An article in the NYT from May 10 “On McCain, Obama and a Hamas Link” has had a correction tacked on the end of it.
Correction: May 16, 2008 An article on Saturday about Senator John McCain’s criticism of Senator Barack Obama’s Middle East policy incompletely described Mr. Obama’s position on negotiating with the leaders of countries, including Iran, with which the United States currently has little contact. While Mr. Obama and his aides have indeed described various conditions and limitations on such negotiations, Mr. Obama himself, in a Democratic debate in July 2007, also said he would be willing "to meet separately, without precondition" with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea.
Well at least those who go looking for 6 day old news will be put in the picture.
In the article Susan E. Rice, who is a foreign policy adviser to Obama complained that, “Mr. McCain and his surrogates have repeatedly stated that Mr. Obama would be willing to meet “unconditionally” with Mr. Ahmadinejad. But Dr. Rice said that this was not the case for Iran or any other so-called “rogue” state. Mr. Obama believes “that engagement at the presidential level, at the appropriate time and with the appropriate preparation, can be used to leverage the change we need,” Dr. Rice said. “But nobody said he would initiate contacts at the presidential level; that requires due preparation and advance work.”
Obama actually refuted her statement in an interview with Jake Tapper, “You know Jake, I have to say I completely disagree that people have been walking back from anything. They may be correcting the characterizations or distortions of John McCain or others of what I said. What I said was I would meet with our adversaries including Iran, including Venezuela, including Cuba, including North Korea, without preconditions but that does not mean without preparation….there’s a huge difference.”
Michael Goldfarb makes the point: -
“First of all, I'm not clear on what the difference is between preconditions and preparations. I'm just a knuckle-dragging warmonger, and perhaps I don't perfectly understand the distinction, so someone will have to spell it out for me. Preparations sounds like scheduling, catering, and protocol, i.e. there is a huge difference, because preparations are meaningless. Unless, of course, the preparations consist of making sure A'jad doesn't blurt out something about wiping Israel off the map in the middle of the summit--but that sounds suspiciously like a precondition to me.”