Obama Pushback On the Drudge Photo Flap

Feb 25, 2008 6:33pm

ABC News’ Sunlen Miller and Steve Portnoy Report:

In a radio interview with WAOI in San Antonio, Sen. Barack Obama commented about the photo on the website Drudge Report showing him dressed in traditional Somali attire.

"Everybody knows that whether it’s me or Senator Clinton, or Bill Clinton, that when you travel to other countries they ask you to try on traditional garb that you have been given as a gift," he told WAOI, "The notion that the Clinton campaign would be trying to circulate this as a negative on the same day that Senator Clinton was giving a speech about how we repair our relationships around the world is sad. We are going to try to stay focused on what will make a difference in our foreign policy, including bringing the war in Iraq to an honorable end."

He noted that he believes Americans are saddened when they see "these kind of politics."

"The notion that they would try to use this to imply in some way that I’m foreign, I think is, you know, unfortunate," Obama later told Dallas/Ft. Worth radio station WBAP.

"These are the kinds of political tricks and silliness you start seeing at the end of campaigns," Obama said in an interview with the ABC Radio affiliate.

In addition, Obama campaign surrogates pushed back in a conference call this morning with reporters.

General Gration, one of Obama’s foreign policy advisors, was on the trip with Obama in 2006 to Kenya where he donned the garb.

"We try on Christmas gifts sometimes that we may not want to keep but we do it to be a grateful recipient," Gration explained, "Barack Obama did what any leader would do, accept the gift, hospitality and token of friendship."

Susan Rice, anther top advisor to the campaign, recalled that President Clinton had done the same thing in his administration and said this is "ironic" timing on the day that Senator Clinton gives a foreign policy speech.

Rice called the picture’s notoriety on Drudge to have the "very intention to be divisive," and says it promotes the idea that that the culture of other parties of the world are worthy of ridicule.

Both surrogates said they have yet to hear a denial from the Clinton campaign that they pushed this photo to Drudge.

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