Via RedState, I learned Tim Russert put some of the ongoing Harry Belafonte hate gibberish against our "terrorist" president in front of Sen. Barack Obama yesterday on Meet The Press. Obama tried several times to be a gentle distancer: I wouldn't say it that way, but this man has a very valid concern. The second time around, he also tried the lame "it's a free country" line, as in "free to stand next to socialist agitators and run down the free country you live in."
MR. RUSSERT: Let’s talk a little bit about the language people are using in the politics now of 2006, and I refer you to some comments that Harry Belafonte made yesterday. He said that Homeland Security had become the new Gestapo. What do you think of that?
SEN. OBAMA: You know, I never use Nazi analogies, because I think those were unique, and I think, you know, we have to be careful in using historical analogies like this. I think people are rightly concerned that we strike the right balance between our concerns for civil liberties and the uniform concern that all of us have about protecting ourselves from terrorism.
MR. RUSSERT: Mr. Belafonte went to Venezuela, as you well know, some time ago and met with Hugo Chavez, leader of that country, and said some things that obviously were noted in this country and around the world. Let’s listen, and come back and talk about it.
Mr. HARRY BELAFONTE: And no matter what the greatest tyrant in the world, the greatest terrorist in the world, George W. Bush, says, we’re here to tell you not hundreds, not thousands, but millions of the American people, millions, support your revolution, support your ideas, and we are expressing our solidarity with you.
MR. RUSSERT: Is it appropriate to call the President of the United States the greatest terrorist in the world?
SEN. OBAMA: I don’t think it’s appropriate. That’s not language that I would use. But keep in mind that, you know, one of the great things about the United States is all of our citizens have the right to, you know, speak our minds about what’s going on politically.
What I do think we have to focus on is—in the context of the Middle East and Iraq, Iran—is the fact that we are at a very delicate time right now, which requires not just military might, but also diplomacy. And there’ve been times where we have not used all the tools in our tool kit. There’s been a tendency on this part of this administration to talk tough, to act first and plan later...
All in all, Obama wants all of Belafonte's fans to vote for him, he wants all the national support of the MoveOn withdraw-now crowd, and yet he wants to be hailed by the liberal media as the essence of "purple" centrist politics. Kudos to Russert for putting these remarks in front of Obama to see how he would react.