From the Fact Check Desk: Did Obama Say Iran Is a ‘Tiny’ Country That ‘Doesn’t Pose a Serious Threat’?

By Natalie Gewargis

Aug 27, 2008 11:13am

We, in the media, have given a lot of airtime to the TV ads of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., this week, starring, as they do, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.

There’s been evidence emerging that McCain’s campaign isn’t really running these ads anywhere, according to the Campaign Media Analysis Group.

"These were basically video press releases," CMAG’s Evan Tracey tells the Wall Street Journal.

OK, so that’s kind of dishonest of the McCain campaign.

Today’s new McCain ad — "Tiny," which you can watch HERE — crosses a new line into dishonesty, however, beyond whether or not it’s actually airing anywhere.

The script reads: "Iran. Radical Islamic government. Known sponsors of terrorism. Developing nuclear capabilities to ‘generate power’ but threatening to eliminate Israel.

"Obama says Iran is a ‘tiny’ country, ‘doesn’t pose a serious threat,’" the ad continues. "Terrorism, destroying Israel, those aren’t ‘serious threats’? Obama — dangerously unprepared to be president."

This is a dishonest representation of Obama’s words.

On May 18, in Pendelton, Ore., Obama said that "strong countries and strong presidents talk to their adversaries. That’s what Kennedy did with Khrushchev. That’s what Reagan did with Gorbachev. That’s what Nixon did with Mao. I mean, think about it. Iran, Cuba, Venezuela — these countries are tiny, compared to the Soviet Union. They don’t pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us. And yet, we were willing to talk to the Soviet Union at the time when they were saying, ‘We’re going to wipe you off the planet.’

"And ultimately, that direct engagement led to a series of measures that helped prevent nuclear war, and over time, allowed the kind of opening that brought down the Berlin Wall," Obama continued. "Now, that has to be the kind of approach that we take. You know, Iran, they spend one-one hundredth of what we spend on the military. If Iran ever tried to pose a serious threat to us, they wouldn’t stand a chance. And we should use that position of strength that we have, to be bold enough to go ahead and listen. That doesn’t mean we agree with them on everything. We might not compromise on any issues, but at least we should find out other areas of potential common interest, and we can reduce some of the tensions that has caused us so many problems around the world."

Watch HERE.

That is not even close to Obama saying Iran is a "tiny" country that "doesn’t pose a serious threat."

Not even close.

- jpt

UPDATE: The McCain campaign says it is, indeed, running the ads, and sends THIS YOUTUBE LINK as proof. They say CMAG is wrong.

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