, though no names of said advisers were provided. While much of his stump speech focuses on his accomplishments as governor, he has taken a few tentative steps into the arena of world affairs, calling for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (a common sentiment among Democrats in general). Warner has has so far resisted urging a timeline for withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, in contrast to Sen. John Kerry and several other likely 2008 contenders.

Warner's trip to Israel is the first step in a process of broadening his foreign policy palette, a strategy that will likely include speeches at places like the Council on Foreign Relations and the Center for American Progress. Whether voters are willing to support a candidate without deep real-world experience on the global stage is a major test for Warner in the coming year.

By Chris Cillizza  |  May 2, 2006; 4:53 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Rugby players spend a lot of time physical training Compared to other form of sports.I have read the
Rugby laws mentioned on this site. It's a gripping sport which targets the grip strength and the active mindedness of a player. American football and rugby league are also primarily collision sports, but their tackles tend to terminate much more quickly. For professional rugby, players are often chosen on the basis of their size and apparent strength and they develop the skill and power over the passage of time. In modern rugby considerable attention is given to fitness and aerobic conditioning as well as basic weight training.

Posted by: Rugby Fan Steve | August 24, 2006 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Rugby players spend a lot of time physical training Compared to other form of sports.I have read the
Rugby laws mentioned on this site. It's a gripping sport which targets the grip strength and the active mindedness of a player. American football and rugby league are also primarily collision sports, but their tackles tend to terminate much more quickly. For professional rugby, players are often chosen on the basis of their size and apparent strength and they develop the skill and power over the passage of time. In modern rugby considerable attention is given to fitness and aerobic conditioning as well as basic weight training.

Posted by: Rugby Fan Steve | August 24, 2006 10:07 AM | Report abuse

How old are you? ("right they are all losers and Warner is the only winner. Period end of debate there.")

I can think of one state Biden can win -- Ohio. Biden is not perceived as liberal the same way Kerry was. And merely adding a Holbrooke or any other person you rattled off will not deflect the general election attacks -- you know that.

Posted by: Geoff | May 4, 2006 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I swear there are a lot of clueless pundit wannabes who post here. IT DOES'NT MEAN JACK if the guy can't win the general election. OK!! Biden, Edwards, Gore...tell me what states can they turn over. Biden was born in WTF?? George Bush was born in Connecticut....I don't remember him even coming close to winning that state. Heck his dad was born in Milton, MA..that's right.,the same TAXACHUSSETS he lampooned Dukakis with..don't remember him winning there. Cold war 9/11 is all BS....Carter had zippo and he was elected during the Cold War..All Warner needs to do is get himself Holbrooke, Talbert, Albright and Mitchell and he's got the Foreign policy gravitas he needs. And he's home free....I dare any democrat to nominate Kerry, Gore (both vets), Biden, Edwards, Feingold or any of these suckupusses and them look me in the eye and tell me how they will win OH and FL ..not to talk of AR, TN, LA, NM, CO, NV, MO, KY and WV..that's right they are all losers and Warner is the only winner. Period end of debate there.

Posted by: Kabom | May 4, 2006 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Rudy ends the race? Right -- I'm sure that when McCain's campaign or some 507 begins airing video of Guiliani dressed in drag for Halloween in 1995 or statements as Mayor of NYC re supporting gay rights and needle exchange South Carolina and Alabama Republican primary voters will RUN to the polls to support him. Gimme a break.

I reiterate -- no Dem w/o foreign policy experience will be able to withstand Republican attacks during the general election -- especially if decorated war vet McCain is the nominee.

Warner is the quintessential VP nominee.

Biden/Warner 2008. Get on board.

Posted by: Geoff | May 4, 2006 1:31 PM | Report abuse

RM: Warner wasn't simply a successful businessman who ran for office and won.

He had worked the trenches: - worked for Chris Dodd before going into business - managed Doug Wilder's campaign for Governor - was Chairman of the Virginia State Democratic Party and - ran against John Warner (lost but did well considering).

All of the discussion about Foregin Policy experience is "over the horizon" stuff anyway.

Two things are paramount for all Democrat aspirants not named Clinton. 1) How to slow her down in Iowa and 2) How to slow her down and maybe defeat her in New Hampshire. If they can't do that, it won't make a bit of difference anyway.

