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Obama dismisses criticism of Chavez handshake

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by WoodysGirl, Apr 19, 2009.

  1. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl Shut up and play! Staff Member

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    Sun Apr 19, 2:35 pm ET

    PORT OF SPAIN (AFP) – President Barack Obama defended on Sunday his amicable first encounter with Venezuelan leader and anti-US firebrand Hugo Chavez, which critics back home assailed as naiive and "irresponsible".

    "It's unlikely that as a consequence of me shaking hands or having a polite conversation with Mr. Chavez that we are endangering the strategic interest of the United States," Obama told reporters at the close of a Summit of the Americas.

    But, he stressed he still had concerns about Venezuela and Chavez's often heated rhetoric.

    "I have great differences with Hugo Chavez on matters of economic policy and matters of foreign policy," Obama said.

    "There have been instances in which we've seen Venezuela interfere with some of the countries that surround Venezuela in ways that I think are a source of concern," he added.

    Obama and Chavez met here Friday at the opening of a 34-nation Americas summit and photos of the encounter showed the US leader smiling as he shook the Venezuelan's hand and patted him on the shoulder.

    Chavez was said to have told Obama: "I shook hands with (former US president George W.) Bush with this hand eight years ago. I want to be your friend."

    Obama responded by thanking Chavez, the official said.

    US officials confirmed the encounter, but said Obama had simply presented himself to Chavez with a "How are you?" and left after shaking hands.

    An opposition lawmaker on Sunday said Obama's handling of the meeting confirmed conservatives' concerns that the Democratic president would not be tough enough on the United States' adversaries.

    "I think it was irresponsible for the president to be seen kind of laughing and joking with Hugo Chavez," said Republican Senator John Ensign on CNN Sunday.

    "This is a person who is one of the most anti-American leaders in the entire world," Ensign said, calling Chavez "a brutal dictator".

    "When you're talking about the prestige of the United States and the presidency of the United States, you have to be careful who you're seeing joking around with," he said.

    Obama said he'd heard such criticisms throughout his campaign for the US presidency and dismissed them as nonsense.

    "The whole notion was that somehow if we showed courtesy or opened up dialogue with governments that had previously been hostile to us, that that somehow would be a sign of weakness," he said.

    "The American people didn't buy it. And there's a good reason the American people didn't buy it, it doesn't make sense."

    Newspapers around the world ran the photo of the handshake with speculation that the long antagonism between Washington and Caracas might be overcome.

    But Sunday Obama downplayed his interaction with Chavez as not particularly unique, noting conversations with other US critics, including Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega and Bolivia's Evo Morales.

    "I had meetings with all the leaders involved, including Ortega, who was the chair person of the Central American meeting," he said.

    "I had very cordial conversations with President Morales and I think it's just that President Chavez is better at positioning the cameras," he said.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090419/pl_afp/americassummitobamausvenezuela_20090419183605
  2. Jon88

    Jon88 Benched

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    It wouldn't surprise me to see him shake hands and joke around with Osama Bin Laden. Probably give him some DVDs he could watch in his cave.
  3. tyke1doe

    tyke1doe Well-Known Member

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    Maybe he should have just peered into the Chavez's soul to see how great a man he was. ;)
  4. sbark

    sbark Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    Look at the good side......at least he didnt bow to Chavez....:rolleyes:
  5. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    I'm not going to rag on Obama for shaking Chavez hand in that setting there was nothing he could really do. I'm more interested in Obama policy than if he shakes a hand or bows to a king
  6. DFWJC

    DFWJC Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    I have no problem with him shaking hands with Chavez....just no sucking up or buddying up please.
  7. JBond

    JBond Well-Known Member

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    [IMG]

    looking pretty friendly in this pic.
  8. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed...part 2 Zone Supporter

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    the bowing was bad, but not horrible. lying about it was crap on a wicker stick.

    the handshake? oh my god - let it go! who the hell cares? was he supposed to come up and pistol whip him and say something like "you want the USA??? YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE USA!!!"???

    people need to just let it go and focus on the real problems, not made up ones to hand out to make ourselves feel better.
  9. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    The lying I agree the bowing no so much in the end it comes down to policy over protocol. Same goes for the Chavez deal it is in the policies set down by our President not the formalities
  10. JBond

    JBond Well-Known Member

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  11. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed...part 2 Zone Supporter

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    well, that would be a texas/western thing. for obama, he'd have to break out the baseball bat and yell TEAM!!! a lot while chasing chavez.
  12. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed...part 2 Zone Supporter

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    the bowing to me was likley just caught up in the moment. cut the guy some slack. he wasn't turning over secrets, kissing rings, or turning the USA over to them, it was just a mistake.

    to lie just makes them look more stupid than the bow ever could.
  13. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    I agree. You bow out of a sign of respect. I have seen 1st ladies curtsy to the queen of England in the past. When in their country I see no issue with showing the respect to a leader. Policy on the other hand should always be done with the best interest of the US
  14. xWraithx

    xWraithx Benched

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    :laugh2:

    the visual of that in my head is freakin hilarious..
  15. Jordan55

    Jordan55 Active Member

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    “You can’t blame the U.S. for every problem in this hemisphere,” Obama said
    Hell whatever blame you have, I concur with it, but remember to blame it on George Bush, I know I do, so follow my lead, oops never mind we no longer lead were all equal.
  16. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    Let me guess he inherited this hemisphere. :lmao:

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