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Obama Sets Out His Israel Vision In Exclusive Horovitz Interview
Two months ago in the Oval Office, President George W. Bush, coming to the end of a two-term presidency and presumably as expert on Israeli-Palestinian policy as he is ever going to be, was accompanied by a team of no fewer than five advisers and spokespeople during a 40-minute interview with this writer and three other Israeli journalists.
In March, on his whirlwind visit to Israel, Republican presidential nominee John McCain—one of whose primary strengths is said to be his intimate grasp of foreign affairs—chose to bring along Sen. Joe Lieberman to the interview Post diplomatic correspondent Herb Keinon and I conducted with him. He looked to Lieberman several times for reassurance on his answers, and seemed a little flummoxed by a question relating to the nuances of settlement construction.
Last Wednesday, toward the end of his packed one-day visit here, Barack Obama, the Democratic senator who is leading the race for the White House and who lacks long years of foreign policy involvement, spoke to this editor with only a single aide in his King David Hotel room, and that aide's sole contribution to the conversation was to suggest that the candidate and I switch seats so that our photographer would get better lighting for his pictures.
He spoke softly and deliberately, and though the interview was brief, there was, of course, much to ask the front-runner in the race to lead the free world. His answers, transcribed here in full, offer considerable insight into his would-be presidential attitude to Israel and the region—and considerable food for thought.
Can you assure the people of Israel, and beyond, that as president you will prevent Iran attaining nuclear weapons?
What I can do is assure that I will do everything in my power as president to prevent Iran attaining nuclear weapons.