I suspect that other than Iraq, the voters in those two states will be more focused on doemstic concerns than on foreign policy ones.

So, you get your "foreign policy" ticket punched to have credibility against those who criticize you for having no experience, but it probably won't make a bit of difference.

Posted by: Virginia Voter | May 4, 2006 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Coming here from Ohio, a pivotal state Warner would do very well here in this state. As well as John Edwards and Evan Bayh. John Edwards may have only one Senate term, but I don't think that will hinder him from effective and good leadership. He has foreign policy experience on the Select Comm. On Intelligence and the Foreign Policy task force. He is a very smart politician, and it is a myth that he was going to lose reelection. People who say that don't understand how good of a politician and how smart of a campaigner Edwards is. Who else could come out of the shadows, with little name recognition, and little money to almost beating a front runner. Evan Bayh with his outstanding record is a man who can win as well and provide America with good effective governance. In all, Warner, Edwards and Bayh are the only Democrats I can see that can pull my homestate of Ohio. There is a lot of support for Edwards down here in my Southern section in Ohio even amongst conservatives. He seems like a man that can bring change and can provide the moral leadership needed for this country. Although I am not decided on whom I am going to support, Edwards is at the very top of the list and I would love to see him fullfill the American dream.

Posted by: Blue88 | May 4, 2006 12:48 AM | Report abuse

"Unlike his father, who actually had considerable foreign policy experience and successfully carried out a war against Iraqi expansion, then brought the troops home?"

but he lost to Clinton, who had no foreign policy experience (even if he was plenty familiar with Russia).

Posted by: cc | May 3, 2006 8:10 PM | Report abuse

" It will be YEARS before a Clinton-esque Dem (solid domestic, clueless for. policy) wins again. Warner can't do it. Joe Biden can. "

...Bush did not win on the strength of his foreign policy. Experience *or* policy. And what experience did Reagan have, besides making a mess of California?

GW ran on keeping Gore out of the White House (and almost lost that race) and keeping Kerry out of the White House (which is Kerrys' fault, only Kerrys' fault, and purely Kerrys' fault...because so many people voted for him just to get GW out of office).

I can't think of a single person who thinks that Warner wouldn't trounce Bush in an election. Or that Biden would beat Bush, when he couldn't even get the nomination himself.

Beating the Republican machine, that is a different story.

And there's nothing to say that Warner is "clueless" on foreign policy. He certainly has a better foreign policy than Bush did when he was reelected...whatever his foreign policy is, it can't be worse than GWs.

In my opinion Warner is the only solid candidate the Democrats have. Clinton is a flaming liberal, a nightmare in the making. Biden has already demonstrated a Kerry-like inability to win over major blocks of voters across the political spectrum. Edwards is too "plastic", he just looks, sounds and acts fake.

Warner will come in as new blood, a self-made man, with experience in a leadership position, having successfully taken Virginia into the 21st century, with cross-platform support...he will be the first Democrat to carry Virginia in a presidential election, in a long while...I don't see how they could not give him a shot. He is a solid centrist, has what it takes to win and does not have anything that will guarantee that he will lose. Everyone else has been there and fallen flat, or, simply will fall flat. Clinton will get hammered by the right, she had to buy a Senate seat in NY and she will get crushed if she runs nationwide.

The question is who will the Republicans nominate.

And I can't see how it could be anyone but Guliani. The man is an icon. If he runs, the race is almost over at the beginning. Even McCain would probably step aside for him.

Posted by: cc | May 3, 2006 8:07 PM | Report abuse

"The one thing I do admire about President Bush, he is not a wimp."

Unlike his father, who actually had considerable foreign policy experience and successfully carried out a war against Iraqi expansion, then brought the troops home?

Posted by: Scott | May 3, 2006 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Personally i would like to be on the winning team for once. Al Gore, John Kerry, Russ feingold,and Hilary Clinton are all unelectable in the general. I am so sick and tired of hearing people think that these lefty personalities can win. None of these candidates have a shot at cracking the mid west or south. Wes Clark might be able to win the general election if he did not face McCain and could survive the primary. Mark warner has a good shot at cracking red states, but is rather inexperienced as well as John Edwards. All in all, it seems to me that Biden does not have name recognition some of the afore mentioned candidates do. Weighing most of the pros and cons Warner seems to be the best bet at a Democrat winning in 08.

