Huffington Post: McCain Was For Talking To Hamas Before He Was Against It...
Two years ago, in an interview with James Rubin for Sky News, Sen. John McCain expressed a willingness to negotiate with the terrorist group Hamas -- the very group that McCain has been relentlessly using to smear Sen. Barack Obama over the last several weeks.
Rubin has written an op-ed in Friday's Washington Post about his exchange with McCain, and The Huffington Post has obtained exclusive video. Here's the key excerpt:
(h/t Huffington Post)
Ben Smith Post: This general election campaign is getting off to a rollicking start.
McCain campaign responds: 'Hysterical diatribe'
From McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds:
It was remarkable to see Barack Obama’s hysterical diatribe in response to a speech in which his name wasn’t even mentioned.
These are serious issues that deserve a serious debate, not the same tired partisan rants we heard today from Senator Obama. Senator Obama has pledged to unconditionally meet with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- who pledges to wipe Israel off the map, denies the Holocaust, sponsors terrorists, arms America’s enemies in Iraq and pursues nuclear weapons. What would Senator Obama talk about with such a man? It would be a wonderful thing if we lived in a world where we don’t have enemies.But that is not the world we live in, and until Senator Obama understands that, the American people have every reason to doubt whether he has the strength, judgment and determination to keep us safe.
Oddly, McCain's response also contained the claim he'd distorted Defense Secretary Robert Gates' willingness to meet the leaders of Iran, but didn't contest Obama's point that McCain had suggested meeting with Hamas.
UPDATE: Cancel that. The McCain campaign sends over video of a second 2006 interview (see below) in which, unlike in his interview with Jamie Rubin, McCain suggests that aid and the peace process can only "resume" when Hamas agrees to "renounce" their commitment to the state of Israel.
That's a different tone, though it doesn't really contradict the the first interview, in which McCain was asked directly about American diplomats meeting with Hamas, and seemed to answer in the affirmative.