Sen. Lieberman Criticizes Obama

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This is a rush transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," May 20, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Barack Obama, meanwhile, continued to pound the Iran issue today on the campaign trail. But it is something he said here on FOX that caught our attention.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And the fact that we have not talked to them means that they have been developing nuclear weapons, funding Hamas, funding Hezbollah. We have had no impact whatsoever.


CAVUTO: All right. Here's what got us wondering. Iran developed nukes because we didn't talk to them, funded Hamas and Hezbollah because we didn't talk to them? Is blaming America a sound foreign policy?

With us now, Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman.

Senator, always good to have you.

Video: Watch the interview

SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (I), CONNECTICUT: Good to be with you, Neil. That was a very astute comment you just made.

CAVUTO: What do you make of that?

LIBERMAN: Well, that was just off. You know, I think Senator Obama said something in the debates, that he would meet with Ahmadinejad, Kim Jong Il, Chavez, Castro without any preconditions.

Most of the other Democrats on the stage, including Senator Clinton, criticized him for it. And, yet, he still sticks to it. And, of course, what you just played me — Iran is not developing nuclear weapons because America won't talk to them. They're not supporting Hamas, Hezbollah and everybody else — the Shia extremists who are killing American soldiers in Iraq — because we won't talk to them.

They're doing it because they're controlled by a fanatical regime that wants to dominate the Middle East. And, if we think that — anybody thinks you can go over there and sort of talk reason, and hug and kiss Ahmadinejad, and he's going to — he's just going to act better, that's just naive.

You know, the fact is, people have tried to talk to them. The Europeans talked to them for more than two years to try to get them, make a deal to stop their nuclear weapons program, and it produced zero results. So, it's very naive of Senator Obama to...

CAVUTO: And you also pointed out, Senator, in a great column today, that it is also very apart and a great departure from the Democratic policy in the past — I think you alluded to Harry Truman and John Kennedy — that would never approach anything like this policy.

LIBERMAN: No way. And that's what pains me as a Democrat and why I'm supporting John McCain, because I know he understands the world.

He's — John McCain is closer to Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy and, I would say, Bill Clinton in foreign and defense policy than Senator Obama has been in this campaign, because you have got to — you have got to run your foreign policy — of course you — you believe in diplomacy. If there's any value to be had, mutual benefit from talking to a hostile nation, of course — of course you do it.

But you don't, without condition, go to a tyrant and a killer. And I say Ahmadinejad is a killer because the Iranians have trained and equipped extremists who have killed hundreds of American soldiers.

If you just go and sit and talk with him, all you're doing is showing American weakness, raising their credibility, and compromising our allies in the Middle East, for instance, not just Israel — Israel, of course — but all the Arab countries want to see us act strong against Iran, because they're afraid of Iran.

And if he just goes and talks to them, I think they're going to begin to worry about America's strength in the world, and the whole world will worry about it.

CAVUTO: Senator Lieberman, always good having you on. Thank you for joining us.

LIBERMAN: Thank you, Neil. Good to be with you.

CAVUTO: All right.

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