Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has escalated his war of words with rival Hillary Clinton in a spat over foreign policy.
Clinton has accused Obama of being naive to suggest — in response to a question during a debate — that he’d meet with the leaders of North Korea, Iran and Syria. Obama fired back during an appearance Friday afternoon in Adel.
"We can’t keep on doing the same stuff all the time. You know, some of you noticed that this week I got into a debate with one of my colleagues who’s also running for the presidency and the debate was about whether or not we talk to world leaders even when we don’t like ’em and my theory was you do and you do it without preconditions," Obama said, to applause from the crowd.
Obama was on the farm in Adel to outline his views on farm policy and his campaign staff had said Obama would not talk about the campaign flap unless asked by someone in the crowd. Obama, though, raised the issue himself without prompting.
"Some of the pundits in Washington, they said, ‘Oh, you know, that shows inexperience, that he’d be willing to tlak to folks’ and my attitude was what do we have to fear as Americans?" Obama said. "…If we know who we are, if we know what we stand for, then we shouldn’t be afraid to meet anybody because we’ll tell ’em what we believe and what makes this country great. They may not like what we have to say, but we’re going to go ahead and speak to ’em about those issues."
Earlier in the week Obama had characterized Clinton’s approach to foreign policy as "Bush-Cheney Lite." Obama did not mention Clinton by name in Adel, but he did ridicule his rival’s claim that she is the more experienced candidate.
"So often in Washington, experience means doing what we’ve been doing over and over and over again. Well, to me that’s not experience if what you’re doing isn’t working. It’s bad judgment," Obama said. "And if you want to show good judgment, then you’ve got to be open to changing the way we do things in order to get different outcomes."
Obama said the next president must be willing to try "new approaches" to foreign policy that "strengthen" America’s diplomatic ties around the globe.
You may listen to Obama’s remarks in Adel by clicking on the audio link below.