Interview Transcript – President Obama on NPR – Mideast Relations, Guantanamo

(Source: White House Press Office) 4:02 P.M. EDT

Q    Mr. President, welcome to the program.

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you so much.

Q    Mr. President, thank you for joining us — that we could join you, in this case.  If you want to improve relations with the Muslim world, do you have to change or alter in some way the strong U.S. support for Israel?

THE PRESIDENT:  No, I don’t think that we have to change strong U.S. support for Israel.  I think that we do have to retain a constant belief in the possibilities of negotiations that will lead to peace, and that that’s going to require, from my view, a two-state solution; that it’s going to require that each side — Israelis and Palestinians — meet their obligations.

I’ve said very clearly to the Israelis both privately and publicly that a freeze on settlements including natural growth is part of those obligations.  I’ve said to the Palestinians that their continued progress on security and ending the incitement that I think understandably makes Israelis so concerned — that that has to be — those obligations have to be met.

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Video: President Obama Speech on National Security, Torture, Guantanamo – May 21

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Video: Dick Cheney AEI Speech – National Security – May 21

May 21, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
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Full Text: Vice President Cheney on National Security at the American Enterprise Institute – May 21

As prepared for delivery

Vice President Cheney Remarks at the American Enterprise Institute Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thank you all very much, and Arthur, thank you for that introduction. It’s good to be back at AEI, where we have many friends. Lynne is one of your longtime scholars, and I’m looking forward to spending more time here myself as a returning trustee. What happened was, they were looking for a new member of the board of trustees, and they asked me to head up the search committee.

I first came to AEI after serving at the Pentagon, and departed only after a very interesting job offer came along. I had no expectation of returning to public life, but my career worked out a little differently. Those eight years as vice president were quite a journey, and during a time of big events and great decisions, I don’t think I missed much.

Being the first vice president who had also served as secretary of defense, naturally my duties tended toward national security. I focused on those challenges day to day, mostly free from the usual political distractions. I had the advantage of being a vice president content with the responsibilities I had, and going about my work with no higher ambition. Today, I’m an even freer man. Your kind invitation brings me here as a private citizen – a career in politics behind me, no elections to win or lose, and no favor to seek.

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Full Text: President Barack Obama on National Security, Torture, Guantanamo – National Archives – May 21

May 21, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Barack Obama, Foreign Policy, National Security 

us-whitehouse-logoRemarks as Prepared for Delivery

These are extraordinary times for our country. We are confronting an historic economic crisis. We are fighting two wars. We face a range of challenges that will define the way that Americans will live in the 21st century. There is no shortage of work to be done, or responsibilities to bear.

And we have begun to make progress. Just this week, we have taken steps to protect American consumers and homeowners, and to reform our system of government contracting so that we better protect our people while spending our money more wisely. The engines of our economy are slowly beginning to turn, and we are working toward historic reform of health care and energy. I welcome the hard work that has been done by the Congress on these and other issues.

In the midst of all these challenges, however, my single most important responsibility as President is to keep the American people safe. That is the first thing that I think about when I wake up in the morning. It is the last thing that I think about when I go to sleep at night.

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Dick Cheney Should Get Knocked Down a Peg on Thursday

May 20, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Barack Obama, National Security, Politics 

ovcThe Politico is reporting that on Thursday, a day former Veep Dick Cheney is scheduled to give a speech titled, “Keeping America Safe,” President Barack Obama will give a major speech outlining the “political and intellectual” framework behind his anti-terror stance and all things related to detainee treatment.

Mr. Cheney, meet Mr. Obama – you might want to talk to Mr. McCain about bringin’ the scary hype against the man who seems to have re-invented hope.

I can see it now.  Cheney, talking like Burgess Meredith’s Penguin character from the old Batman TV series, spitting all the worn out Bush era lines about fighting “them” over there so we don’t have to fight “them” here.  Through teeth clenched around a cigarette holder he might even throw in a few nasal, conspiratorial giggles as he derides Democrats as soft.

On the other side of the split screen is the man who is steady, unafraid.  Barack Obama will use his moment to teach, to inspire.  Cheney will undoubtedly use his moment, in front of a partisan crowd at the American Enterprise Institute to stoke the flames that divide us.

America will once again be reminded what a great choice she made in November.

I’ll be the first to say that as an Obama voter, I’m not down with the whole cult of personality thing.  I’ve criticized the Administration’s policies of feeding corporate America while middle America is hungry for work.  I criticized recently the flip-flop on the release of detainee abuse photos.

But of one thing I’m fairly certain.  When President Obama speaks on big issues, he speaks from a carefully considered, thoughtful point of view.  His values – some may label them “Left” – go into his positions, but I do believe that all sides of the issues are considered.  This pragmatism, something entirely missing from U.S. national politics since Bush 41, leads to decisions like that of using military tribunals to adjudicate some of the Guantanamo detainee cases.  When you’re pragmatic and you compromise you rankle the extremes.  Since most of us inhabit the space more near the center, that’s O.K.

I’m looking forward to this speech from President Obama on Thursday like no other public appearance he’s made since the address to the Joint Session of Congress.  I’ll take in the coverage of Cheney also.  I just won’t expect anything of value.


Document: Senate Armed Services Cmtee – Inquiry Into the Treatment of Detainees in U.S. Custody – Declassified

April 22, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
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Click for Senate Report on Abu Ghraib & Guantanomo Detainee Treatment

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Video: Olbermann Special Comment – Tells the President He’s Wrong (The President is Obama)

April 17, 2009 by · 1 Comment
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Maybe I’m a fuddy-duddy, but my once personal hero, Keith Olbermann, has been wearing my last nerve with the unabashed continuous liberal dogma slant on Countdown.  Most of it I agree with.  The fuddy-duddiness comes into play when I have to remind myself I’m still looking for news and information from the news on TV and not the constant spin cycle of partisan slant and infotainment.

I resigned myself to the fact that Countdown is going to be the liberal version of “The Factor,” and I continue to watch it occaisionally.  I lean left, but I get irritated with anyone or any source that is as cliche left as O’Reilly’s piece of shit show is cliche, bullying right.

Last night, Olbermann proved again he is not entirely in the tank for Obama and that he’s willing to speak out when he disagrees with the president.  I respect that:

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