ABC Defends Obama's 'New World View,' Touts Supposed Successes

In the midst of conservative criticism that President Barack Obama, at the summit in Trinidad over the weekend joked around with Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and was uncritical of a 50-minute anti-American screed from Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega, ABC decided to defend Obama's foreign policy mettle -- with his only failure coming where he has followed Bush's policy. Martha Raddatz began by trying to undermine the pictures of a jovial Obama with Chavez: “Today, cell phone video images emerged of a stern and serious President Obama during a brief encounter with Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez. The image counters the cordial hand shake with Chavez who once called Mr. Obama an 'ignoramus' and George Bush 'a devil.'”

She noted that “it should not be a surprise that President Obama is reaching out to friend and foe after promising a stark change,” before she recited, interspersed with Obama soundbites, how in a mere 90 days “he has reached out to the Iranian people...Muslims worldwide...And the Russians.” She asked: “And where has all this gotten him?” Her one expert, former Chicago Sun-Times and New York Daily News executive James Hoge, who now runs Foreign Policy magazine, hailed Obama's approach: “I think he's doing it very sequentially, so that he's got a better chance of getting deals with people, getting some of the things we want to have done, done.”

Referring to Cuba, Raddatz then touted how “already there has been one concrete change,” though only in rhetoric, as she relayed how Obama's policy change has “prompted Cuban President Raul Castro to excitedly declare he would now talk about 'everything, everything, everything,'” She balanced that with a failure, where Obama has continued Bush's approach: “But President Obama has gotten nothing, nothing, nothing from his efforts with North Korea and his reaction to the recent missile launch echoes the Bush administration, stern words and a UN Security Council condemnation that have done little good.”

Of course, Obama has also gotten nothing, nothing, nothing from Cuba nor anything from any of the European nations he asked to help with troops in Afghanistan.

The story on the Monday, April 20 World News on ABC:
CHARLES GIBSON: The President has taken a number of steps in recent days to overhaul America's foreign policy. He said as a candidate he'd talk to America's enemies, a stark departure from the policy of his predecessor. And this weekend that new attitude was on display during a summit in Latin America. Martha Raddatz tonight on the new Obama foreign policy.

MARTHA RADDATZ: Today, cell phone video images emerged of a stern and serious President Obama during a brief encounter with Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez. The image counters the cordial hand shake with Chavez who once called Mr. Obama an “ignoramus” and George Bush “a devil.”

SENATOR JOHN ENSIGN (R-NV), ON CNN ON SUNDAY: You have to be careful who you're  seen joking around with and I think it was irresponsible of the President to be seen kind of laughing, joking with Hugo Chavez.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: It's unlikely that as a consequence of me shaking hands, or by having a polite conversation with Mr. Chavez, that we are endangering the strategic interests of the United States.

RADDATZ: It should not be a surprise that President Obama is reaching out to friend and foe after promising a stark change. In just the first 90 days, he has reached out to the Iranian people-

OBAMA, IN WEB VIDEO: You and all of your neighbors in the wider world can live in the greater security and greater peace.

RADDATZ: Muslims worldwide.

OBAMA, INAUGURAL ADDRESS: To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward.

RADDATZ, OVER VIDEO OF SECRETARY CLINTON LAUGHING WITH RUSSIA'S FOREIGN MINISTER: And the Russians. And where has all this gotten him?

JAMES HOGE, EDITOR OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS MAGAZINE: I think he's doing it very sequentially, so that he's got a better chance of getting deals with people, getting some of the things we want to have done, done.

RADDATZ: Already there has been one concrete change, Cuba. Lifting a half century of restrictions on Cuban-Americans, a move that prompted Cuban President Raul Castro to excitedly declare he would now talk about “everything, everything, everything”  with President Obama. But President Obama has gotten nothing, nothing, nothing from his efforts with North Korea and his reaction to the recent missile launch echoes the Bush administration, stern words and a UN Security Council condemnation that have done little good. And that is the problem with foreign policy, sometimes no matter how far you reach out, there's no one on the other end to take your hand.
(From 1984 to 1991 Hoge [Foreign Policy's bio for him] served as Publisher and President of the New York Daily News, following a long career -- 1958-1984 -- as a Washington correspondent, the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of the Chicago Sun-Times.)
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center