STEPHANOPOULOS: Now, George, the White House believed, with his blunt talk that they believe the president had for all sides in the conflict, he especially broke through with young Muslims around the world, and set up this image of the United States as an honest broker in these conflicts. What was your reaction?
WILL: By stressing the fact that there has been a terrible misunderstanding on all sides, he says, he suggests that harmony is the natural condition between nations and that if we can just break through the misunderstandings things will go swimmingly.
I don't think there's a page of history that confirms that. It was good of him to say that Islam was not the problem. George Bush said that on September 17th, 2001. He said Islam is peace. And in some of his attempts it seems to me to placate Arab enemies of Israel, he went way over the line.
For example, comparing the Palestinians to slaves, cast the Israelis as enslavers. And when he said millions wait in refugee camps, he ignores the fact that there were -- estimates vary widely between 7 million and 20 million displaced people and refugees in Europe at the end of the Second World War, 10 years later there were none. Those camps are kept there for a propaganda reason.
TUCKER: Well, I didn't see the speech quite the same way that George did. I didn't think that the president was quite as naive suggesting that if our misunderstandings -- our misunderstandings are standing in the way of world peace. I didn't think he was that naive.
But let me just talk a moment about how effectively the president used his biography. It is, after all, just coincidence that an African-American with Muslim heritage has been elected the first black president of the United States.
But he used that extremely effectively. He talked about his Muslim grandfather. He talked about having spent part of his childhood in Indonesia. He talked about the Muslim call to prayer and how appealing that was to him in his childhood. And I think that helped to get the ear of the young Muslims that you were talking about earlier.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And I was in the room, and where he got the most palpable response was when he mentioned Koran, when he did cite those roots, but also in his pronunciation. The things like the holy Koran and Muslim, using the Muslim pronunciation really did work.
Matthew, some critics here at home have said the president took it too far. Chris Caldwell in the Financial Times calls it "the politics of self-abasement." That it was too placating. We've heard some say that this was an "apology tour," people citing especially the president acknowledging the United States' role in the overthrow of the Iranian government in 1953.
Any concern that he went too far and that could hurt him here at home?
DOWD: Well, I think, you know, some people have said, it's like, what is this, like a "hugs not terrorism" tour? Like let's all get together and hug and we'll think that's going to solve the problem.
I think it's better to have a conversation -- to begin the conversation. I think what the president understands is all of these conflicts that circulating around Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Middle East, all of it, is all part of one broader issue. And that is our relationship with the Muslim world and the Muslim world's relationship with us.