Sunday, July 27, 2008

Obama on Meet the Press July 27

Obama talked with Tom Brokaw in London about his trip on Meet the Press. I paraphrased. Italics mine. I'll post video when it's up. 

After his trip, Obama said he hasn’t shifted his strategic policy.
Afghanistan is the front on terror, he said.

He said we need at least two more brigades in Afghanistan and need to work with Pakistan.

He said he was pleased with the reduction of violence in Iraq. In addition to the troops, the Sunni Awakening and Nouri al Maliki's assertion of power, the violence has decreased.

Obama hasn't backed down from “surge worked" rhetoric and he shouldn't. He again reiterates the difference between tactics and strategy.

Brokaw asked about an editorial in the USA Today that asked why Obama can't say the surge worked and what does the stubbornness say about him asks USA Today?

I would ask: why don't people understand that the surge is not a brilliant strategy. It was the addition of more troops because of failed strategy. 

Obama has been arguing a point lost on many, especially the media: Adding troops would have the probability of decreasing violence, but not necessarily and it doesn’t fix the problem. The surge is a tactic and not a strategy. What’s missing is the strategy.

On Commander in Chief Polls: Obama said the polls favor McCain in part because the way the questions are asked. 

Also, Obama said he doesn't look like previous Commanders in Chief and that is a hurdle. But the competitiveness of the race means people want change, he said. 

He was impressed with Angela Merkel and says she's doing what she can. Part of the problem America has had is the Iraq war has turned off European voters, which has blocked Europe from helping out more. 

The purpose of the Berlin speech was to talk to the people and say: “We need your help, we need your cooperation.”

On Middle East: 
"I give the Bush administration credit" that serious discussions are happening now. Obama said he won't wait to get started on advocating for peace in the Middle East.

If that problem can be solved, it will make it easier to get support on Iran and Afghanistan.

Obama is looking at the big picture -- how peace between Israelis and Palestinians would result in better relations for the entire Middle East and ultimately, the world.

Brokaw asked about the two most high profile critics, who had lousy things to say about Obama's Berlin speech: Charles Krauthammer (WaPo) and David Brooks (NYT).

David Brooks is one of my favorite conservatives, he said.

No one speech does everything, he said. He said he could've delivered an exhaustive list of policy details but people would've drifted off.

In short, he was trying to inspire people through speech. Critics like Brooks expect too many details from speeches that are meant to rally. Inspire first, then you have people's ears.

Obama was mum on his vice president. He wants someone with integrity, independence and someone who shares his vision. "I'll be selecting one soon enough."

He's not choosing to please a certain part of the electorate. He wants someone who can help him govern, not just attend funerals.

Hillary Clinton is on the shortlist. Given his criteria, she shares his vision, sure enough, but are they compatible?

Why should the taxpayer have to bail out investors who bought several houses during the sub prime mortgage mess? 
They shouldn't, he said.  

On energy: 
We should be saying in 10 years time, we should be weaning ourselves off oil. 

Brokaw asked about racism. There have been profound changes and obviously, he doesn't think that the problem is large enough that he can't get elected because of it. 

"We've still got work to do," he said. "The vast majority of Americans are people of good will."

We need to make the investments in early childhood education, fixing schools and retraining to improve poor black neighborhoods. 

We have to help people who are poor and impoverished by giving them ladders to climb and they have to be responsible to walk up the ladders they're given.

Brokaw: Will you appear with McCain in a town hall? His answer sounded doubtful. He said he signed on for three debates. Too many debates become a circus, he said.