Posted by: California Dem | May 3, 2006 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Did I just see someone call Mark Warner and Tim Kaine conservatives??!! They are certiantly more conservative than your typical democrat (aka moderates and not progressives) but they are by no means conservatives.

I don't see a place for Mark Warner on the Democratic Ticket. Neither Mark Warner nor John Edwards has the experience needed to be President or Vice President, they are just a coupel of charasmatic people who lack experience. What the Dems need to do is nomiante someone like Evan Bayh, Wes Clark, Al Gore or John Kerry.

Posted by: Rob Millette | May 3, 2006 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Warner is unimpressive and not just on his lack of foreign policy credentials. His recent comments on health care point to his lack of understanding of many areas of concern to us 'non-millionaire' Democrats.

That being said, the intricacies of foreign policy and international diplomacy can't be learned in a few weeks (or even a couple of years). Making a pilgrimage to Bilderberg last year, and a few 'foreign policy over lunch' encounters isn't going to provide him with the depth of knowledge necessary to dig us out of the huge pit this administration has buried us in.

Whoever is at the top of the ticket is either 'internationally literate' or they're going to be a failure.

Posted by: Red State Dem | May 3, 2006 3:22 PM | Report abuse

To Kabom: Bush and Clinton were elected AFTER the Cold War and BEFORE 9/11. And Joe Biden can't win in the Mid-west? He was born in Pennsylvania and remains wildly popular as the only straight-talking Dem in the rust belt states.

To Dr. Don Key: Fair point, but remember, Clinton won because the Cold War was percieved as over. Trite but true -- 9/11 changed everything. Again, Clinton and GWB were elected AFTER the Cold War and BEFORE 9/11. It will be YEARS before a Clinton-esque Dem (solid domestic, clueless for. policy) wins again. Warner can't do it. Joe Biden can.

Posted by: Geoff | May 3, 2006 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Caped is correct, the concerned voter of 2008 will be looking at which candidate is strong enough with some wisdom and charm to navigate international conflict. I think Colin Powell and Dick Cheney were part of the reason Bush won in 2000, they were part of the A team with experience on these matters. The Dems keep attacking the President on lack of foreign policy when he got elected, I voted for him on strength. It was called the WIMP factor in previous elections, and is one reason why Adlai Stevenson and George McGovern and Mondale lost their White House races. They behaved like WIMPS. The one thing I do admire about President Bush, he is not a wimp. 2008 will be interesting.

Posted by: George | May 3, 2006 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Warner is going to be the Dem nominee in 2008..simply put, he is the only Dem who can do something Dems haven't managed to do in a while votes in unfriendly terrritory and actually turn some important GOP states Democratic. Biden, Edwards (who abandoned reelection cos he was going to lose and still lost his own state), Feingold, Kerry, Clinton etc will ALL be shut out of the South and midwest states and still bomb in the EV like 2000 and 2004. So if Dems are smart they'll vote for the man..and screw foreign policy, like it matters in the end anyway...most Americans don't give a damn about it and Clinton and Bush did well without it. If that is what Biden has going for him...then all the best coming winning the Delaware primary.

Why all this sublte anti-semitism cos Warner is going to Israel and the Middle East. He went to Europe and no one said anything..he went to India and China and no one said he goes to Israel and all of a sudden bwah bwah ..he is in the pockets of AIPAC. So when he goes to Africa and South America is he going to be in the pockets of minorities...typical hogwash from uninformed losers.

Posted by: Kabom | May 3, 2006 12:12 PM | Report abuse

You make some good points, Jackson. However, I would say that the average American has become a bit more concerned about foreign policy-- albeit in the amorphous form of "make sure we don't get attacked by terrorists again"-- in the post-9/11 era. A national candidate obviously has to be very strong on domestic issues, in response to all the problems you listed, but in order to win, the candidate must also convince the public that he or she (and no, I'm not saying "she" because of Hillary-- I always say "he or she") can successfully navigate international conflict and bring about as much resolution to our country's conflicts overseas as possible. You are right that the average American is not a foreign policy expert. But the average American does want to be protected from another attack, a point that definitely figures in at the polls.

