Obama meets with his National Security “senior working group” Pool reports.

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Print and (for the first time) TV pool report of Obama June 18, 2008 Meeting with Senior Working Group on National Security in Washington D.C.

TIME: 1:15pm ET

EVENT: Obama Meeting with Senior Working Group on National Security

*The TV pool report is also attached below*

——————————————————————————-

From: Anne Kornblut

Sent: Wednesday, June 18, 2008 12:59 PM

To: Jen Psaki;

Subject: pool report #`1 from Anne Kornblut at Obama event in DC

Pool report

Sen. Barack Obama convened his first “senior working group on national security” in a meeting room at the Liaison Hotel here in Washington, and allowed the press in to hear his opening statement. Seated next to him at the table were Madeleine Albright and Lee Hamilton; also in attendance were Richard Danzig, James Steinberg, Greg Craig, Susan Rice, Tim Roemer, William Perry, Tony Lake and David Boren. Warren Christopher and Sam Nunn also participated via speakerphone.

Eric Holder was not there; we were told he had a scheduling conflict and would not make this meeting, but is still a part of the working group.

The group was seated with participants rather close together around a table, with a backdrop of numerous large American flags.

Obama’s openiing statement:

“Let me just open up by thanking this group of distinguished Americans for joining me today. This is the first meeting of what we’re calling a senior working group on national security that I will be consulting between now and the election. Every single individual here has provided extraordinary service to our nation, in the executive branch or in Congress, the 9/11 commission. Several have been advising my campaign fo some time I’m also honored to be joined by those who were advising sen clintons campaign in the role of senior advisers. In the months to come we expect to be reaching out to others. Today we’re going to have a wind-ranging discussion about the national security challenges facing the United States. We are fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; we continue to face great threats not only from terrorism but also nuclear proliferation, climate change and poverty, genocide and disease.

Nearly all these threats have grown over the last 8 years because of the policies of George Bush, which I believe have left us less safe and less respected in the world.

There’s going to be a clear choice in this election: John McCain wants to continue the Bush-Cheney foreign policy. I want to turn the page.

Instead of adhering to a rigid ideology, I want to get back to a pragamatic tradition of American foreign policy which has been so ably advanced by the people in this room.

A policy that’s focused on using all elements of American power to protect our people and to advance our interests. Yesterday, Sen. McCain showed yet again(inaudible). He is also going to use the Bush-Cheney political playbook that’s based on fear. He put a bunch of staunch Iraq war supporters on the phone to accuse me of having a pre-9/11 mindset. I believe actually that I am very clear about the threats America faces, as do the people around this table and those who are on the phone. And I think in fact it’s the failed policies of the Bush administration, the unwillingness to look toward the future, that is causing us so many problems around the world.”

Anne E. Kornblut

Barack Obama

Liaison Hotel

Washington, DC 6/18/08

The press was led into a ballroom at DCs Liaison Hotel where Obama was already sitting with his Senior Working Group on National Security (left to right below).

They sat on three sides of a square table in the middle of the room, Sam Nunn and Warren Christopher had called in and were on speakerphone. Eric Holder couldnt make the meeting but campaign says he had spoken to Madeline Albright prior to the meeting.

There was a long row of American flags behind them, a row of tables on either side of their table that I assume is for the meeting later.

Obama addressed the press with prepared remarks and then we were ushered out. No one spoke besides Obama, except Nunn and Christopher to confirm that they were on the phone.

Obama (verbate):

Let me just open up by thanking this group of distinguished Americans for joining me today. This is the first meeting of what were calling the Senior Working Group on National Security that I will be consulting between now and the election. Every single individual here has provided extraordinary service for our nation in the Executive Branch, for Congress, the 9/11 Commission. Several have been advising my campaign for some time, and Im also honored to be joined by those who were advising Senator Clintons campaign in the role of senior advisors.

In the months to come we expect to be reaching out to others Today were going to have a wide-ranging discussion about the national security challenges facing the United States. We are fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we continue to face grave threats not only from terrorism but also nuclear proliferation, climate change, and poverty and genocide and disease. Nearly all of these threats have grown over the last eight years because of the policies of George Bush which I believe have left us less safe and less respected in the world.

Theres going to be a clear choice in this election and John McCain wants to continue the Bush/Cheney foreign policy. I want to turn the page. Instead of adhering to a rigid ideology, I want to get back to the pragmatic tradition of American foreign policy which has been so ably advanced by the people in this room. Policy thats focused on using all elements of American power to protect our people and to advance our interests.

Yesterday Senator McCain showed yet again that the addition of continuing George Bushs policies is not where he offers similarities, hes also going to use the Bush/Cheney political playbook thats based on fear. He put a bunch of staunch Iraq war supporters on the phone to accuse me of having a pre-9/11 mindset.

I believe actually that Im very clear about the threats America faces as are the people sitting around this table and those who are on the phone and I think in fact its the failed policies of the Bush administration and the unwillingness to look towards the future that is causing us so many problems around the world.

So, after this discussion, we will reconvene, I look forward to maybe providing you a little more information in terms of how the meeting went and also how we expect to address some of those foreign policy issues in the future. So thank you guys.

Left to Right:

Greg Craig

Jim Steinberg

David Boren

Tony Lake

Lee Hamilton

Barack Obama

Madeline Albright

William Perry

Susan Rice

Tim Roemer

Richard Danzig

Phone:

Sam Nunn

Warren Christopher

Missing:

Eric Holder

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