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Republican Strategist Kate Obenshain Twists Into A Pretzel Trying To Evade Colmes’ Question, Whether Iran Has Become More Of A Threat Since The Iraq War

Reported by Ellen - June 22, 2008 -

On Friday night’s (6/20/08) Hannity & Colmes, there was a discussion about “rising tensions with Iran” and Israel’s military exercise “that may have been a preparation for an airstrike against Iranian nuclear facilities.” Two of FOX News’ regular chickenhawks were on hand, substitute co-host Rich Lowry and Republican strategist Kate Obenshain. Each argued that the U.S. should be tougher on Iran, though neither mentioned anything about suiting up for the effort. When Alan Colmes asked Obenshain whether Iran wasn’t less of a threat before the Iraq war, she squirmed every which way but loose from the question. With video.

Chris Kofinis, the Democratic guest, did an excellent job in the discussion. “This is a dramatic failure of the Bush administration and a dramatic failure of a policy that hasn’t worked,” he told Lowry. “When Bush came into office, Iran had zero centrifuges. Since he’s been in office over the last 8 years, they now have 3000. They’ve moved closer and closer to a nuclear weapons program. So what Senator Obama wants is to take the country in a new direction for foreign policy. That doesn’t mean when you talk, you capitulate. That doesn’t mean when you talk, you make deals. That means you can talk tough.”

Lowry said that he agreed that the Bush administration policy has failed, but that it’s because they have not been tough enough. Not that Lowry has ever put his fanny in a military uniform on the hard line he espouses.

In an attempt to snare Kofinis and, by proxy, Obama (for opposing the surge in Iraq), Lowry asked, “Is Al Qaeda winning in Iraq or is Al Qaeda now losing Iraq?” By the way, Lowry seems to be young enough to enlist in the war he professes to support so strongly.

Kofinis answered wisely, “Rich, did we go to war in Iraq to fight Al Qaeda? Al Qaeda wasn’t there... The goal of our foreign policy should not be to go in and basically divide two warring parties in a civil war.”

When it was Colmes’ turn. He asked Obenshain, “Kate, wasn’t Iran much better contained before the Iraq war?” Comment: Colmes is correct. Check out this September, 2007 article by Peter Galbraith called, Mission Accomplished -- For Iran, in which Galbraith writes, “Four years (after Bush declared ‘Mission Accomplished’), Iran holds a much stronger hand while the mismanagement of the Iraq occupation has made the U.S. position incomparably weaker.”

Obenshain cackled in her mean-spirited way. Thinking she was going to substitute one of her barbs for a substantive answer, she began, “This just cracks me up that liberals are actually suggesting... Iran would be this loving, peaceful country.”

“You’re not answering my question, Kate,” Colmes said and he never let her off the hook.

Obenshain squawked and sputtered in her squeaky voice for a full minute. She said, “The real point here is that Barack Obama has made clear that he does want to shift policy. He wants to grant Constitutional rights to terrrorists.”

“You’re avoiding my question,” Colmes rightly told her. “Iran was contained, it was contained by Saddam Hussein.”

Obenshain finally claimed that her answer was no, “Saddam Hussein was not providing an acceptable buffer.”

By the way Obenshain is also still young enough to enlist and put her tooshie where her mouth is, too. But I’m not holding my breath that either she or Lowry will ever put a single one of their well-coiffed hairs on the line.

Turning to Kofinis, Colmes said, “The fact of the matter, Chris, is that we have a more porous border with Iran, we have more infiltration because of what happened in Iraq, we have Iran... Iran’s being accused of sneaking into Iraq and supporting those who want to kill us. That wasn’t happening when Saddam Hussein was in power before we invaded that country.”

Kofinis replied, “The part that I find stunning is if you look at all the independent analysis, there are more terrorists than there were before 9/11. The threat of terrorism has grown, it has not dissipated. The violence in Iraq may have stabilized but the factions, the divisions, and the political problems still persist. This has been an unmitigated failure and that’s why we need to go in a new direction. That’s why John McCain’s policies just don’t make sense.”

Obenshain screeched, “Let’s put our head in the sand and ignore the nuclear threat of Iran and just pretend like if we talk to them, we can all be one big happy family.”

“No, let’s be smart about it and not continue eight years of failure,” Kofinis said.

It was telling that while Colmes and Kofinis cited concrete examples and statistics, Obenshain only had poisonous platitudes.