Posted by: The Caped Composer | May 3, 2006 11:51 AM | Report abuse


As a small-time Democratic strategist, I'll tell you that Condi really doesn't scare us in the slightest bit. Most Americans couldn't find Syria or Lebanon on a map and know nothing about that situation. Few of them are aware that there was ever any instability in Turkey and they really don't care about Kuwait. Condi gets good marks when she's out of the headlines. Every time the White House trots her out in front of the American public, her approval rating goes down.

Republicans like Condi Rice because she only talks about foreign policy issues. She's not a social conservative. If she ever actually ran for office she'd have to start opening her mouth about her liberal positions on gay rights and abortion and suddenly conservative support would evaporate. She could never win a primary.

Perhaps this would change if the Democrats win either house of Congress this year and then take the WH in '08. If that happened, then by 2012 the GOP could be more willing to compromise with a moderate in much the same way that Democrats are now willing to tolerate conservatives like Mark Warner and Tim Kaine as leaders. But there's just no way that Condi could possibly be a threat to us in '08.

Here's an important thing to understand immediately if you're a Republican and you want to win some elections this year: foreign policy is *not* 'the buzz today.' It is in DC, but then it always is. In the rest of the country we're sick unto nausea of watching American resources being poured overseas in the form of jobs, war and 'nation-building.' We are suffering right here at home. Gas prices are insane, good jobs are being replaced with crappy ones, immigration policy isn't working and Washington is running up a pork-ridden defecit that makes the days of Tip O'Neil look like Scrooge McDuck was in charge. Bodies are still turning up in New Orleans as a Federal recovery effort has *still* not been organized. Hurricane season is about to start up again and DC still can't figure out how to fix FEMA so they're talking about just dissolving it entirely. This is what Americans care about right now and they're about to vote on it in 7 months. The Middle East is so 2003. They want a real manager. A fix-it guy. Domestic issues - remember those? That's what Americans are focused on. Bread and butter. The candidate who shares that focus will be victorious. Which is why governors have an upper hand right now. Not diplomats.

Posted by: Jackson Landers | May 3, 2006 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Foreign policy experience, unfortunately, doesn't seem to mean much to voters. Bill Clinton had none and still got elected. George W. Bush didn't even know who the President of Pakistan was but was still able to garner enough electoral votes to win. John Kerry, Al Gore and George Bush Sr. all had more foreign policy experience and knowledge than their opponents. Even Bob Dole was at least Clinton's equal in that area in 1996.

Going back over the last 14 years it's hard to find any real evidence at the ballot box that foreign policy chops mean much in November.

Posted by: Jackson Landers | May 3, 2006 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Foreign policy experience seems to be the buzz today, and it will be an important issue for the 2008 campaign. The person with the most foreign policy experience right now is Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, by far, the most important diplomat for our nation since Kissenger. Today's world has a focus on the freedom of Lebanon from Syria domination, freedom from the boot of Saddam in Iraq, woman can vote in Kuwait and also run for office, and more stability in Turkey. All from the efforts of the State Department, under the leadership of Condi Rice. The Dems and the libs and the anti-war people will try to drag her down, but she is one of the greatest leaders for the 2008 race.
Check out the Parade magazine, and see how Condi has the support of the people. She also has a job approval of 57%, showing she is clearly in the post she needs to be right now. She is being groomed for higher office, and that scares the Dems out of their minds.

Posted by: Tina | May 3, 2006 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Ah the annual pro-Israeli trips by politicians to assuage fears of AIPAC (the pro-Israeli lobby found doing espionage against the US on behalf of Israel) as if it were a "Right of passage."

Americans should really wake up to the way AIPAC and her pro-Israeli supporters have hijacked our Middle East policy in favor of Israel and to the detriment of us all. (be they Southern Baptist decepticons or the lobbyists on behalf of American Jewry).

Posted by: Cheryl Osgood | May 3, 2006 1:07 AM | Report abuse

Did GWB have any real world foreign policy experience when he was running in 2000?

Posted by: rurikbird | May 2, 2006 10:11 PM | Report abuse

I am not impressed with Richardson, but Warner is a very impressive candidate. No one mentions that Warner led Virginia to be the most prepared for a terrorist, biological or chemical attack. Warner can overcome these obstacles, and if he picks General Wes Clark the ticket would be balanced out. I like Warner, would support him fully if nominated but I am sticking with the right Democrat: John Edwards. Make no mistake though, Warner is more qualified and would be a better President than most Dems in the Hillary Clinton.

