Obama promised to "open a new chapter" in US-Spanish relations, and said he would work with Spain on issues like preventing terrorism and climate change.
He promised closer ties to Spain, saying, "As someone who did not support our initial invasion of Iraq, I am not in the same position as the Bush administration." Obama added that Bush "judges his allies on whether they support his agenda or not," and promised a "different attitude toward foreign policy, with energetic diplomacy with the international community."
Said Obama, "Spain has always been one of the United States's strongest allies, and we want to make sure that we will be able to continue working on the issues that are important for both countries." He stated that his Latin American policy would be "guided by dialogue," and that he was willing to talk with every country, including Cuba and Venezuela.
He declared, "Obviously, it will be necessary to complete a series of steps before having any serious diplomatic conversations." Obama volunteered to take the first step toward Cuba; in order to show his "good faith," he will relax restrictions on US residents sending money to and going to visit their relatives in Cuba. Before talking to Chavez, he said, the Venezuela-FARC connection needs to be "uncovered."
Obama concluded by stating his position on illegal immigration: "I believe it is important that we have solid border security and that we penalize businesses that intentionally hire undocumented workers, but I also think we need to find a way toward citizenship for those who have no papers."
All this might sound good in Spain but it's not going to play in Peoria or convince the little old lady in Dubuque.
Says Charles Krauthammer:
Before the Democratic debate of July 23, Barack Obama had never expounded upon the wisdom of meeting, without precondition, with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Bashar al-Assad, Hugo Chavez, Kim Jong Il or the Castro brothers. But in that debate, he was asked about doing exactly that. Unprepared, he said sure -- then got fancy, declaring the Bush administration's refusal to do so not just "ridiculous" but "a disgrace."
After that, there was no going back. So he doubled down. What started as a gaffe became policy. By now, it has become doctrine. Yet it remains today what it was on the day he blurted it out: an absurdity.