From NBC's Andrew Merten
Obama has now taken his foreign diplomacy spat with Clinton on the campaign trail, firing back against her criticism that his willingness to meet with world dictators is "naïve." Said Obama this morning during an endorsement speech in Concord, NH: "I'm not afraid of losing the PR war to dictators," continuing, "I'm not going to hide behind a bunch of rhetoric. I don't want a continuation with Bush-Cheney. I don't want Bush-Cheney light. I want a fundamental change."
As First Read reported earlier, during a conference call with reporters this morning, Obama challenged Clinton to differentiate her policy of meeting with dictators only under certain preconditions with that of the Bush Administration. This came after an initial comment to the Quad Cities Times, followed by an on-camera interview with NBC News last night. But this is the first time Obama has brought up the disagreement -- which started during Monday night's presidential debate -- during a campaign speech. It proved to useful in riling up the audience, garnering cheers and applause.
He continued to speak on the importance of diplomacy and decried the current administration's reluctance to speak with some foreign leaders, saying, "We're going to be tough and smart, and we're not going to be afraid of anybody in affirming what America is all about."