Tuesday, Apr. 28, 2009

Using Cuba and Chávez Against Obama

Day 90
April 19, 2009

"Release the prisoners, and we'll talk to you ... Put up or shut up."

Lindsey Graham, Republican Senator from South Carolina, discussing U.S. policy with Cuba on Fox News Sunday

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

President Obama, responding to the controversy over his handshake with Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez at the Summit of the Americas conference, in a presser before heading back to the U.S.

The Sunday talk-show circuit is ripe with discussion on U.S. policy toward Cuba while the President meets with leaders in Trinidad at the Summit of the Americas. Senator Graham dismisses Cuban President Raúl Castro's remarks that his country is willing to discuss human rights, freedom of the press and political prisoners — and warns Obama to be wary.

Republicans also seize on Obama's exchanges with Chávez at the summit to try to paint the President as weak and too eager to please the country's enemies. Obama later defends his interactions, saying he has "great differences" with Chávez but that too much shouldn't be read into the book gift.

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