The LA Times Top of the Ticket blog provides us with the Barack Obama quote of the week:
At a closed San Francisco fundraiser Sunday evening, previewed here earlier on the weekend, the Illinois senator, who leads in delegates and the popular vote sounded a little defensive as he fielded a question on what he’s looking for in a running mate when the time comes.
“I would like somebody who knows about a bunch of stuff that I’m not as expert on,” the senator is quoted on Huffington Post today.
Gosh, where do we start with that one? Ah – he knows:
“I think a lot of people assume that might be some sort of military thing to make me look more commander in chief like.
“Ironically, this is an area — foreign policy is the area where I am probably most confident that I know more and understand the world better than Sen. Clinton or Sen. McCain.
“It’s ironic because this is supposedly the place where experience is most needed to be commander in chief,” he continued. “Experience in Washington is not knowledge of the world.
“When Sen. Clinton brags, ‘I’ve met leaders from 80 countries — I know what those trips are like! I’ve been on them. You go from….the airport to the embassy. There’s a group of children who do native dance. You meet with the CIA station chief and the embassy and they give you a briefing. You go take a tour of a plant that [with] the assistance of USAID has started something. And then — you go.
“You do that in 80 countries — you don’t know those 80 countries,” Obama claimed in a transcript provided by HuffingtonPost’s Mayhill Flower. “So when I speak about having lived in Indonesia for four years, having family that is impoverished in small villages in Africa — knowing the leaders is not important — what I know is the people. I traveled to Pakistan when I was in college — I knew what Sunni and Shia was before I joined the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.”
In 1981, after visiting his mother and sister Maya in Indonesia, Obama went to Pakistan with a friend from college whose family was from there. He was there for about three weeks, staying with his friend’s family in Karachi and visiting Hyderabad as well.
Obama was born in August 1961, so depending on the time of the year he spent those three weeks in Pakistan he was either 19 or 20.
Other reminders: In his three years served so far in the US Senate, he has made one trip to Iraq, one trip to Russia – w/ Senator Dick Lugar, supposedly had a quick meeting with then-PM of the Britain Tony Blair on his way back from Russia, and none to the place he claims we have neglected the most and need to refocus on: Afghanistan. And as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on European Affairs for over a year now, he has never held a single policy hearing on anything, not Afghanistan, or anywhere else. And about his time on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:
Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who has come under fire about his readiness to be commander-in-chief, missed two of three Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on Afghanistan since joining the panel.
Obama has said the U.S. should have stayed focused on fighting al Qaeda in Afghanistan while repeatedly criticizing his rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), and presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) for their votes in favor of a resolution backing the Iraq war.
But since joining Foreign Relations, Obama has missed three meetings on a “new strategy” in Afghanistan, a country he has never visited.
Obama was absent from a January 31 meeting this year, and also was not present for a hearing on Sept. 21, 2006. He did attend a March 8, 2007 hearing on a new Afghanistan strategy.
On Feb. 15, 2007, Obama also missed a committee hearing on U.S. ambassadors to Iraq and Afghanistan.
In his second trip overseas as a sitting senator, Obama was part of a congressional delegation that was scheduled to go to Afghanistan after visiting Iraq. Obama made the Iraq part of the trip but peeled off to visit Jordan and Israel instead of visiting Afghanistan, according to reports published at that time.
This is what Barack Obama is trying to con the American people on when he talks about his “knowledge of the world” (and sadly there are those who have been all too willing to fall for it). Contrast that with Senator McCain’s “knowledge of the world” – which started all the way back to 1958 when he began his service in the Navy. As far as recent “knowledge of the world” goes, in the last few years alone, McCain has visited Iraq eight times to Obama’s one.
That Barack Obama can stand there and assert with a straight face – even amongst a group of his fellow like-minded Democrats – that he has more “knowledge of the world” than John McCain says a lot about his willingness and eagerness to greatly embellish who he is. Not that that should surprise any of us.
In related BO news, MSNBC’s First Read reports that Obama is continuing his lie about McCain’s 100 years in Iraq comment and that Team McCain is firing back. Mary Katharine Ham has video of Obama this morning getting questioned by Today Show co-host Meredith Vieira on his continued distortion of McCain’s remarks.
Michelle Obama, I should note, is in North Carolina today, and the first of her three stops was this morning to Charlotte’s neighbor Harrisburg:
HARRISBURG, N.C. — Michelle Obama made her first campaign stop in North Carolina on Tuesday.
The wife of Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama spoke to working women at the Dixon Academy, discussing some of the issues families in North Carolina are facing, especially in this struggling economy. She also talked about the rising cost of living in the country.
Harrisburg is in Cabarrus County, which has been hard hit by manufacturing job losses over the last several years – including from its third largest employer Phillip Morris, which announced last year that they will be closing their Concord plant (and along with it 2,500 jobs) by 2010, and Pillowtex in Kannapolis, which saw 4,400 jobs vanish in 2003, so it’s the perfect place for Mrs. Obama to visit and share stories with the to poor and middle-income families who are struggling to make ends meet about how she faces “struggles” of her own every day and how only her husband can “fix” their souls.
Pass the Tylenol, please.
Update: Bob Owens takes BO to task for his “world experience” claims as well here, and includes this great 1982 comment McCain made to a candidate running for for a House seat:
“Listen, pal. I spent 22 years in the Navy. My grandfather was in the Navy. We in the military service tend to move a lot. We have to live in all parts of the country, all parts of the world. I wish I could have had the luxury, like you, of growing up and living and spending my entire life in a nice place like the first district of Arizona, but I was doing other things. As a matter of fact, when I think about it now, the place I lived longest in my life was Hanoi.”