John McCain sought again today to tie Barack Obama to the terrorist group Hamas.
In a conversation with conservative bloggers, McCain said, "I think it's very clear who Hamas wants to be the next president of the United States. I think that people should understand that I will be Hamas's worst nightmare....If Senator Obama is favored by Hamas, I think people can make judgments accordingly."
McCain is referring to Hamas political adviser Ahmed Yousef, who said in an interview with WABC Radio this month that the terrorist group supports Obama's foreign policy vision.
The presumptive Republican nominee also used the comment/association in a fund-raising letter last week, telling potential donors, "Barack Obama's foreign policy plans have even won him praise from Hamas leaders."
Obama's campaign criticized McCain, calling his comments personal attacks not in keeping with his pledge to run a respectful campaign. It also pointed out that Obama has denounced Hamas as a terrorist group that targets civilians.
Obama distanced himself from former President Jimmy Carter, who has hinted he supports Obama and who met with Hamas leaders last week, over the objections of the Bush administration and Israeli government. Obama said he wouldn't talk to Hamas until it recognized Israel's right to exist.
Obama has said he is willing to meet with foreign leaders, even those with objectionable views, to improve the US standing in the world. But he distinguishes between governments, like Iran, and groups, like Hamas.
UPDATE: McCain spokesman Brian Rogers responded to the Obama campaign's criticism: “This is a legitimate issue for the American people to think about. The reason for Hamas’ praise of Senator Obama’s foreign policy is his commitment to meet unconditionally with Iran -- a nation whose president denies the Holocaust, threatens to wipe Israel off the map, funds terrorists and sends weapons to Iraq to kill American soldiers. Senator Obama’s positions present a radical departure from the longstanding bipartisan consensus for isolating rogue regimes like Iran and North Korea."
"It is not only responsible to raise these critical issues in this election, but it would be the height of irresponsibility not to have this discussion with the American people.”
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.