Obama Adviser Quits Over Hamas Talk
Mideast expert met with militant group for his job, not campaign
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 10, 2008 7:10 AM CDT
Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., speaks at a reception celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of Israel, Thursday, May 8, 2008, in Washington.    (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
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(Newser) – An informal Mideast policy adviser to the Barack Obama campaign has severed ties after critics made an issue of  meetings the adviser had with Hamas, the Times of London reports. The Obama campaign stressed that Robert Malley never had a formal role with them; Malley made it clear that his meetings with Hamas were part of his job with a conflict prevention group and had no connection to Obama.

"My job with the International Crisis Group is to meet with all sorts of savory and unsavory people and report on what they say," Malley told NBC. "I've never denied whom I meet with." Malley, who worked in the Clinton administration for more than 6 years, said he had decided to cut ties with the campaign to avoid becoming a distraction and providing more ammunition to John McCain, who has played up a statement from Hamas praising Obama.