Clinton takes swipes at Obama in SMPA

Posted Monday, Feb. 25, 2:11 p.m., Updated 2:56 p.m.

Presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) laid out her foreign policy vision in Jack Morton Auditorium today, stressing her experience in international issues and declaring she would not hesitate to deploy “both the olive branch and the arrows.”

Gen. Wesley Clark (Retired) and former Secretary of the Army Togo West joined Clinton in the School of Media and Public Affairs. Two officials in attendance, Major General Antonio M. Taguba and Brigadier General John M. Watkins, formally announced their endorsements of Clinton Monday.

In her speech, Clinton reiterated campaign promises to denounce President George W. Bush’s style of foreign policy.

“On my first day in office. I will announce that the era of cowboy diplomacy is over,” Clinton said.

Flanked by military officials, Clinton emphasized the seriousness of the problems the world is facing – such as global warming, terrorism and the economic threat posed by China – and stuck with her campaign theme of being the most experienced candidate.

“We play by the rules and they manipulate their currency,” Clinton said of China while attacking Bush for being too lenient. “We get tainted fish and lead laced toys and poisoned pet food in return. That will change when I am in the White House.”

Although much of her speech was focused on reversing course from Bush, Clinton took a few swipes at her rival for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

“The American people don’t have to guess whether I understand the issues or whether I’d have to rely on a foreign policy handbook,” she said.

Clinton also indirectly criticized Obama for agreeing to meet with foreign leaders without preconditions, saying she will “not pencil in” the leaders of Iran, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea until the ambitions of their leaders are assessed.

“It may sound good but it doesn’t meet the real-world test of foreign policy,” she said.

Despite the crowd of media at the event, several blogs noted afterward that no major network covered the speech live.

Diane Knapp, wife of University President Steven Knapp, and John Williams, provost and vice president of health affairs, greeted Clinton backstage.

Clark introduced Clinton and vouched for the significance of her foreign policy experience based on his interactions with her in the 1990’s while he was the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO.

While introducing Clark, Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony Brown called Clinton “someone who has walked the walk, in addition to talking the talk.”

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