Barack Obama accused rival Hillary Clinton of sounding like President Bush in her combative views on Iran.
“It’s not the language we need right now, and I think it’s language reflective of George Bush,” Obama said Sunday on the NBC-TV news program “Meet the Press.”
The Illinois senator, locked in a fierce battle for the Democratic presidential bid, was referring to Clinton saying the United States under her stewardship would “totally obliterate” Iran if it attacked Israel.
Obama went on to tell program host Tim Russert, “We have had a foreign policy of bluster and saber rattling and tough talk, and in the meantime have made a series strategic decisions that have actually strengthened Iran.”
Asked by Russert how he would respond to Iran, Obama said, “Israel is an ally of ours” and “There’s no doubt that we [would] act forcefully against Iran.”
Obama called Clinton’s suggestion that the U.S. expand its nuclear umbrella to other countries a “throwaway” line from one of their debates, and insisted that as president he would defend Israel after any attack, “nuclear or otherwise.”
Clinton on the ABC-TV news program “This Week” responded to Obama’s criticism by saying she had no regrets about her statements. The New York senator called Israel “our ally, a country that many of us have a great deal of, you know, connection with and feeling for, for all kinds of reasons.”
In an interview April 21, Clinton had said, “I want the Iranians to know that if I’m the president, we will attack Iran. In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them.”
Iran’s deputy U.N. ambassador criticized those remarks Wednesday, calling them “provocative, unwarranted and irresponsible.”