Friday, September 19, 2008

A fair point re: McCain

There are substantial questions regarding a report by Amir Taheri that Sen. Obama "had urged Iraqi leaders to postpone making an agreement with the United States until there was a new administration in Washington." Taheri stands by the report and the reporting. Obama's campaign denied the report earlier this week, although the denial left a lot of wiggle room in interpretations.

ABC's Jake Tapper, who is one of the fairest reporters in the media, wonders why McCain's campaign did not ask Republicans who attended the meeting that included Obama and various Iraqi leaders what happened.

This is a fair point because the Bush Administration and the self-important Chuck Hagel both indicate that Obama's version of events is correct. So Tapper faults the McCain campaign for blasting Obama based on the Taheri report. This is proper . . . to an extent. The McCain statement, which Tapper quoted in his blog entry, is also proper because it is correctly qualified:

If news reports are accurate, this is an egregious act of political interference by a presidential candidate seeking political advantage overseas. Senator Obama needs to reveal what he said to Iraq's Foreign Minister during their closed door meeting. The charge that he sought to delay the withdrawal of Americans from Iraq raises serious questions about Senator Obama's judgment and it demands an explanation.

Tapper's evaluation of the McCain campaign reaction is, ultimately, unfair:

What actually demands an explanation is why the McCain campaign was so willing to give credence to such a questionable story with such tremendous international implications without first talking to Republicans present at Obama’s meeting

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