Obama Stays Tactically Silent on Gaza

Leaves himself room to maneuver when he takes office
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 30, 2008 9:22 AM CST
In this July 23, 2008 file photo, then-US Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill, listens to Israel's President Shimon Peres, not seen, during a meeting in Jerusalem.    (AP Photo/Baz Ratner, Pool, File)
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(Newser) – As the violence mounts in Gaza, the vacationing Barack Obama has remained pointedly silent, resisting calls from both Jewish and Muslim groups to take a stand on the conflict. The White House and senior Democrats like Harry Reid have been less shy, expressing strong support for Israel, but Obama doesn’t want to say anything that will tie his hands when he takes office, observers tell the Washington Times.

David Axelrod hinted at his boss’s position Sunday, noting Obama’s July comments on the situation: “If somebody was sending rockets into my house … I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that.” But he avoided any concrete statements on the current crisis. “He may well believe that the Israelis are acting foolishly,” said one former State Department analyst. “This is a very messy situation for Obama. I would remain silent, too.”