Obama to Take Diplomatic Ace to Israel

Choice signals Democrat would take active role in Mideast
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 16, 2008 12:13 PM CDT
Barack Obama is scheduled to arrive in Israel next week.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
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(Newser) – In a move that should put voters at ease who are skeptical of his stance on Israel and Iran, Barack Obama has added Dennis Ross to his Middle East entourage, Massimo Calabresi writes in Time. The well-known diplomat was lead Israeli-Palestinian negotiator under Clinton and the first Bush, and his presence on the trip will be “reassuring” to Israelis and American Jews who have been skeptical of the Dem.

Since leaving government in 2000, Ross has led a hawkish Israel-minded think tank and been a foreign affairs analyst for Fox. Calabresi describes Obama's slow courtship of Ross, and quotes a former Clinton official who says that, while the diplomat may be helpful in the short term, “If Obama wants to embody something new…he’s going to need…a break from Clinton.”