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Obama camp 'flattered' by Hamas compliment

Hamas leader Ahmed Yousef

Barack Obama’s campaign said yesterday it is “flattered” that Hamas’ endorsement of the Illinois senator compared him to John F. Kennedy, though it objects to any diplomatic contact with the terrorist group.

“I like John Kennedy, too,” said chief Obama strategist David Axelrod. “That’s about the only thing we have in common with this gentleman from Hamas. We all agree that John Kennedy was a great president, and it’s flattering when anybody says that Barack Obama would follow in his footsteps.”

Axelrod was reacting to comments earlier this week from Ahmed Yousuf, Hamas’ top political adviser in the Gaza Strip, who said Hamas “hopes” Obama will win the presidential elections and “change” America’s foreign policy.

“I hope Mr. Obama and the Democrats will change the political discourse. … I do believe [Obama] is like John Kennedy, a great man with a great principal. And he has a vision to change America to make it in a position to lead the world community, but not with humiliation and arrogance,” Yousuf said during an exclusive interview with WND and WABC-New York radio’s John Batchelor.

Following last night’s presidential debate in Philadelphia with Sen. Hillary Clinton, the American Spectator’s Philip Klein asked Axelrod in person about Hamas’ endorsement.

Axelrod initially said he was not familiar with Yousuf’s comments. The Spectator’s Klein then read from his Blackberry the top Hamas adviser’s statements about Obama.

Axelrod focused on the Kennedy portion of Yousuf’s quote and said he was “flattered” by the comparison.

He continued, “[Obama’s] position on Hamas is very clear. Until they renounce violence, until they recognize Israel’s right to exist and recognize previous agreements, we shouldn’t have any contact with him.”

Earlier this week, Obama called Hamas a “terrorist organization” that should remain isolated until it renounces violence and recognizes Israel. Obama was responding to media inquiries regarding former President Jimmy Carter’s controversial meetings this week with Hamas leaders.

Speaking to WND and Batchelor, Yousuf excused Obama’s criticism of Hamas, describing it as political posturing.

“I understand American politics, and this is the season for elections, and everybody tries to sound like he’s a friend of the Israelis … so whatever [the] Israelis didn’t like they will take from all those candidates,” Yousuf said.

Yousuf said that in Hamas’ view, Obama has “a vision to change America to make it in a position to lead the world community but not with humiliation and arrogance.”

The U.S. and Israel have been trying to isolate Hamas, which is classified by the State Department as a terror group. Hamas is responsible for scores of deadly suicide bombings, and thousands of shooting attacks and rocket firings against Israeli civilian population centers.


To interview Aaron Klein, contact M. Sliwa Public Relations by e-mail, or call 973-272-2861 or 212-202-4453.