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For the online media there is no room for equivocation when it comes to Obama’s policy on Iraq (3 of 3)

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MATTHEW PALEVSKY, JOURNALIST, TRNN: Welcome to part 3 of our interview with Arianna Huffington, where we discuss who’s the real Obama. And recently at the AIPAC conference, Obama gave a speech on the Middle East where he proved he was a strong supporter of Israel, which is what all three candidates went to that conference to do. But he also mentioned that the Iranian National Guard was a terrorist organization that they were right to talk about them as a terrorist organization. And there was a bill he said he was against, the Kyl-Lieberman bill, that labeled them as such. And it seemed like he was definitely pushing his policies to the right, hedging his bets moving into the general election. Have we seen the real Obama? Is he doing some of what we just said McCain was doing?

HUFFINGTON: Well, I don’t think you can compare those two. Obama is, as he said himself when he won the nomination last Tuesday, a flawed candidate. You know, he has limitations. He should not be idealized. But right now there is no question that—and the Obama candidacy has already done an enormous amount of good in terms of bringing into the process an enormous amount of young people who had given up on politics. He has tremendous idealism. That is real. You know, you may not agree with each one of his policies, but there is no question that he follows the kind of great George Bernard Shaw line that Bobby Kennedy used to use all the time, that some people look at the world as it is and ask why, and I look at the world as it might be and ask why not. Now, that is a central characteristic of the Obama candidacy, and I believe it will be of the Obama presidency.

PALEVSKY: And it’s definitely what we’ll see in their campaigns. We’re going to see this, you know, difference in ideology, this difference in character when you talk about the policies, and especially in the Middle East, which is on the top of everyone’s mind, right up there with the economy.

HUFFINGTON: The key thing in the Middle East is going to be Iraq, and that’s where we all, as citizens, as members of the online media, have a huge responsibility to be watchdogs. Like, there is no room for equivocation when it comes to Obama’s policy on Iraq.

PALEVSKY: And do you think the media’s been giving him an easy ride up until now?

HUFFINGTON: Well, you know, we won’t really know until he’s in the White House. You see, he has promised that he will start bringing the troops home. That is something which I think we all have a responsibility to make sure he fulfills as a promise, because the American public, remember, gave a mandate to the Democrats in ’06 to start bringing the troops home, and instead you had the surge. So I don’t think there is room for any more disappointment, for being betrayed again on this issue. And this is the central issue because it’s really affecting the safety of this country. The fact that we are in Iraq means that we are not where need to be, that we’re not addressing the dangers in Afghanistan and western Pakistan, that we are not spending enough time and resources addressing the dangers of nuclear proliferation. So this is the central issue of our time, and that’s why I don’t think there can be any equivocation.


Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

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Arianna Huffington is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, a nationally syndicated columnist, and author of eleven books. She is also co-host of “Left, Right & Center,” public radio’s popular political round table program.