Barack Obama: Reaction to assassination of Benazir Bhutto

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This article is part of the
SourceWatch and Congresspedia coverage
of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and
the 2008 presidential election
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According TIME's Jay Newton-Small on December 27, 2007:

"David Axelrod, Barack Obama’s top strategist, told reporters after the speech [in Iowa] that [Sen. Hillary] Clinton will not benefit from a renewed conversation about foreign policy in the wake of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination in Pakistan.
"Bhutto’s death will 'call into issue the judgment: who’s made the right judgments,' Axelrod said. 'Obviously, one of the reasons that Pakistan is in the distress that it’s in is because al-Qaeda is resurgent, has become more powerful within that country and that’s a consequence of us taking the eye off the ball and making the wrong judgment in going into Iraq. That’s a serious difference between these candidates and I’m sure that people will take that into consideration.'

"Foreign policy had been considered by many to be Clinton’s strength and a subject that had been waning ahead of the caucuses as candidates focused their closing arguments on domestic issues. Axelrod argued a focus on Pakistan does not help Clinton, who voted to give President Bush the authority to go to war in Iraq.

"'She was a strong supporter of the war in Iraq, which we would submit, was one of the reasons why we were diverted from Afghanistan, Pakistan and al-Qaeda, who may have been players in this event today, so that’s a judgment she’ll have to defend,” Axelrod said. 'I know Woody Allen said that 80% of life is just showing up but there’s actually more to being proficient in foreign policy than just having been around for a long time. You also have to have good judgment. Obama was willing to split with the conventional wisdom on Iraq and many of these other issues and I think events have borne out his judgment.'

"Response from Clinton Spokesman Phil Singer:

"'This is a time to be focused on the tragedy of the situation, its implications for the U.S. and the world, and to be concerned for the people of Pakistan and the country’s stability. No one should be politicizing this situation with baseless allegations.'"[1]

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  1. Mark Halperin, "Axelrod on Bhutto Assassination, and Clinton Team Response," The Page/TIME, December 27, 2007.

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