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Kristol: Obama Would Have Opposed Lincoln on Slavery in 1858

Reported by Judy - February 11, 2007 -

Bill Kristol, a knee-jerk right-winger who masquerades as an intellectual, claimed Sunday (February 11, 2007) that Sen. Barack Obama and Abraham Lincoln would have been on the opposite side of issues such as slavery and the need for Civil War in 1858. With video.

Speaking on "Fox News Sunday," Kristol was comparing Obama, who announced his candidacy on the steps of the site of Lincoln's 1858 "House Divided" speech in Springfield, Illinois, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani on their ability to fight terrorism.

Kristol portrayed Obama as unwilling to take on the issue of slavery with a civil war.

He said: "We're electing a war president in 2008. If I can come back to Obama and Lincoln for just one second. Lincoln's 'House Divided' speech in 1858 was a speech saying we cannot live as a house divided on slavery and he implicitly says we'll have to fight a civil war if necessary on this.

"Obama's speech is a 'Can't we all get along?' speech, sort of the opposite of Lincoln. He would have been with Stephen Douglas in 1858. Let's paper over these differences, rise above politics, and all get along. That's not Giuliani's mode. And I think in a war context, social conservatives want to win the war against Islamic jihadism."

Juan Williams, of National Public Radio, did not pick up on Kristol's slam of the African-American candidate as someone who would have been too wimpy to oppose slavery in the ante-bellum U.S. Instead, he took issue with Kristol's claim that social conservatives would overlook Giuliani's positions on abortion and gay rights and his three marriages and support him for the GOP nomination based on the fact that he was mayor of New York on 9/11.

How should Obama respond to this slam? Unlike the phony madrassa story that "Fox and Friends" peddled a few weeks ago, Kristol's remark is hypothetical -- If Obama had been alive in 1858, this is what he would have thought. It is also irrelevant and not particularly apt. And it is totally presumptious for Kristol to believe he can read Obama's mind on the issue.