President Obama addressed the United Nations General Assembly this morning in New York and delivered a stern message to those responsible for the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya.
"The attacks on our civilians in Benghazi were attacks on America," said Pres. Obama. "There should be no doubt that we will be relentless in tracking down the killers and bringing them to justice," he added.
Pres. Obama also addressed the bloodshed in Syria. "The future must not belong to a dictator who massacres his people," he said about Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
He also said a nuclear-armed Iran is "not a challenge that can be contained" and the United States "will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon."
And on the effort to bring peace to the Middle East Pres. Obama said, "The road is hard but the destination is clear – a secure, Jewish state of Israel; and an independent, prosperous Palestine."
As you can see, the president covered a lot of international problems in his speech, but he decided to hold no face-to-face bilateral meetings with world leaders, with the exception of dropping by on a meeting Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan was having with Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadito.
That's in stark contrast to the 13 meetings he scheduled last year.
Republicans are firing back saying it's outrageous that the only face-to-face meeting Obama actually had while in New York was an interview he taped with the ladies of "The View."
How does the White House answer to the criticism? Their response tonight in our Keeping Them Honest report.
Obama is focusing on "Nationbuilding at home", and his speech at the UN was great, he was consistent in pledging that US supports people everywhere who rise against tyranny. His approach is foreign policy,not war.
I don't see anything wrong with President Obama not scheduling any one-on-one meetings with world leaders. Doing those meetings would risk the lead he is enjoying from the polls by repeating an Obama/Medvedev moment (more flexibility after the election).
Comment on AC360 – discussion with David Gergen and John King(?) on why Obama is NOT meeting with the relevant leaders who are in NY right now? – Don't you think it would be quite presumptuous for him to meet with them right now when he COULD be out of the job in 6+ weeks? What could he really honestly commit to? I am sure he does not want to repeat the Putin gaffe. I completely disagree with Gergen, I think he is being VERY smart and Chris above is absolutely right.
Has anyone considered, that with Anti-American sentiment, the Secret Service felt the risks to the Presidents safety to great for the usual "schmoozing"?
Don't you think that POTUS could just be trying to avoid any kind of potential controversy that any meetings might produce? I can't think of any, but maybe the campaign is worried about what the Romney campaign might be able to come up with? I think it's a political calculation for the upcoming election and if he's betting that most Americans won't really care one way or the other then I think it's a safe bet and it isn't really bothering me either.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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