Topic: Media Research Center
In an Aug. 7 TimesWatch item, Clay Waters claimed that a New York Times blog post "takes a rather hostile anti-Republican tone that portrays second-tier candidate Rep. Tom Tancredo as an extremist who has gone too far even for a party that likes to posture as tough," based on Tancredo's assertion that "the United States should reserve the right to bomb Islam's two holiest sites, Mecca and Medina, in retaliation for a major terrorist attack on American soil." Waters responded: "By contrast, when Democratic candidate Barack Obama suggested the United States invade an ally, Pakistan, to go after Al Qaeda, possibly destablizing a nuclear power, Jeff Zeleny's August 2 report didn't find anything controversial or gaffe-like."
First, Waters didn't give the full context of Obama's statement -- that when he "suggested the United States invade an ally, Pakistan, to go after Al Qaeda," he also said he would do so only if "we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and [Pakistani] President [Pervez] Musharraf won't act."
Second, perhaps Zeleny "didn't find anything controversial or gaffe-like" because major Republican presidential candidates hold the same position as Obama. As Media Matters notes, even though Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney attacked Obama for his statement regarding Pakistan, they agreed with its substance. Romney said, "Of course America always maintains our options to do whatever we think is in the best interests of America," while Giuliani said, "I would take that option if I thought there was no other way to crush Al Qaeda, no other way to crush the Taliban, and no other way to be able to capture bin Laden."