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Thursday
Feb032011

Obama, Clinton Fail to Answer 3:00 AM Call

As the revolution in Egypt takes a decidedly nasty turn, Project 21 member Kevin Martin is not giving high marks to the efforts of the Obama Administration to try to make any sense or find any solution to the powder keg in the Middle East that could dramatically affect our nation and define Obama’s presidency.

It recalls a prophetic ad from the 2008 elections.

Here is Kevin’s assessment of the crisis:

Remember Hillary Clinton’s “3:00 AM phone call” ad from the 2008 presidential campaign?  The notion was that Barack Obama wouldn’t know what to do in a real crisis.  Obama is now President, Clinton is the Secretary of State, the phone is ringing and no one seems to want to answer it and face the crisis it heralds.

This scenario offered in the ominous ad is now a reality as the Middle East — Egypt, in particular — erupts with populist uprisings.  As people took to the streets of Cairo and other cities to demand the ouster of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, the Obama Administration seemed frozen like a deer in headlights.  Shadi Hamid of the Brookings Institution last week called the White House response “disappointing,” and said it “may prove to be the perfect example of ‘too little, too late.’”  Day after day, Obama and his advisors continue to approach the crisis flat-footed as the Egyptian revolution unfolds before the world.  Even Clinton, who implied with that 2008 ad that she was made of sterner stuff, apparently could not get a handle on the situation either.

Now Mubarak, who pledged he would leave, is reportedly employing mobs in an effort to hold onto power.  American journalists are being attacked in the streets — in some cases apparently only due to the fact that they are American.  From Hillary Clinton — just a strongly worded statement.  Not even a threat of a suspending aid or a change in our diplomatic relationship.  And now there are rumors that intelligence estimates about increasing Egyptian unrest may have been ignored or misinterpreted by the White House.

It is all too clear that Obama flunked his response to the latest and most important international crisis to challenge his administration.  When the phone rings at 3:00 AM, America needs a President who has a clear and coherent message — not just gibberish and late-to-the-game diplomacy.

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