Obama On Stephanopoulos

January 11, 2009

There were a number of interesting things from the Obama this morning – he’s apparently becoming more and more willing to share policy ideas as the Inauguration approaches – but one thing stands out: he’s sticking to his guns about engaging with Iran.

“Speaking on ABC’s ‘This Week,’ Mr. Obama reiterated his intention to work directly with Iran — a country whose president has called for Israel’s destruction — to improve relations and halt a nuclear program that Tehran describes as peaceful but which the West believes is not.

But he added that Iran would be ‘one of our biggest challenges,’ and one that required fresh thinking.

‘We are going to have to take a new approach,’ he said to the program host, George Stephanopoulos. ‘My belief is that engagement is the place to start.’

Mr. Obama said he wanted to adopt ‘a new emphasis on respect and a new willingness on being willing to talk’ to the Iranians, while making it clear ‘that we also have certain expectations.’

The talk of a message of respect suggested a clear departure from the often pointed and deprecatory rhetoric that has prevailed between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and President Bush.”

Whether success or failure, I think we’re going to see a significant change in the way the United States deals with Iran.

Also note that that the New York Times apparently cannot even say “Iran” without adding “a country whose president has called for Israel’s destruction.” I’m guessing that one statement represents about 75% of what the average American knows about Iran.

Nine more days…

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