Obama, McCain trade barbs on Hamas endorsement

By Aaron Klein

Hamas leader Ahmed Yousef

Sen. Barack Obama today slammed presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain for purportedly suggesting in a fundraising letter the Hamas terrorist organization supports Obama.

McCain, however, did not suggest Hamas supports Obama. The Arizona senator’s campaign was quoting an audio interview conducted by WND and ABC Radio in which Ahmed Yousef, Hamas’ top political adviser in the Gaza Strip, said Hamas “hopes” Obama will win the presidential elections and “change” America’s foreign policy.

Yousuf also compared Obama to President John F. Kennedy.

In an interview today with CNN’s “The Situation Room,” Obama stated, “This is offensive and I think it’s disappointing, because John McCain always says, well, I’m not going to run that kind of politics and that engages in that kind of smear I think is unfortunate, particularly since my policy toward Hamas has been no different than his.

“For him to toss out comments like that I think is an example of him losing his bearings as he pursues this nomination,” the Democratic candidate added. “We don’t need name-calling in this debate.”

Obama had been asked about McCain purportedly suggesting Hamas endorses the Illinois senator.

Obama’s comments followed an appearance yesterday by McCain on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with John Stewart,” in which the Hamas endorsement was discussed.

“You did say, there was one comment, and this could have been taken out of context as well, that you felt that Hamas had endorsed Obama. Did they officially?” Stewart asked McCain.

“The (Hamas) spokesperson said that,” McCain explained to Stewart.

“And you take Hamas at their word?” Stewart retorted.

Watch Barack Obama’s interview today with CNN

McCain responded: “No, but it’s indicative of how some of our enemies view America. I guarantee you they are not going to endorse me.”

The Hamas controversy began last month during an exclusive interview with WND and WABC New York radio’s John Batchelor.

“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,” Yousef said.

Afterwards, Obama’s campaign said it was “flattered” that Hamas’ endorsement of the Illinois senator compared him to 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.”


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