Obama Plans Mideast Diplomatic Offensive

President-elect plans to tackle Gaza crisis from first day in Oval Office
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2009 4:44 AM CST
Demonstrators calling for peace in Gaza gather for a rally across the street from President-elect Barack Obama's hotel, upper left, in Washington, earlier this week.   (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama will launch a diplomatic offensive to tackle the Gaza crisis and other troubles in the Mideast his very first day in office, he tells USA Today. He plans a more cohesive approach to the region than President Bush, and may appoint special envoys. The challenges in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and between Palestinians and Israelis won't be "solved in isolation," he declared.

Obama bristled at Bush's suggestion that he might rethink his opposition to controversial anti-terror tactics once he takes power. "I don't make these decisions blindly," said Obama, stressing that he has received the same security briefings as Bush since he won the election. "We're not leaping before we look here. I understand exactly what issues are at stake," he said.