Posted by: PopulistDemocrat | May 2, 2006 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Intrepid Liberal, I think it really depends upon the specific governor. You're right about Warner-- he is severely lacking in the foreign policy department. But what about Richardson? He's got all the right credentials-- former U.N. Ambassador, negotiated the release of hostages, etc. And he has the advantage of being a governor, not a senator. Warner would make a great veep, but Richardson should be at the top of the ticket!

Posted by: The Caped Composer | May 2, 2006 9:22 PM | Report abuse

response to: (Posted by: Geoff | May 2, 2006 08:21 PM)

You make some valid points. In particular, Gore and Kerry actually, uh, fought in a war, yet radical Repubs tried to brand them as soft. Go figure. Then again, Clinton soundly defeated GHWB, though the former wasn't a veteran, and the latter was. The expression, "It's the economy, stupid," usually holds true. However, being perceived as consistent and not soft on issues of national security, is also a plus. Even though Warner would certainly be willing and able to make the tough fiscal decisions that GWB has not, I suspect that Repubs would try to exploit Warner's lack of opportunities to demonstrate his foreign policy acumen. Well, at least Repubs couldn't label him a Yankee liberal, as they do all Dems who are north of the Mason-Dixon line.

Posted by: Dr. Don Key | May 2, 2006 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Sizzle -
You're doing a great job kid, keep it up. The bottom line is that goodwill tours through the mideast and photo ops eating schwarma won't fill the gaps in Warner's foreign policy portfolio. If I was Joe Biden's adviser for 2008, the message for the nomination is easy: "Joe Biden has foreign policy experience Mark Warner can't buy." If a decorated war hero (Kerry) couldn't repulse Republican attacks, imagine the vulnerability of a guy whose only in-office FP experience is choosing a sister city for Richmond (if he ever even did that). The poor guy won't even make the trip to SC if Joe Biden makes the race. KO in round 2.

Posted by: Geoff | May 2, 2006 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Warner is a man who needs to get OUT THERE. He is one of the only exciting Democratic prospects, and I would love to see him come in strong and not just burn up like Clark in '04. I say, "Do what you need to do, Mark-- just be ready in 2008."

Posted by: Jake | May 2, 2006 7:58 PM | Report abuse

To this point Mark Warner is mealy mouthed on the subject of foreign policy. Whereas Democrats such as Russ Feingold on the Left and Joe Biden who is more in the center are far more sure footed. Perhaps that's the drawback of being a governor.

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | May 2, 2006 7:46 PM | Report abuse

To Rasmussen Reports Representative:

President Bush Job Approval
Poll Date Approve Disapprove Spread
RCP Average 04/21 - 04/30 35.2% 59.3% -24.1%
USA Today/Gallup 04/28 - 04/30 34% 63% -29%
CBS News 04/28 - 04/30 33% 58% -25%
Rasmussen 04/28 - 04/30 40% 59% -19%
Cook/RT Strategies 04/27 - 04/30 36% 59% -23%
NBC/WSJ 04/21 - 04/24 36% 57% -21%
CNN 04/21 - 04/23 32% 60% -28%
FOX News 04/18 - 04/19 33% 57% -24%
Pew Research 04/07 - 04/16 35% 55% -20%
Gallup 04/10 - 04/13 36% 59% -23%
LA Times/Bloomberg 04/08 - 04/11 39% 57% -18%
CNN/USA Today/Gallup 04/07 - 04/09 37% 60% -23%

Why are your numbers for "Bush Job Approval" so far off from other leading polling firms ? You are +10 points to Fox News ?

How can your numbers be +6 to +10 off ? Rasmussen is nowhere close to every leading polling firm in the entire nation. How can your polling be that far off ? What is your margin of error ?

Rasmussen polling and statistics are unreliable and inconsistent.

Nobody wants to buy polling that is unreliable and meaningless.

I have emailed Rasmussen 12 times and can not get an answer from them. About their polling.

or email them at

And ask WHY ?

Posted by: Polling Fraud | May 2, 2006 7:17 PM | Report abuse

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