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U.S. Politics
Australian PM's Obama-Bashing Prompts Firesto
Howard: Iraqi Terrorists Surely Rooting for Obama to Become President
02/11/2007 11:18 AM ET
Howard, Bush Meeting May 16, 2006
White House photo
Howard, Bush Meeting May 16, 2006
Australian Prime Minister John Howard, a staunch ally of President Bush, has prompted an outcry in Australia and the US after suggesting Iraqi terrorists are rooting for Democratic Senator Barrack Obama to be elected the next US president.

Howard denounced Obama's call for a US military withdrawal from Iraq by March 2008 and said he (Howard) hoped Obama would not become US president.

Choice Howard quotes:
-- "If I were running al-Qa'ida in Iraq, I would put a circle around March 2008 and be praying as many times as possible for a victory not only for Obama but also for the Democrats."
-- "I think that (March 2008 withdrawal deadline) would just encourage those who wanted completely to destabilise and destroy Iraq, and create chaos and victory for the terrorists to hang on and hope for an Obama victory."
-- "If they think the next President of the US is going to pull out early in 2008, they will hang on and they will live for the day that that happens because they know then they will have won," he said.
-- "I hope Mr Obama does not become President of the US."
-- "I hope the next President of the US, and I don't know who he or she may be, has a more responsible attitude towards terrorism than that."

In Australia, opposition lader Kevin Rudd labeled Howard's comments "short-sighted and irresponsible" and called on Howard to withdraw the remarks. Rudd added:

"The Prime Minister's partisan attack on Mr Obama and the Democratic Party risks the strength of the US alliance. Mr Howard must not allow his personal relationship with President Bush to impact on Australia's long-term alliance relationship with the US"

Howard's comments have the blogosphere in the US abuzz.


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