Obama Backtracks On Unilateral Action In Pakistan

WASHINGTON - In his August 1st speech on terrorism, Barack Obama called for unilateral hostile action against Pakistan, stating that if "...we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will." His comments received criticism from officials in Pakistan and spurred protests, as reported by the Chicago Tribune here. At last night's AFL-CIO debate, Senator Dodd commented that it was a mistake to suggest that we unilaterally invade Pakistan. Obama backed away from his previous comments, and instead stated that he would take a more cooperative stance with Pakistan: "I did not say that we immediately go in unilaterally, what I said was that we have to work with Musharraf."

As part of MSNBC's post debate coverage, MSNBC reporter David Shuster agreed with Dodd, saying that Obama was misleading about his August 1st terrorism speech:

Obama (video of debate): "I did not say that we would immediately go in unilaterally, what I said was that we have to work with Musharraf"

Shuster: "Actually Obama is incorrect and Dodd is right on this one. Watch what Obama said in his speech just a few days ago. "

Obama (video of terrorism speech, 8/1/07): "It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an Al Qaeda leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high value terrorist targets and President Musharraf will not act, we will."

Shuster: "Again, Barack Obama was misleading tonight about his own speech"

"Senator Obama clearly buckled under the pressure last night while being challenged by much more experienced, seasoned candidates like Chris Dodd," said Dodd spokeswoman Colleen Flanagan. "Senator Dodd's 32 years in Congress have equipped him with a very nuanced understanding of complex foreign policy matters. That experience showed last night, especially in contrast to Senator Obama retreating from what he said in his speech in order to try to deny the irresponsible comments he had made."