Lets put some context to the article with relevant video interspersed of Obama's words, stated BY Obama himself.
Barack Obama's original answer seemed crystal clear: last July, asked whether he would meet with the "leaders" of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, and North Korea "without precondition," during his first year as president, he quickly answered yes.
"I would," Obama, D-Ill., said at the CNN/YouTube debate. "And the reason is this: that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them -- which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration -- is ridiculous."
You can see Obama's answers yourself, via YouTube, from the Democratic debate where he answered that question.
The question and answer is in the transcript itself:
QUESTION: In 1982, Anwar Sadat traveled to Israel, a trip that resulted in a peace agreement that has lasted ever since.
In the spirit of that type of bold leadership, would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?
COOPER: I should also point out that Stephen is in the crowd tonight.
OBAMA: I would. And the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them -- which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration -- is ridiculous.
John McCain has called that approached of meeting with state leaders that sponsor terror and terrorists groups, "reckless".
"I have some news for Senator Obama," McCain began, "Talking, not even with soaring rhetoric, in unconditional meetings with the man who calls Israel a stinking corpse, and arms terrorists who kill Americans will not convince Iran to give up its nuclear program."
"It is reckless to suggest that unconditional meetings will advance our interests," McCain said, to a round of applause at the NRA conference. "You know it would be a wonderful thing if we lived in a world where we don't have enemies. But that's not the world we live in. And until senator Obama understands that reality, the American people have every reason to doubt whether he has the strength, judgment and determination to keep us safe."
Barack Obama, in an interview has tried to back away from his stated position, and claims McCain has "misstated" Obama's own words, by saying:
TAPPER: In recent days, it has seemed that some of your staffers and supporters have walked back from your statement that you would be willing to meet with the leaders of rogue nations, countries hostile to the U.S., without preconditions. Your foreign policy adviser Susan Rice said you wouldn't necessarily meet with Ahmadinejad, Sen. Daschle said of course there would be conditions -- (Obama interrupts)
OBAMA: You know, Jake, I have to say I completely disagree that people have been walking back from anything. They may be correcting the characterizations or distortions of John McCain or others of what I said. What I said was I would meet with our adversaries including Iran, including Venezula, including Cuba, including North Korea, without preconditions but that does not mean without preparation.
I refer you to the video above, once again to see for yourself if Obama's past words, match his attempt to "back away" from his previously stated position.
From ABC we see Obama supporters also attempting to change the definition of "precondition":
Asked about Obama's original statement Tuesday morning on CNN, former Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., a top Obama adviser and supporter, said top-level meetings would not be immediate -- and would not happen without preliminary extensive diplomatic work.
"I would not say that we would meet unconditionally," said Daschle. "Of course, there are conditions that we [would] involve in preparation in getting ready for the diplomacy. ... 'Without precondition' simply means we wouldn't put obstacles in the way of discussing the differences between us. That's really what they're saying, what Barack is saying."
Then you have his top foreign policy adviser:
Susan Rice, a top Obama foreign policy adviser, said Monday that Obama's meetings with Iranian leaders might not include Ahmadinejad.
"He said he'd meet with the appropriate Iranian leaders. He hasn't named who that leader will be," Rice said on CNN. "It would be the appropriate Iranian leadership at the appropriate time -- not necessarily Ahmadinejad."
Back to the video above!!!!
But, if the video above is getting too "old" for you, then let us look at yet another video (hat tip Weekly Standard) where Obama says....thats right, He would meet with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as well as Ali Khamenei, the man with the real power in Tehran. (Via YouTube)
So, "preparation" now means "preconditions" because the word "condition" cannot be used because Barack Obama already said he would meet with those leaders without preconditions.
Still on the same page in Obamaworld?
Let us not forget the medias help to Obama on this issue, via Joe Klein and the "crack team of researchers" at Time Magazine, who couldn't find either of those two YouTube clips, obviously.
On Friday, I promised to check into whether Obama had ever said that he would negotiate--specifically, by name -- with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Indeed, according to the crack Time Magazine research department and the Obama campaign, he never has.
Perhaps someone needs to email those two video clips to Mr. Klein and Time Magazine, since they are so hard for them to find for themselves.
Amazing what a person can miss when they do not bother to look, huh?
Back to ABC, where they point out that Obama, knowing he has been busted on his deliberate attempt to rewrite his own words, caught on video, told a crowd in South Dakota:
"Preconditions, as it applies to a country like Iran, for example, was a term of art because this administration has been very clear that it will not have direct negotiations with Iran until Iran has met preconditions that are, essentially, what Iran views and many other observers would view as the subject of the negotiations," Obama told reporters.
"The point is that I would not refuse to meet until they agree to every position that we want, but that doesn't mean that we would not have preparation," he continued. "The preparation would involve starting with low level, lower-level diplomatic contacts, having our diplomatic core work through with Iranian counterparts -- an agenda. But what I have said is that, at some point, I would be willing to meet."
Again, I refer you back to the first video in this post.
Of course other Democrats are seeking to "explain" Obama's evolving position as evidenced by Joe Biden:
"This is a fellow who, I think, shorthanded an answer that, in fact, was the wrong answer, in my view, saying, 'I would, within the first year' -- it implied he'd personally sit down with anybody who wanted to sit down with him," Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., a former presidential candidate, who is now neutral in the race, said on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday.
"That's not what he meant," Biden continued. "That's not what he has said, since then, for the last year, or thereabouts. And so, I think, that he's fully capable of understanding what's going on."
So, the answer from video one, from Obama's own mouth, should be ignored because his answers since then have changed and he has "evolved"?
Speaking of Obama gaffes, Michelle Malkin has a nice list put together of other Obama gaffes....all of which will be used heavily in Novembers general election because the Democratic supporters have put themselves in a position now where nominating anybody but Obama would fracture their party beyond repair.
[Update] The New York Times corrects their assertion that Obama never said he would meet with Iran's leaders "without preconditions",. Well they sorta, kinda, correct themselves.
Their correction: (At the bottom of the piece)
Correction: May 16, 2008
An article on Saturday about Senator John McCain’s criticism of Senator Barack Obama’s Middle East policy incompletely described Mr. Obama’s position on negotiating with the leaders of countries, including Iran, with which the United States currently has little contact. While Mr. Obama and his aides have indeed described various conditions and limitations on such negotiations, Mr. Obama himself, in a Democratic debate in July 2007, also said he would be willing "to meet separately, without precondition" with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea.