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April 20th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Pres. Obama's appearance with Chavez 'irresponsible'?

ALT TEXT

Venezuelan Pres. Hugo Chavez gives Pres. Obama a book entitled 'The Open Veins of Latin America' during a multilateral meeting to begin during the Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, Trinidad. (PHOTO CREDIT: JIM WATSON/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It was "irresponsible" for President Barack Obama to be seen "laughing and joking" with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez - so says Republican Senator John Ensign.

The Nevada lawmaker describes Chavez as a brutal dictator who violates human rights; and is one of the most anti-American leaders in the world. Chavez once called President George Bush the "devil" and last month dismissed President Obama as an "ignoramus."

Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar defended the president, saying all he did was shake hands like President Bush did; and that Mr. Obama is reaching out effectively to a wide range of countries.

At the Summit of Americas, President Obama and Chavez were photographed smiling and shaking hands. The Venezuelan president also gave Mr. Obama a copy of a book that talks about imperialism in the region.

President Obama says it's unlikely that by shaking hands or having a polite conversation with Chavez that "we are endangering the strategic interests" of the U.S. Our president says we have nothing to fear from Venezuela, whose defense budget is probably 1/600 that of the U.S.

And he went even further, suggesting that the presidential campaign proved that Americans want the president to engage with other world leaders - whether they're friends or enemies. He says Americans don't view a willingness to talk to other countries as a weakness.

Meanwhile Chavez now seems open to re-evaluating his nation's ties with the U.S. He's considering appointing an ambassador to Washington. Both the U.S. and Venezuela had kicked out each other's ambassadors last year.

Here's my question to you: One GOP senator calls Pres. Obama's appearance with Hugo Chavez "irresponsible". Do you agree?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Lane writes:
It's never irresponsible to forge ahead and make your friends trust you and your enemies to listen to you. Olive branches are cheaper than warships.

Rob writes:
Irresponsible doesn't even start to describe Pres. Obama's actions with this thug. Our current administration will give away our country. Wake up, Americans.

Audrey writes:
Jack, It's no different than going into your office every day knowing you hate your boss, but you smile, shake hands, kiss butt... you get the idea. President Obama is showing that he is the bigger person and is not lowering himself to Chavez's level. Chavez is an idiot!

Pete from New York writes:
Politeness is one thing, a love-fest is another. Remember this guy is trying to crush democracy in Venezuela. Freedom of the press and media are on the way out. Opponents are hiding in fear of their lives and Obama is acting like he is just another guy he met at a barbecue.

Tony writes:
Obama shook Chavez's hand, smiled with him and accepted a book from him. And guess what? It worked almost immediately to improve relations. Chavez walked over to Secretary Clinton and told her he was ready to restore diplomatic relationship. Irresponsible? Ha. This is pure genius!

Mike from Denver writes:
I believe the correct term is "common courtesy." You do not have to like someone to be polite and shake hands. This is a lesson many forget to teach their children.

Claire writes:
Uh, no. Distasteful to some, including myself, but necessary. We can't continue giving the finger to everyone we disagree with.


Filed under: President Barack Obama
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Mike S., New Orleans

    Is it irresponsible for a world leader to communicate with friends and foes alike? No. It's called leadership, something we haven't had in years. You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  2. William Courtland

    It is almost like some American's want tensions with Venuzuela so your nation can gain control of the oil resources found there... but then why else would the world need such tensions with Iran either? Threaten the soveriegnty of a nation with the threat of boycott and conflict: and expect the response to be the need to protect their way of life with nuclear poliferation.

    Creating such tensions for any goal is the real terrorism: it a global scourge that has cause war and stress in the past. A goal purchased by the dessimation of another: is highly pyrrhic to the societies which exist in the aftermath.

    The world is in a state: America is the first in weaponry: yet the advancements in such armorment will be spawned of the need to put down a dominate and tyrranical World leader: America needs to lead with morality: not conflict.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  3. Maria

    Wow...so what so republicans want...do they want him to do what they did for the last 8 years...nothing...we now have a president who understands that those actions or really lack of don't work.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  4. docb

    Who would that put# be...Irresponsible is shutting out the world...when they do not do what we want...

    Chevaz was disarmed by Obama – just like the rest of the leaders...Even 'little' Sarkozy was off guard....We elected a winner! and a great poker player!

    April 20, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  5. Steve, Clifton,VA

    Once the U.S has decided as a country to attend a Summit such as the the Summit of the Americas, it seems to me that It would be irresponsible for President Obama, as the leader of the free world, to refuse to shake the hands of a leader from another country at a Summit to discuss regional solutions to issues of mutual concern. To behave as a seasoned statesman in a way which reflects positively on the United States is the responsible thing to do . It certainly is better than a President that looks into the Russian Presidents eyes (Putin) and states that he sees a good heart shortly before Putin turns the screws to the US.......

    Steve
    Clifton,VA

    April 20, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  6. kfriedak

    People have got to get a grip! Obama is not "smiling and joking" with Chavez...Take a close look! Obama is being a statesman while also being wise..He has to be diplomatic, unlike our last administration.THAT'S WHY WE ELECTED HIM! Stop the politics, finally, already!
    Karen K

    April 20, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  7. dave

    It was irresponsible the pass 8 years it's time for a fresh look.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  8. Jack

    I thank God everyday that we have a man like Obama reversing the last years of disasterous foreign policy. He makes me so proud. Facing foreign leaders head on, with courage and grace. This is a leader we can look up to

    April 20, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  9. TC Woodley Toronto

    Would President Obama have put forth a better image if he stood up and slapped Hugo Chavez? I believe he showed piety and diplomacy. When he shook hands with Hugo Chavez President Obama showed he was not speaking hollow words when he said: "I will shake your hand, if you unclench your fist."

    April 20, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  10. Don (Ottawa)

    All I can say is, is it responsible to ignore people your predicessor didn't like? Bush had a reputation of not talking to leaders considered to be against us, or countries he deemed to be evil. This kind of arrogance is equivalent to that of a spoiled child who walks off in a huff if he doesn't get his way. Such an attitude in itself is not a way to win friends and influence people. Cudos to Obama for being polite.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  11. Sharon Zingery

    It is old school to act as if the USA has the ultimate authority 'to give' credence to the President of another country. We have spent 8 years proving that the lack of conversation fixes nothing and gives more power to those who oppose us. It only hurts the US to attack our President's policy of talking with the heads of countries, that can either help or hurt. rather than cementing old and dysfunctional policies.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  12. dilibon, NY

    Irresponsible? Waow! No wonder the rest of the world is giving us books to read. Either such opinions are dictated by ignorance or pure belief in the publicized propaganda. Chavez may not be the best choice I would have made for the people of Venezuela, but who am I to dictate to a free and self ruled people who they should select as their leader. Time and time again he won on all domestic elections. He has shown anger and disgust to past American leaders since in so many occasions they have tried to topple him with coups d'etat and other form of dictates. Now Obama who is preaching a high class diplomatic approach, away from the crass and limited view of past administrations, could not ignore a hand tend in friendship! President Obama is the best thing that could happen to America!

    April 20, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  13. Mike – Denver, CO

    I believe the correct term is "common courtesy". You do not have to like someone to be polite and shake hands. This is a lesson many forget to teach their children.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  14. peteinny

    Politeness is one thing- a love fest is another. Remember this guy is trying to crush democracy in Venezuaela. Freedom of the press and media are on the way out. Opponents are hiding in fear of their lives and Obama is acting like he is just another guy he met at a barbeque.

    Irresponsible yes.. Obama could have taken a more low key approach if he only wanted to improve relations but then what he is really interested in is adulation

    April 20, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  15. jim Toronto

    It shows responsibility not irresponsibility.
    It shows respect not arrogance.
    it shows leadership not bullying....
    All of the latter was what the Bush administration was all about.
    Irresponsiblilty, arrogance, and bullying, and alot more adjectives that can't be repeated.
    So why is everybody so upset by what Chavez does and has been saying about Bush and his administration. He says it like it is?
    Bush is a 'Diablo',

    April 20, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  16. mari ichaso

    Yes, he allowed himself be bullied by a blatant enemy of the USA.

    Obama missed a great opportunity in Trinidad and the usual enemies of the United States as Daniel Ortega from Nicaragua- beat him up with an hour long rabidly anti/american speech -and he did not defend us an iota and just said he was not born when all those things happened!.

    Very embarassing

    Mari Ichaso

    April 20, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  17. Barbara In Sullivan ,Ohio

    President Hugo Chavez came to Our President Barack Obama & put his had forward. Not the other way around -& if our President refused to shake his hand–I WOULD SAYTHAT WOULD BE IRRESPONSIBLE !

    April 20, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  18. Enver from NH

    Actually, It is irrisponsible and risky to make enemies. This is what these Cheney Republicans are doing. President Obama has set the right course for our country, both domestically and internationally. I don't think we have much to fear with him at the helm.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  19. David Reichard

    If Senator Ensign thinks openess and shaking someone's hand can compromise America's security, then he must think that security is based on a very tenuous foundation. If that's what he thinks, he should blame the last eight years and go hide in a hole somewhere.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  20. felicia

    We got rid of our idiot, now it's time for Iran to get rid of their's.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  21. Jon Gill,philadelphia

    But it waas ok for Bush to be holding hands with the Saudi leader. Saudia Arabia is not a bad country?

    April 20, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  22. Ken in NC

    OK Jack, let me get this straight. President Reagan, a REPUBLICAN, had his picture taken with the Russian leader and they were smiling and that was OK. President Nixon, a REPUBLICAN, had his picture taken with the leader of China and he was smiling and that was OK too but the nation is going to the dogs when a BLACK DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENT does the same thing. OK I get it Jack. I do not agree with the GOP statement, however, there are several GOP members with whom my appearance would be irresponsible.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  23. Nancy, Tennessee

    President Chavez lashed out at former President Bush because of the Administrations policies. He thought that it was going to be more of the same from President Obama. It looks like he is willing to see if relations with the United States can be civil after Pres. Obama offered to shake his hand and recognize him as the leader of Venezuela. It's all about respect. The "handshake" symbolized our determination to improve the image of the United States around the world.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  24. Ann from Charleston S.C.

    I don't think the President was behaving irresponsibly. He was behaving like an adult.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  25. Jamie

    I think President Obama's appearance with another enemy of the U.S., one Mr. John Boehner, is far more reprehensible than him shaking hands with Chavez. Why isn't anyone complaining about that?

    April 20, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  26. Bob, Sonoma, CA

    It would have been irresponsible if Obama gave Chavez a big right hook! Let time tell us who the ignoramus is.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  27. Tara Wright - Forest City, NC

    Let's see.....George W. Bush walked hand in and with the Saudi leader when he visited the White House and that was okay, but Barack Obama bows to a Saudi prince or shakes the hand of the Venezuelan president and he is somehow crossing a line? No, of course not. He's doing more to repair the damage done to our foreign relations than any president in history. Bush claimed to keep us safe, but only succeeded in creating enemies. In three short months, Obama has almost undone all of Bush's damage. Enough with the scare tactics. We're lucky to have someone so capable at the helm.

    Tara Wright
    Forest City, NC

    April 20, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  28. kathy rollins oklahoma

    I think obama did fine in his contacts with chavez – it no way endangered us.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  29. nick in wv

    So what President Obama shook Chaves hand, or that he bowed to the saudi leader. It does no harm to be polite when in another leaders presence, and does anybody remember the old saying “keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.”

    April 20, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  30. robert gantt

    even mohammed ali shook hands with joe frasier before he knocked him silly......

    April 20, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  31. David Soares

    I think he did the right thing–whether we like it or not-the rest of the world does exist.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  32. real talk

    Obama shook Chavez's hand, smiled with him and accepted a book from him. And guess what? It worked almost immediately to improve relations. Chavez walked over to Secretary Clinton and told her he was ready to restore diplomatic relationship. Irresponsible? Ha. This is pure genius! Imagine if Obama had done more!

    April 20, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  33. Sheree

    If we do not reach out to our enemies then how do we solve our differences? What is irresponsible is the bad loser attitudes of the Republicans.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  34. Marilyn from Florida

    Chavez treated Obama with more respect than he ever treated George Bush. He was like the class bad boy trying to make a good impression on the new teacher. That's a good thing.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  35. Nancy in North Bay, Ontario

    What would John Ensign have President Obama do, SPIT on Mr. Chavez?

    April 20, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  36. stormerF

    As long as you are trying to attract flies ,use honey,shake hands with a snake and you take your chances.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  37. gwen caranchini

    I believe Teddy Roosevelt said "Walk softly, and carry a big stick." I think that is the message Obama is sending when he comments that Venezuela has 1/600th of our defense budget–or is that too subtle for the republicans? We have not had enough "honey" the last few years–and perhaps its time we tried something different!

    April 20, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  38. lw

    I see more republicans on CNN than I see supporters of the POTUS. It seems that CNN thrives on pitting Americans against each other, it this isn't so, then why is it that I can hardly watch CNN anymore. CNN seems to have every republican and their phone numbers at their finger tip.
    CNN, if all I wanted was republican dogma, then I could easily switch to Fox, so if you are going to give these people so much airtime, then please offer yourselves as a neutral party, or at the very least, balance your coverage.
    Thank you

    April 20, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  39. Rob Whatley

    Irresponsible doesn't even START to describe Pres. Obama's actions with this thug. Our current administration will give away our country. WAKE UP AMERICANS!!!!!!!!

    April 20, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  40. Carlos, Tampa

    Calling it irresponsible, is irreseponsible.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  41. Claire, Melbourne FL

    Hi Jack,

    After 8 long ugly years of the "my way or the highway" politics President Obama is finally showing the world what we are truly made of.....not the lunacy of the Bush/Cheney years but of real Diplomats who know what they're doing. Maybe now we can avoid wars instead of fomenting them!

    April 20, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  42. Sean Byrne

    Absolutely not. I think Obama was right on or adjacent to the money with what he said about talking with other countries. Whad did you expect Obama to do when meeting with Chavez? Scowl and be inpolite? We need to negociate withour allies and enemies and be respectful or we will never get anywhere in world relations. What that senator said was Bush-era thinking.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  43. Allen L Wenger

    No, I think it was irresponsible for us not to talk with countries who voiced opposition to our policies during the last 8 years. A country with our power and influence should be willing to discuss our policies with every country in the world.

    Mountain Home ID

    April 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  44. Jim Robinson

    You will never get anywhere with anyone until you talk to them.
    If you talk with them, they then have the opportunity to stick their foot in their mouth or do something constructive.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  45. Uche, TN

    its simple Jack, senator John Ensign is "IRRESPONSIBLE"...

    April 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  46. Byron Eastridge

    Did the GOP senator actually say Chavez was guilty of human rights violations?
    Such gall after a GOP administration violated human rights with a torture program.
    Those who live in glass houses shouldn't be throwing stones.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  47. Lopaka TX

    Its shows a mature America, the fact that our President can overcome the childish name calling and not succumb to idle threats. Grow up AMERICA!

    April 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  48. Willie

    What is irresponsible is the comments coming from the right, they had their time to get it right and blew it. These guys need to step aside and let the president do his job. We know what happened when we didn't talk to them, now is the time to act like grown men and put the nation's business first instead of stupid politics. Talking and listening has never made a country "less safe". However pointing fingers and blaming everyone else for our problems will make us less safe, because remember those other four fingers are pointing right back at us.

    Willie

    April 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  49. Brian Wuerflein

    I think the slap on chaves's back and a little laugh was just that.
    America should quit actng like we can't talk ntellegentally and first to any foe, arn't we suppose to be the bigger guy on the block.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  50. Matt (New York)

    Of course its not irresponsible. So many people think of America as being a stuck up country that is too good to talk to the smaller nations or the "bad guy" nations. Its about time America starts realizing how important it is to at least try to amend some of the feuds of the past.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  51. Tyler

    Hey Jack,

    I think Pres. Obama should be reaching out to other countries to repair the diplomatic mess the Bush administration created. Making the United States a more friendly nation to other nations can do nothing but help our image throughout the world, not hurt it.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  52. Ed Kilbourne, MD

    If shaking hands and smiling is all it takes to get a better response from the Government of Venezuela, I'm all for it. Heck, if I were Obama, I'd even read the book.
    Ed Kilbourne, MD
    Dunwoody, GA

    April 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  53. Bill - St Louis MO

    To the Americans who are so offended by the recent handshake between Hugo Chávez and Barack Obama, do you recall how UNsuccessful George W Bush was pretending some country leaders didn't exist? If this twisted "no contact" policy existed in the past, would not America cut off relations with Japan, Germany, Russia. Oh yea, should America stop getting financed by China? Don't forget England.
    Isn't Venezuela the number one provider of oil to America (& it's NOT Saudi Arabia)?

    April 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  54. Robert

    It seems funny that those calling the President's actions irresponsible now are the same people that thought it perfectly acceptable to invade a soverign nation without cause only a few years ago.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  55. John, NC

    What's irresponsible is for Republicans to coninue to fight tooth and nail for a foreign policy that has proven a failure.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  56. Josh Munroe from Ellensburg, WA

    Of course it's not irresponsible. It's called diplomacy. By meeting with world leaders we disagree with, Obama not only shows the world our kinder side, but our confident side. Angry rhetoric without a face-to-face response is cowardly.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  57. Kevin Tay

    The republican senator from Nevada is so out of touched with reality and the majority of Americans. Mending of ties and negotiations have to start somewhere, in my world, it usually starts with a smile and a handshake !

    April 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  58. Jo

    I believe Pres. Obama is keeping our friends close, and our enemies closer.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  59. Peter Alexander

    As a registered Republican, I think the notion that talking to someone or shaking their hand is irresponsible. My fellow Republicans need governing points not criticism points.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  60. Ryan

    Yes, I can obviosly tell that he is just playing a game with us. Obama needs to be more carful when meeting other leaders who hate our country. Pretty soon Iran will soon become a so called "Alie" to the united states as well.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  61. Chris Bertison

    Absolutely not! Know your enemy, and keep him close by your side. And, if he's been "dittling" with Russia, hug him REAL close!

    April 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  62. Joe

    What else should he do? Give him the bird? LOL. I think he was simply trying to be "diplomatic" instead of making obvious the discontent.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  63. Lana Rae

    Many Americans also call Bush "Devil". Reaching out to someone who you have differences is the only way you can attempt to change things. What happened to the phrase "...Keep your enemies closer"?

    April 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  64. Bonnie

    What did Jesus say about how to treat you enemies ?
    Hey you right wing Repubs... go read your Bible !

    April 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  65. James Underwood

    The GOP are stupid if they think we didn't elect Obama to be a diplomat to represent America and talk to foreign nation. If we wanted no diplomacy and only war we would have elected another Republic. And BTW, we are in financial ruin from the same thinking.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  66. Jacques Marcoux

    What's wrong with those who find fault with President Obama's efforts to improve the image of the USA in other countries? Wake up time has arrived.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  67. John from marquette, Michigan

    Jack,

    Of course we should talk to our enemy's. Without dialogue nothing can ever been done to make the world better. And really, how bad is Hugo Chavez. He is a socialist, that does not make him the devil. And he was democratically elected by his citizens. We need to engage our enemies as well as our friends, that is the only way we can get things done. Chavez is not an evil man, he just has a different ideology...which is socialism. And socialism has some benefits...health care, not such an inequality in income like we have in U.S....just to name a few. I like how the EU nations do it though, with a mix of both.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  68. William Haney

    Republicans are just throwing anything and everything against the wall hoping it will stick. As usual, this Republican you referred to, like the rest of them, are full of it.

    They are really disgusting, and in my book, unAmerican. They can't stand someone with more brains than them so they vilify president Obama.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  69. Val Myers

    The rancid rhetoric of the Republicans is what is truly irresponsible.
    Val Myers – Gardiner, MT

    April 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  70. Chris from NY

    Not if you think that allowing Bin Laden's family leave the country after 9/11 attack is responsible. Aircrafts were not allowed in or out from United States. Yet Bush allowed the same family member's of the guy that attacked us to leave this country without a scratch. Now a mere handshake with Chavez and the Republicans are throwing a fit. May be they should get a heart attack. Who cares? Iknow I don't.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  71. Al from SoCal

    Irresponsible ? Only to Obama supporters, non-supporters of Obama can only step back sigh and assert a “I told you so” and maybe with a little smile.
    Although watching Obama’s gaffe after gaffe and what Obama is doing to this country is not very amusing.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  72. Jesse

    Why would I listen to anything coming from the plummeting party of bad ideas. The republicans are looking for support in all the wrong areas.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  73. Chris C.

    Since when is diplomacy irresponsible? Hostility towards nations who may not agree with our national philosophy will do more damage to American interests and safety than open dialog and diplomacy.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  74. Cindy Banks

    There was nothing wrong with President Obama shaking hands with Chavez. Remember, the Bible says "keep your friends close and your enemies closer". What I do think is wrong is the press constantly referring to President Obama as "Obama" or "Mr. Obama". Never was former President Bush referred to in such a way.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  75. Sandy - Kentucky

    I think the old saying applies here: "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer". The Republicans do not get this at all !

    April 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  76. abdi

    keep your friend close but keep your enemy closer

    April 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  77. Jim Richard

    The only irresponsibility here is that of those who are being critical of a president who is acting in a responsible manner.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  78. Ruth of Perry

    Not at all Jack. I understand the difficulty of getting use to a president who not only can talk the talk but, walks the talk. How refreshing to have him in the whitehouse. Reeeeefreshing!!

    April 20, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  79. P.J. McClure

    Obama is reaching out to others, friends and enemies alike. He is being very responsible and it making a positive difference to our country.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  80. nigel

    no ,not at all
    we can get oil from them, and less transportation costs and no pirates between here and venzuala.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  81. Shirley Marshall

    Since when is being civil irresponsible? Have we gotten so used to bad political behavior that would condemn Obama for being a polite guest? Hurray that we are breaking out of the arrogant/ignorant mode of conduct.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  82. Ron from Coalinga, CA

    What was the president suppose to do – give Chavez the stink eye. For the past eight years, US foreign policy has been not to talk or engage with countries who disagree with us. How's that worked out?
    As Lily Tomlin said, "Maybe if we listened to it, History would stop repeating itself."

    April 20, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  83. Judith Nicholson

    I think our president is VERY responsible and intelligent with this country's interests at heart..that's why we voted for him. Leave him alone, he's a good guy. Maybe the rest of the world won't think Americans are idiots with a man like Obama to represent us.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  84. Chris

    Not anymore irresponsible than just hoping the problem would go away like Bush and his administration did. Look where that got us.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  85. Eric /Minneapolis, MN

    Jack, when you treat people like monsters, they become monsters themselves. Obama's actions were everything but irresponsible, Isolating ourselves from countries like Venezuela will do nothing about their American sentiments and foster those beliefs into possible military actions against us.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  86. Merfake

    Republicans need to know that Obama was elected as president to do what he promised us to do. otherwise people of America could have chosen for another repeblican dumb!!!

    April 20, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  87. Sara

    Obama is NOT afraid of people, friend or foe!

    April 20, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  88. Tanner, San Diego

    The only reason Chavez has been "anti-American" is because we have not given him, or any Latin American countries for that matter, a reason to be friendly toward us. After decades of American support for various Latin American dictatorships Obama's overtures to Venezuela are the height of responsibility and reconciliations. In the U.S. we too often forget that everyone who lives our two continents are "Americans".

    April 20, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  89. Shane

    Ontario Canada

    Of course it's responsible.
    The old axiom is "speak softly and carry a big stick". Bush forgot the bit about "speak softly".
    Let Obama try to work his magic on these foreign dictators and nutcases. It can't hurt, but, it could help a lot.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  90. Susan - Plano, TX

    Jack,

    I don't understand why GOP always rush to critize Obama's doing with such a childish reason....(I wonder if Rush Lingbough should change his name to Haze would help GOP), anyway, if Bush was there, Chavez may throw him shoes like beating up the bushes..so we should be pleased that he presented Obama the book he wrote and proud of...What could be so wrong of being a gentleman when President represents us – the American People....GOP are nuts and couldn't stand Obama's success...Pure jealosy and childact from GOP.

    Susan
    Plano, TX

    April 20, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  91. Allen

    Jack I believe it never hurts to talk. Also I find a lot of our people have double standards for us. Than others. It is OK for us to sell weapons, Israel to bad mouth Iran, Cuba communist. I wonder how may are even there. (99 % christians.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  92. Tom Bainter, Fort Worth, TX

    The GOP senator is irresponsible just like the rest of the GOP people in our country. Talking is how problems are solved, not invading countries because they have oil or they insult us. In first grade we learned that sticks and stones may break our bones but words can never hurt us. The GOP and their no child left behind programs need to be put back in the stone age.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  93. jimdef

    the republicans are just sore head and are critisizing all obama`s
    efforts to bring amer. back from bush disasteerious policy

    April 20, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  94. chris

    Its great that pres. Obama is trying to mend relations. Name calling has been going on to long. Time to move forward with healing bad relationships all across the world.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  95. Rick in San Rafael California

    Not irresponsible at all. People don't understand that any statesman in a public forum MUST display decorum and control over the emotions of the situation. The Republicans would rather see him do a George Bush and slap the guy in the face instead of at least making the effort to be civilized. What goes on in Venezuela is THEIR business. If they don't like their government they should do what we did in our own revolutionary war. Take their country back. We deal with countries all the time that have terrible records when it comes to the way they treat their people. Why should Venezuela be any different.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  96. Charles, Fremont, IN

    Jack,

    That republican needs get get his partisan head out of "where the sun don't shine". I voted for McCain but am really starting to like President Obama. I started agreeing with Obama more than I was disagreeing with him. Talking and shaking hands ain't a form of treason and the republicans need to grasp that. This proves the republican party is dead.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  97. emily,boston,ma

    Smile at your enemies and disarm them. Good for you Mr. President! Only a FSN following would think anything else.

    And oh yes, since arguing, dissing and starting illegal wars has not worked folks, why not try a dialogue?

    April 20, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  98. KB Palm Springs

    Typical republican rehtoric...Chavez was right..George Bush is the devil..

    April 20, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  99. Laurel C

    The only person being irresponsible is Sen. Ensign. We finally have a president who is willing to talk to other leaders and does not see that as a weakness.

    Sen. Ensign is so enraged and desperate to denigrate the president that he has made a total fool of himself, and it doesn't make his party look very good either.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  100. Doris Hofmann from Washington, NC

    I think that Obama acted like a gentleman and in greeting Chavez the way he did, he is opening better relations with other countries. There is such a thing as diplomacy, little of which we have seen in the past eight years. We don't have to act tough. We have seen what acting tough has done in the Bush era what with so many countries hating us. It is time we had someone like Obama to help get back the respect of other nations.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  101. Kermit Born

    So, what do you do when someone extends a hand .......... What would the US/world reaction be if the President snubbed the hand and did not engage the handshake............we'd hear the same clowns crying foul............. It was the right thing to do.

    Kermit

    April 20, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  102. Jaihind, Charleston, SC

    Not at all irresponsible. Republicans have selective amnesia and shoud stop whining. Reagan called Soviets an evil empire but still he met Gorbachov. Nixon sent Kissinger secretly to Beijing and ping-pong diplomacy got boost.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  103. Carrie P.

    What is it that the republicans are afraid of? Is it that the U.S. might restore civil relationships with our enemies or is that Obama would get credit for it? It amazes me that people prefer a "stick" over a "carrot." This latest accusation has no merit.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  104. Mickey

    Keep your enemies closer, Stupid.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  105. Anthony

    I think President Obama's outreach to Chavez is not only responsible but smart. As with any kind of relationship, communication is the key. Without communication with so called enemy states, there is no way of being able to build a better relationship. Try not talking with your significant other after several agreements and see if your relationship improves or worstens. All I can say is have a good divorce attorney!

    April 20, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  106. Luis (pronounced Lewis) in San Diego

    In an attempt to show America's might, Republican Senator John Ensign probably would have preferred President Obama put Hugo Chavez in a headlock and give him a wet-willy.

    Or maybe Obama should have left the room, just as Bush had done when Chavez made a speech at the U.N. a few years back. I do not know about being irresponsible, but Obama certainly showed grace and self-confidence.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  107. Amy Tonai

    So the senator thinks it was okay for Bush to pal around with Saudi Arabian leaders with their appalling human rights policies, but when Obama politely greets Chavez he considers it inappropriate? Can you say HYPOCRITE?

    April 20, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  108. Taz

    I live in Nevada and no one here pays too much attention to what Senataor Ensign has to say, since he is in the party of "NO."
    What was President Obama suppose to do, act ignorant and not shake Chavez's hand? He did what he should have done. Act like the president that he is.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  109. Chris - St. Louis, MO

    President Obama's interaction with Chavez represents progress in America's international relations. By calling this gesture irresponsible this senator is calling progress irresponsible; an ideology that should be of no surprise coming from the GOP.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  110. Elizabeth

    President Obama is being very responsible in "Keeping your friends, close, and your enemies closer"

    April 20, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  111. Edward

    It was not irresponsible. What do you suppose the GOP's reaction would have been if Pres. Obama would have given Chavez the finger?

    April 20, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  112. Chris From Ohio

    Its irresponsible not to do your job. Senator Ensign would not be saying the same thing if John McCain shook hands with Hugo Chavez. Obama is a peace-maker, not a deal breaker. Sen. Ensign. Do not open you're mouth unless you are "El Presidente!" or as in you're former leaders case, "El Diablo!"

    April 20, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  113. wade

    I think that President Obama's simply shaking hands with President Chavez, should not for any reason be considered irresponsible. I think many Americans arguing that it is should look back at many of the dirty handed people American leaders have shaken hands with in the past. Roosevelt shook Stalins hand and Rumsfeld shook Hussein's. In perspective, is this really that dangerous?

    April 20, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  114. TomG NE Pa.

    Irresponsible?? No Jack, Ya gotta talk to these leaders, even if you think they're nuts, After you converse leader to leader you'll have no doubt. Then you take it from there..

    April 20, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  115. Tony (Vancouver)

    I think it's not only irresponsible, but entirely hypocritical and an expression of ineptitude to refer to diplomacy as irresponsible.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  116. Chares Scalesse

    Jack, opening the lines of communication between the US & other countries – especially ones that don't always agree with us – is the first step in making change. It's the last 8 years of name calling and cold shoulders that have been irresponsible. This is the first step in fixing the problems.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  117. Sandra Jacob

    In my opinion, the idea that Obama should not shake hands and smile at any world leader is beyond ridiculous. By 8th grade most kids have learned that courtesy goes a long way when dealing with conflict. I am so relieved to have a president who is gracious and intelligent when dealing with the world and with our own country. I can now breathe easy and once again be proud to be an American.

    Sandra Jacob
    Middletown, CT

    April 20, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  118. Richard

    Hell no! Sticking your head in the sand has never gotten anyone anywhere.

    Richard
    Newport, OR

    April 20, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  119. Jeremy Roca

    I myself am a Republican however this action towards peace with our President with the president of Venezuela is a great move towards peace. What i am concern is that do they really mean what they are doing? Recall few days before the summit, Mr. Chavez calls our President "Ignorant."even though i dont like our president as much, that was a little offensive. Was his giving Mr. Obama a book a sign of ridiculing the United States? However, if it is true, i dont see a step towards peace and tranquility a sign of weakness but a strenght because it means that hey we want to listen also.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  120. Diego

    Obama knew from the beginning what kind of response he would get from Republicans if he gave Chavez a handshake. His answer went straight to the point. He, as well as the rest of leaders in the region understand how Chavez works and is learning how to 'handle' him, the same way other presidents have so far. ie. Uribe from Colombia, Chavez insulted him in the past, but both Uribe and Obama are above Chavez's act.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  121. Steve

    Irresponsible?!?! We need more friendly contact between the President and other nations, aqnd far less arrogance - especially from Republicans.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  122. Melody

    No it's not irresponsible, President Obama should be out there willing to talk to other leaders. Bush didn't do it because he doesn't know how to talk and he would have embarrassed us even more than he already did.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  123. David Stauffer

    Irresponsibility is defined as being without accountability for one's actions. So, isn't Barack Obama, logically, being responsible by taking accountability for our mistakes, something nobody else has been willing to do for the past 8 years?

    April 20, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  124. Ron Kulas

    I consider myself a consevative, but what does the Republican Senator expect? Does he want President Obama to spit on Chavez? Give me a break. Obama did the right thing, and I am pleased – very pleased – to see our President take this refreshing new tack. Now the ball is in Chavez's court. Good play!

    Ron

    April 20, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  125. Johannes

    Every time a republican opens his/her mouth and critizes the president, is a testimony that Obama is doing the right thing.
    In short Obama should always do what the republicans are against of.
    And I love it.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  126. Peter M

    Nope. It was courteous and cordial. It is called diplomacy. This is what Prez. Obama meant by Change. It is a RESET of American Foreign Policy. What is irresponsible and plain stoopid is how NEWT forgets that Prez Nixon kissed Breznev of the Soviet Union and smiled freely with Chairman Mao of China. How stoopid are these Republicans???

    April 20, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  127. Linda Owens

    Its not good to have the whle world hate your country- ask the Romans!
    Our president is proceeding in exactly the manner that I wanted when I voted for him.
    Cheers,
    Linda
    Boston,

    April 20, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  128. William

    President Obama is not being irresponsible by talking to Chavez. He is being civil unlike most of the Bush/Cheney administration.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  129. John Kelley

    No, President Barack Obama acted a the leader of the United States at a conference where it is important to have cordiality. What I find irresponsible are the stupid comments from Newt Gingrich and Senator John Ensign. What will it take for the Republicans to realize we the American people threw them out of office for the eight years of their corruption, pain, and incompetent policies. Does anybody remember why Gingrich is not Speaker of the House. Does anybody remember he was responsible for the election Bill Clinton in 1996.
    There isn't anything of value with Republicans. Barack Obama is a breath of fresh air from the dispicable and disgusting Republicans.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  130. Lori Hatch

    It was DEFINATELY irresponsible! He hates America!
    Just a short time ago....from South Carolina to Louisiania gas stations that were Citgo were changed to Texaco in ONE WEEK....1,400 stations did not want monies to go to Chavez to build weapons against us....as he had bragged about this several times!

    Why is Obama making smiles, handshakes with Chavez, bowing to the leader of Saudi Arabia? -or any other less than desirable thug?

    April 20, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  131. Robert D Reid

    Sen Ensign is one of those knuckle-dragging Republican buffoons who got the world into this mess because of their ignorance of the world and the belief that the world should just bow down to whatever nonsense the past adminstration dreamed up. To say that talking to people is dangerous is absurd
    Robert
    Toronto

    April 20, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  132. lou

    when I heard this news, the first thing I thought, was "Great...let's get to opening up some more new markets, in a hurry."

    let's not lose site of the fact that we need access to more markets for our goods and services....

    that the gop has something negative to say about that leads me to believe they are still stuck to their old rhetoric and they're willing to sacrifice economics for uninspired politics especially at this time.

    Bottom line: open markets and "SHOW ME THE MONEY"

    April 20, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  133. W.Derksen

    Sen. Ensign is wrong. He is also the guy who could not say the word "torture" yesterday. He kept referring to it as "Advanced interrogation techniques".
    We have made too many enemies the past 8 years and enough is enough.
    Besides, the words I have used to describe Bush makes "Devil" seem like a kind and flattering description of Bush.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  134. Ray

    Just another example of how the Republicans seem able to do nothing these days but quibble and complain. "Carp" says it in a word.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  135. Lindarae from Metlakatla, Alaska

    It's significant that it's a GOP Senator who is calling Obama irresponsible. Obama shows greatness in this and all else he does in foreign policy. He is not afraid of annoying the Republicans by reaching out to world leaders and he is keeping his promise to America by doing so. America's image was so diminished that anything he can do toward rebuilding by showing goodwill is a very good thing. Rock on, President Obama!!

    April 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  136. Geoff

    Obama with his gesture has left the ball in Chavez's court. Obama gave up nothing except to take all of Chavez's reasons to rant. It can only get better for the US.
    As for the Republicans they are quickly going to find out how irrelevant they are. Most Americans are tired of 8 years of gunslinger diplomacy and have started to look forward like Obama.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  137. Jim Blevins

    While Chavez is far from perfect, but he is correcting a great wrong done to the original inhabitants of his country - it that perhaps the real problem that the Republicans have with him.

    Jim, Craig, CO

    April 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  138. Wisly, Montreal, Canada

    The Republicains are already Running campaign for 2012. The only way to succeed is to bash Obama for everything he say or do.... So he fails. They are trying to demonize him...

    April 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  139. Audrey

    Jack it's no different than going into your office everyday knowing you hate your boss, but you smile, shake hands, kiss butt...you get the idea. President Obama is showing that he is the bigger person and is not lowering himself to Chavez's level.....Chavez is an idiot!

    April 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  140. Linda S. Spenc e

    What a great thing to see the U.S. President actually trying to mend the image of the country among those who have held it in derision. Why would the leader of the free world not extend his hand to any other leader who only wishes to greet and share a gift. Obama display's more of an ethical, tolerant, human behavior than any President I can remember in my time. I'm a "Boomer" from high school in 1968; loved Kennedy and Clinton...but Obama has shown more diplomacy in the past four months than many in in the past 40-years.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  141. Karol

    The president was being polite and gracious – as we would expect our president to be. Would his critics have him turn his back and walk away for the world to see on international television? Can't you just imagine what the critics would say if that happened?

    Scottsdale, AZ

    April 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  142. Dianne

    Obama's treatment of Chavez is absolutely consistent with his stated foreign policy goals: to listen and to begin a new era of foreign relations. Some have commented on him smiling and shaking Chavez's hand. What is wrong with being civil? Others criticized him regarding taking the book criticizing U.S. policy. Notice he was caught off guard, did not smile, and didn't know the content of the book at the time. It would be nice to allow him the freedom to go through a day without comment on every smile, gesture, etc. How petty!

    April 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  143. Sandi

    ABSOLUTELY NOT – The most irresponsible act ever was the bush/cheney Iraq war!!!

    April 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  144. Kevin Rodd

    When someone wants to get the upper hand of another person, the best way to get there is to not sink to a lower level. Disarm your opponent by being civil, cordial, and taking the high road. The leaders of the world are having discussions with America, not the American ways of the past of trying to bully our way into the leadership role. Other people, even the mean and arrogant, have ideas to be considered. Silencing their voices creates hate and mistrust. We have a true leader who instills confidence in not only those who votes for him, but the world that we NEED to work with in the future.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  145. Walter

    I really do not understand why the President is cruzified for shaking hands
    with this man.
    I guess, whatever Obama does, somebody has to critisize it,
    Walter

    April 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  146. Josh in Georgia

    This reminds me of that old saying "If you find yourself talking to a lunatic, stop talking". It's sad that oppressed people have to see our president yucking it up with their oppressor. It would be better for all, if he spoke up for them instead.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  147. Marie

    Not irresponsible at all! These are Baroque attacks on Barack!

    April 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  148. Tenzin

    President Obama is doing a great job. I see a great leadership in him. He knows how to deal with the leaders of other countries. There will be a never ending hatred between two countries if they just sit aside and talk aggresively to each other. Showing love and making friends are the based for a better and peaceful world.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  149. Lee In Minnesota

    Senator Ensign's views are exactly what has got our country into wars and created many of the problems we now face. He is also trying to interfere in OUR Minnesota Senator election. With the State of the economy in Nevada, I am surprised he has any time for issues outside Nevada. Did the people of Nevada really elect him to be a National Spokesman on everything for the conservative party?? It is time people learned the spelling and true meaning of DIPLOMACY as it seems to be a lost touch for many people.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  150. Steve, Clifton,VA

    I would be very interested to hear what this GOP Senators thoughts are on fact that it was "Chavez" who called did all of the name calling and made the inflammatory comments but extended his hand and smiled at President Obama. Did the fact that Chavez is in obvious conflict with himself over his thoughts on American leaders seems more irresponsible than President Obama behaving as a seasoned Statesman!!!

    Steve
    Clifton, VA

    April 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  151. mary stewart,arlington texas

    jeeeez......what happened to manners....it was a hand shake .....can u imagine the response had he refused the handshake???/i am so sick of the phony "outrage" over silliness........i am outraged about the debt.....lack of jobs.......grid lock in d.c.......it was a handshake...move on

    April 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  152. Claude-Queens Village

    Yes it was responsible.Obama is moving to the right position. United States is the leading country in world, we are living in the different era now, and things are moving faster than our eyes could see.Tthe rest of the world can criticize US, but in fact, they cannot wait for US to lead them again. Every day the world watches US, We are in their living rooms in every second and every minute from CNN and other News Media. They cannot get enough of US, and the world cannot wait for US to lead them again . Please Mr President keep on doing what you are doing, sooner later our country will find Her way again. I believe a
    lot of world leaders would like to be like President Obama. Chavez is one of them.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  153. Rodney, Hauula, Hawaii

    absolutely not irresponsible. He's being purely diplomatic. While A person may not agree with what another persons does or says, not shaking an offered hand is not an excuse for not trying to show friendship is possible. A handshake is a prelude to talks in most cases.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  154. BILL

    A Republican Senator complains about trying to talk peace. Lets see, the Republicans drove the economy into a ditch and got us into a bloodbath in Iraq for nothing. Jack – why are you still listening to these failed Republican ideas?

    April 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  155. art schultz

    President Obama is right on the money regarding Venezuela and Iran
    If they blow this ipportunity with the President they will fully deserve evryting they get just like the Republican leadership who claim he is not being bipartisan while still foaming at the mouth like the rabid beings they are

    April 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  156. Nick

    It seems that the repubilican's are reaching for anything to try and discredit this president. We need to give President Obama time to see if his policies will work or not. By the republicans grandstanding and trying to undermine him does nothing to help our country. It highlights the republican's short falls and helps the country see how the republicans got us into this current mess. No it was not irresponsible. It is a knee jerk reaction to shake someone's hand when it is offered.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  157. Sam

    It is irresponsible to view other countries leaders, whether we deem them bad or good, as figures to avoid. To solve a problem the first step is to confront it. After 8 years of optimistic neglect it's time for America to act like the adult.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  158. Jacque

    We finally have a President that knows how to deal with anyone.....
    Unfortunately, more appalling words have been spoken from the mouths of US citizens.......let along the death threats.....
    People please.......address our President as such!!!!!!

    April 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  159. Trevor K

    Coming out of an administration that showed no respect for the international community, destroyed our image overseas and likely contributed to anti-American sentiment, I can't think of anything more responsible than trying to reverse the damage done and show the world that the past is dead.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  160. ADAM

    its not fast. We have to start some where, and a shake and a laugh is a good start.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  161. Kathleen McCoy

    One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Thus, it is NOT irresponsible to reach out to our enemies if we are hoping for a better outcome in our relationships with countries, philosophies, and leaders who oppose us!

    April 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  162. Ken H.

    With any luck at all those people who have advocated and practiced "axis of evil" diplomacy, pre-emptive war, and jingoism will not alter their views just because they led us to ruin and were battered at the polls. Hopefully they will maintain their hysteria long enough to be permanently marginalized.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  163. Rosa

    I think no matter what Mr Obama does someone has to whine! I was born in Venezuela and I have lived in the US for more than 25 years this is my country, I think Mr Obama is doing what we are not used to see for too many years in a president he is using his brain, he is doing what is our president should be doing using diplomacy, that's all and is just the way it should be!

    April 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  164. Anjelique

    It's not just irresponsible and inappropriate...it is just disgusting where the country is heading at this point with this kind of an administration! He's sucking up to those who want America burning in hell for eternity...its just simply DISGUSTING!

    Toronto, Canada

    April 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  165. Randy, Ontario Canada

    It's refreshing to see President O'bama behave like the "leader of the free world" as opposed to a tin-pot dictator. Someone has to step-up to the plate and offer an open hand and honest dialogue. It is not a sign a weakness... it's a sign of smartness. Should the president have to get forceful at a later date it will be easier for him to gather international support having demonstrated good will. A refreshing change.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  166. ilenne

    Our President has the intellect to know how to deal with foreign leaders including Chavez. With Barack Obama at the helm of our ship of state, our reputation, in the world, has taken a great turn for the better and things will only improve internationally. On the other hand, as a Nevadan, I am only too well aware that ensign, who did nothing but ditto everything the bush administration wanted to do, fails miserably as our senator as well as in the area of intellect. Bravo Barack Obama.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  167. Gina Eckstine

    it's about time we American s got off our high horse and spoke to the rest of the world without arrogance. I think it can only do us good to sit down and talk to out "enimies". It is the only way can learn about each other. i commend our new president for following through with this campaign promise. its about time somebody did.
    Gina Eckstine
    Woodland Hills ,CA

    April 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  168. Doug

    Why does the media drag trivial things through the mud for so long? American media is the one that is irresponsible! Of course Pr. Obama should shake hands.. with anyone who is in charge of a piece of our world! Who questions such a thing? Get real, isn't there something that actually constitutes news going on in the world? Take off the blindfold, report the news, and forget about the sensationalism for so called "ratings"!

    April 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  169. lisa f. in AZ

    I absolutely disagree with the GOP and find it refreshing thats the president is speaking with leaders who have been alienated by the Bush administration. Thats the only way to progress. As Obama himself said we cannot move forward if we are stuck in the past. The GOP is trying to find anything and everything to pick on Obama about. Grow up!!

    April 20, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  170. Marjorie Lominy

    Between the G20 and the The America's Summit, President Obama did one thing no President has done in long time-especially these past eight years- It is cool to love America again. And that Jack is awsome..
    Marjorie
    NY

    April 20, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  171. Charlotte in Atlanta

    Were similar accusations leveled against Presidents Nixon and Reagan when they greeted, shook hands, and chatted with Communists leaders from China and Russia, or were those interactions viewed as positive foreign relations?

    April 20, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  172. Michael Moreno

    I have been out of venezuela for the last 10 years. My family (parents and siblings) are still there. they live in a state of fear daily not only because of the insecurity but Chavez has been very vocal against the jewish community and Israel (he expelled the ambassador of israel last year as a result of the invasion in Gaza). I support Obama's openness to talk to him but the reality is that I doubt that much can be done to curve this dictators intentions to perpetuate himself in power.

    Michael
    Vancouver BC.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  173. Fekdor

    Obama grew up in a place where people smiled a lot – imagine that!
    Get that neurotic, grim-faced GOP senator some diapers and some clown paint so at least you can paint a smile on his face.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  174. Yared

    Obama is on the right path to dealing with hostile leaders like Chavez, I hope he will do the same with others as well. Sometimes love win over muscle and the damage caused by Bush in the past 8 years might take a long time to heal.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  175. Marsha Naeem

    Absolutely, NOT!! We are a great nation and that makes us not only democratic but a diplomatic country. That's why we are such a great nation. If previous administrations, would've had the approach, decency and diplomatic ways that President Obama has, we might be in a much better shape internationally. I truly believe that given our enemies the chance to be listened, will open a door which will show the world that the U.S. is not as grand, as "unique" and as "indifferent" as it is seemed around the world. I think Obama will be very successful in his approach and can't wait for these results to see what the Republicans will say then!!....Who knows, maybe at some point, the GOP will become an alumni of Obama!! As the says goes, "Live and Learn"...

    April 20, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  176. Lani

    Irresponsible? Excuse me, but Chavez walked over to President Obama and stuck out his hand. Did you expect Obama to whip a pie outta his briefcase and throw it at him? He was merely being polite and acting like a gentleman. I suppose he should have taken the book and bopped Chavez on the head with it, and maybe he even wanted to, but he is a dignified man and by him behaving in a respectful manner just shows how our President leads by example.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  177. jerry

    republicans never cease to amaze me . how can seemingly intelligent folks get so dumb. my mama taught me when another person offers thier hand take it .thats the first step to resolving your differences.

    ease to amaze me in their ignorance

    April 20, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  178. Helena Jackson

    President Obama is attempting to preside over this country using a new paradigm that recognizes the basic goodness of all men and does not attempt to make enemies of those whose political philosophies differ from our own. It is a novel idea and long overdue.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  179. Mike

    I understand people's train of thought that by talking to leaders that are anti American gives them more legitimacy. Yet Isolationism has never been a successful US policy. I think leader want to be isolated by the US so they can continue to rant from a distance. I think President Obama is keeping his friends close and his enemies closer... If you are close enough to shake their hand you are close enough to slap too!

    April 20, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  180. Mary Robinson

    Finally we have a president who doesn't feel the need for macho posturing. But I knew when I saw the photo of Obama and Chavez smiling together that the Republicans would try to make political hay with it. Far from being irresponsible or weak, it shows real strength and genuine self confidence.

    Mary
    Brooklyn, NY

    April 20, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  181. SJW

    Hey Jack,
    Didn't Chavez walk over and extended his hand? And didn't the president say that he'd reach out his hand as long as they unclinch their fist? So what's the big Deal? Why is this such a surprise?

    April 20, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  182. David Evans

    Winston Spencer Churchill, not exactly known for his willingness to pass on a punch-up, said to "Jaw-Jaw is better than to War-War"

    What are American conservatives smoking? Or being taught at fundamentalist churches?

    April 20, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  183. Ali

    Why these ignorants call Mr.Obama irresponsible! No he's not, plus Pres. Hugo Chavez reached out to him giving him the book, So Obama Stood up, took the book with a smile.
    Obama is the most respectful, the most wise, and the smartest President came to America.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  184. mitch

    they look like two peas in a pod, the marxist brothers.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  185. Jon

    Obama is probably busy talking all the other nations out of bringing up Bush and Cheney for war crimes.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  186. Mike Page in South San Francisco, CA

    Jack
    "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free". ...

    Here is the truth: "The best was to defeat your enemy is to make him want to be your friend". Dr Jin
    When you reach this point, take advantage of it.

    Mike

    April 20, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  187. Ryan

    President Obama is right on when he says a friendly handshake with Chavez will not compromise American interests. Let's not forget Chavez has said many times in the past he had no quarrel with the American people but only with the previous Bush administration. And we all saw what Bush's policy of "NO DIPLOMACY" led to... nothing. With even Cuban leaders saying they're ready to talk about everything like freedom of the press and political prisoners, I look forward to seeing how far Obama's political openness takes us in the direction of peace and human rights. The Republicans can criticize him all they want... their attitude afterall is why they're no longer in office.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  188. Lynne Crumpacker

    It's not irresponsible. It's wonderful!

    April 20, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  189. Murphy Larry

    All I can see is two persons of color meeting for the first time.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  190. mike in ohio

    It was once said, "So let us begin anew—remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate." Seems as true now as it did on January 20, 1961 when President Kennedy said it in his Inaugural address!

    April 20, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  191. Kyle

    There is nothing wrong with maintaining diplomatic courtesy at a conference of national leaders. For all his talk, Chavez gives America everything we want from Venezuela: Oil. That's fine by me.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  192. alexander

    Republicans, is the political party of the rich, and supprots salvery. It is no wonder that these men will be against President Barck Obama irrespective of whatever policies that he persues.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  193. Ann Holt (Savannah Ann)

    Trading arms for hostages (Iran Contra) Reagan..irresponsible
    Launching a premptive war against a country that had nothing to do with 9-11 (Iraq) Bush..irresponsible.
    Shaking hands with the leader of a country that is the FOURTH LARGEST EXPORTER of OIL to the US. (Obama) not so irresponsible.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  194. Anthony Stokes

    Hi Jack;
    We need to keep our friends close and our enemy even closer. I think the republican critics are war mongers, everyone knows we are the most powerful nation in the world; we do not need to carry a clinch fist all the time. Good job Jack

    Anthony Stokes

    April 20, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  195. Scott Ridener

    What's irresponsible is a bone-head Senator attempting to scuttle US
    diplomacy with stupid remarks. The President is following the lead of
    most of our former presidents, being polite and communicating with
    other leaders. This jerk probably doesn't remember Nixon's kitchen debate with Nikita Krushchev. Many in the GOP are attempting to stake out a lead in the 2012 primary by pandering to the reactionary right wing of the party. No doubt attacks on the President's dog and
    his shaking hands with other leaders will make sense to them. But to the rest of America, it convinces us that the GOP is committing suicide.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  196. Charles Borden

    No!!! The Republicans try to turn every positive into a negative and come out sounding negative themselves. Newt Gangrene was on today this morning and sounded like a real donkeypit. The behavior of the GOP has me considering registering as a Dem for the first time in my life (&) yrs old). Phil Gram is right we have turned into a country of whiners (at least the GOP has).

    April 20, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  197. Diane Kimsey-Minor

    We are very pleased to see President Obama offering his hand instead of his fist to other world leaders. We think that eight years of a much different kind of leadership only strengthens this position. Only through interaction can understanding and compromise evolve.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  198. jay pielle

    re: chavez ..so obama is annoying the right-wing... since the right-wing is never ever right, how could that possibly be considered wrong??....

    April 20, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  199. vJ

    Mr. president is doing the right thing. Now we know that why Republicans lost the election. They are going to loose election for years to come.They are just trouble makers for us and the rest of the world.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  200. Frank

    It's about time America started acknowledging leaders of other nations that do not carry our same ideology. The old saying goes something like this: Keep your friends close. Keep your enemies closer. As an aside, you mention Hugo Chavez calling President Bush the devil. I wonder how many Americans called him the same thing over the past eight years.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  201. Karl from SF, CA

    Hugo Chavez’s is a nasty dictator… and your point is? So are most of the other dictatorships that we do business with. Obama is trying to be above ignorant rhetoric that has prevailed for eight years, unlike Senator Ensign. It was the irresponsibility of the last GOP administration that destroyed much of our good will all around the world and it was condoned by the irresponsible GOP in general, so Senator Ensign has no ground to preach to anyone. The age of irresponsibility is finally over. If the Senator want to see irresponsibility, he shopuld look in a mirror.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  202. Michael, Liverpool, NY

    It is not irresponsible and like the Republican Senator's response its political. They could have been smiling for the camera's despite not liking one another or laughing about some comment the other made or something ironic that was in the book.
    The president should open dialogues with other nations and if possible find common ground to move forward. Meanwhile some Republicans shoudl realize how ridiculous they are being and that this will not help their cause particularly with independents.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  203. Anna of Milton, Florida

    No. To me it meant that President Obama does not consider Hugo Chavez to be important enough or significant enough to be a danger to us. We as a people have chosen to walk down this different path. The Republicans need to wake up to that fact.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  204. Henry

    Since when is talking to your friends/enemies "irresponsible". I think the Senator is concerned that he and his party have become irrelevant.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  205. emily,boston,ma

    So nice to be reminded what an evangelical person should use as principles. I'm afraid the Republican party is acting quite the opposite lately and turning people of good character and morals off with their hypocrisy.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  206. JJ

    I don't see this as irresponsible. If talking to Chavez, or ANY world leader, brings the US closer to better relations, then it is a win win for the administration and the American people. All this posturing gets in the way of the important work that needs to be done. Obama did not concede anything by extending a hand and a friendly, warm smile. These so called political commentators need to stop stirring the pot and put their efforts into supporting the best interests of the American people. Ditto for the republican congressman who are looking to make an issue out of this. I guess we were better off with G.W, Bush style politics????? That really improved our standing in the world didn't it?

    April 20, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  207. Mike Atlanta

    I understand people’s train of thought that by talking to leaders that are anti American gives them more legitimacy. Yet Isolationism has never been a successful US policy. I think leader want to be isolated by the US so they can continue to rant from a distance. I think President Obama is keeping his friends close and his enemies closer… If you are close enough to shake their hand you are close enough to slap too!

    April 20, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  208. Elaine Bishop

    This is a chance for reason to triumph over bluster. It's refreshing to see Obama put this in use, opening up many more options for negotiating with other leaders.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  209. Gary Coley

    We finally have an intelligent president who knows it is just common sense for him as well as our country to engage in talks and other forms of communication with our allies, and our adversaries. The idea of not talking with our adversaries is not a mature response, but is rather childish.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  210. Steven G. Randolph

    The GOP outrage over the President's decision to shake hands with Venezuela's president tells us only one thing. The GOP is out of ideas, and has nothing constructive to offer the American people.

    Steven G. Randolph
    Tampa, FL

    April 20, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  211. Athens, GA

    Irresponsible? It's as if we are on a grade school playground and some politicians wish that the U.S. would stand in a corner and refuse to "play" with Venezuela.... Diplomacy. We need it. We cannot continue to shut out the rest of the world. Shaking hands and speaking with other world leaders, despite marked differences, is a road we must go down in seeking peace...I don't agree with every decision Obama has made since being in office, but I am proud of our drastic improvements in international relations.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  212. Annie, Atlanta

    Heck no. Integrity, class – just two words that come to mind instead. Honestly it makes me angry that we pay Republicans a salary for being the new obstructionist party, voting against the interests of 95% of us, and flirting at the edges of backing home grown terrorism. We said ENOUGH of their garbage in November, and meant it.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  213. Tim from Michigan

    Hi Jack,

    In my opinion, the past 8 year history of the Bush Administration is a good working defination of "irresponsibility" Chavez nationalized energy and irritated huge Texas Oil companies. He sincerly believes he did the right thing for his country, and he had some pretty good reasons for thinking that way. Texas Oil companies have a pretty bad track record across the globe, and I believe the record shows that they put millions of dollars into financing revolutionary actions in his country.

    Why do you listen to the Republicans anyway? They really have no credibility anymore anyway. Who cares what they think?

    April 20, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  214. Malik

    It take a big person to do what our President is doing,which is reaching out to other nations no matter what his personal feelings may be.Once again Jack your media company is blowing things out of context,look at this story as our president trying to fix the mess your former president got us in I say your formal President because it appears to me that your media company are all Repubicans.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  215. Ken Tomcich from Arlington, VA

    NO - it was NOT irresponsible. For a change, it showed some dignified leadership from this country.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  216. Constantine Pappas

    Yes, it is irresponsible for Obama to be seen with Chavez. Acknowledging him is one thing, but making an effort to shake his hand three separate times and accepting books, smiles, and holding friendly conversation is completely irresponsible. An enemy of the United States is an enemy to all Americans...especially the President. Anti-United States leaders should be watched closely and held at arms' reach.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  217. Rich Monk

    Hey Jack,
    Most all countries on Planet earth do not hate Americans! They hate our politicians and for good reason, and so do I. Bush and Cheney and their ilk are criminals at the very least. At best these bums should be tried and jailed for life and have their wealth confiscated like drug dealers. Only then will "we the People" force our own politicians to be ethical, and responsible to us and not to Corporations and greed at all costs. President Obama is showing just how good the "real" Americans can be. Not using insults as in the BUSH regime, but showing humility and reasoning.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  218. Jerrad (Indiana)

    Proud of my President.... this man is doing what he said he would do while running for President. Taking the Bush stance would just lead the U.S. closer to hell. I would like to see him engage with other leaders from the dark side to show the world we are an open minded nation willing to seek peace. Remaining silent and not having dialogue with these types of countries just proves that we are what they think we are.... arrogant. We are no better than the rest of the world and President Obama wants people to see that.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  219. Jan harnish

    A handshake and a smile, good manners is how I see it. What can it hurt and it goes a long way in securing any new relationship. Maybe more people should try it.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  220. emerson gillet

    The handshake certainly defuses Chavez' sense of pomposity! Good for the president!

    April 20, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  221. Emily

    It wasn't irresponsible for President Obama to be seen joking around with President Chavez. In fact, I think that it shows that he is open to speak with other World Leaders, unlike our former President Bush. After 8 years of not being close to other nations, it's nice to see all of these connects.
    😀

    April 20, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  222. Barb from Hazel Crest, IL

    No, I don't agree. In any assemble of different views and people the courtous thing to do are to shake hands with everyone and have a polite conversation. The smart person sits backs and listen to evaluate the person that he considers as his enemy. You can't evaluate a person from a distance you must be up close and personal. Remember the old saying of keeping your friends close and your enemies closer.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  223. Nic Eastman Utah

    How are we to expect world peace if any world leaders (Democraticaly elected or not) are excluded from the world wide picture.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  224. Thomas Bate

    No, its not at all an issue to extend the hand of friendship. Clearly the Republicans way of isolating leaders and countries they dont appove of, does not work.. SO you try another way.. You start with a smile and a handshake. Its a great start if you ask me. Not everyone will approve of course, and thats fine.. It doesnt mean anything politically.. yet.. It just gives Republicans something to try to make an issue out of.. What next? Maybe Obamas underware is the wrong color! Chavez is a jerk, we all know that.. but lets try to work with him in some way.. There are millions of Venezulans that want some kind of normal realations with this guy. He has alot of natural resources that we need.. for now. Yet, another reason to find alternate sources of energy!

    Thom Bate / Ft Lauderdale

    April 20, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  225. Joseph Ems

    I find it interesting that some would find fault with a handshake while refusing to talk about our policy of purchasing millions of gallons of oil from a corrupt and vile regime. Which supports the regime more; money or a handshake. Politics as usual ...30 second news flash over real substance.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  226. Dianne Paducah

    No Jack , I donot think that President Obama acted irresponsibly. Please tell me what did the republicans think he should have done. Whatever he did or did not do the GOP would have found something to complain about

    April 20, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  227. curt from palmdale, CA

    I think this weakens Chavez in some ways, to see Chavez smiling and giving gifts to an American President contradicts his anti-American rhetoric, I think the Venezulan people are smart enough to see the rhetoric is politics and will be less anti-American themselves

    April 20, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  228. Alan P. in Connecticut

    It's about time. We do do busines with many people who are far worse. What has he ever done to us besides badmouth George W Bush? I've heard Americans say worse things about President Bush.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  229. FRANK CORTEZ

    Knowing bullies as i do the one thing that would get their attention more than anything is showing them that you have NO Fear at all for him and have no problem meeting him face to face.
    IE; Ignoring the 300 lb gorilla in the room wont get rid of him but even the savage beast knows better than to mess with the 1 person willing to face him down. Even if the beast is a just a loud spoiled kid.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  230. Luke Urice

    Chavez is a critic of our foreign policy and we are critical about him somehow being a threat to democracy in Latin America. We can obviously learn from each other. Talk to your enemy.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  231. Isidro Gonzales

    This is by far not irresponsible. Are we to believe that the Republicans want us to continue the same failed policies...oops, I think I have answered my question. From Republicans saying no to every proposal that seems to fix the problems created from the last eight years to the recent tea parties and now this only proves that the Republicans don't really want to move forward.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  232. Annette of Colorado

    No, I don't agree. The Repubs are grasping at straws because that's all they have left. Anyone can sit in the peanut gallery and complain. Why don't they do something constructive, like help get this economy back on track?

    April 20, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  233. fasted,colorado

    What's wrong with Sen. Ensign...it's a common courtesy even for those still in the 20th century.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  234. Vicki Abbott

    That remark by a Republican has to be politically motivated. To reach out a hand to Chavez may make a friend. Bush was a sad representative of the US to the world and made us look like fools for electing him...TWICE!!! We now have a highly evolved, intelligent man. Thank you, President Obama! Thank you, USA for making him our president!!!!

    April 20, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  235. tony

    Theres absolutely nothing wrong with shaking hands with the president of venezuela. whats realy irresponsible the gop picking on everything the president do, its ok to be the oposing party, and also to be critical but now this is getting rediculous, childish and downright foolish at what point is it [TREASON] thanks for giving me a voice jack!

    April 20, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  236. A j

    To shake hand with talaban is ok as they are millionth of U S economy

    April 20, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  237. Santiago - Rhode Island

    I do not agree that Pres. Obama’s appearance with Hugo Chavez is irresponsible.

    For years, the U.S. Government has lied about our international relationships. Now, Pres. Obama is trying to put a new face to represent the U.S.

    Vietnam killed more than 48,000 of our soldiers, yet, we still have international relationships with them.

    Venezuela has done nothing to the U.S. – Why shouldn't we have a good relationship with them? Venezuela is not a threat.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  238. Fran

    My mother taught me to be polite and I am sure Obama's mother did too. She also taught me to keep my enemies very close. That way I would know what they are doing. Just because you don't like someone does not mean you have to be rude. Great job President Obama.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  239. Don Stack

    "Irresponsible" to have a brief dialogue? Perhaps theses GOP ostriches should continue to keep their heads in the sand and let the rest of us go on with the task of rebuilding America's moral position in the world at large. Sure, Chavez isn't the best partner to discuss realtions with Venezuela, but he is the only head of state they have. Compared to the leaders of Iran and North Korea, Chavez is a liberal.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  240. Clayton

    This is another example of the difference between the conservative vs. liberal approach to international relationships. The right wants to rule the world from the USA at the point of a gun barrel and the left wants to LEAD the world by the example of ideas and ideals. The former is the correct one on so many levels it takes a brainwashed mind not to see it!

    April 20, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  241. Deidre

    Excuse me...but isn't this WHY he was elected? Isn't the whole point of having an intelligent, articulate, and well mannered leader so that we can A. improve our standing/communication with other world leaders? B. begin to undo the damage our nation has sustained from the alienating actions of previous administrations? I know that is one of the reasons why I voted for him.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  242. Jan - Lancaster, PA

    Of course I do not agree with Ensign. Diplomacy, statesmanship, and social grace is what we voted for and this President is delivering. We will, as a country be safer and respected by showing respect, whether we agree with another country's politics or not. Diplomatic gestures of respect are not irresponsible. To do otherwise is reckless and irresponsible.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  243. Elizabeth Torres Evans

    Jack,
    Our world has changed and our place in it. The rules that applies in WWII, the Cold War, Bay of Pigs and even Vietnam, do not apply any longer. Our President has set a course of world recognition and definition tof the US that is thrlling and powerful at the same time...But, there is an old saying, keep your friends close and your enemies closer...don't be surprised it you see more hugs and handshakes...

    Elizabeth
    Evans Ridge, NC

    April 20, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  244. Anthony

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    I think President Obama’s outreach to Chavez is not only responsible but smart. As with any kind of relationship, communication is the key. Without communication with so called enemy states, there is no way of being able to build a better relationship. Try not talking with your significant other after several disagreements and see if your relationship improves or worstens. All I can say is have a good divorce attorney!

    corrected version of previous email

    April 20, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  245. Doug in NC

    Jack,

    Obama could in no way ever please the Rep Party. He can scratch his nose and they'd say he did that wrong or made some offensive gesture and of course we have Newt the "I complain about everything that's Democrat"getting on the morning shows...Just how does he do that?.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  246. Maria B.

    It is not irresponsible for The President to interact with Mr. Chavez. Its the godfather 101- keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

    The global economy is interconnected and we have to be able to engage in diplomacy with every country. Especially a country that is our third largest supplier of oil.

    Any action on President Obamas part is better than the inaction of the last 8 years.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  247. Jeff J

    This is the first time in 8 years that we have had responsible leadership in the Presidency. Hugo Chavez has often said he had no problem with the United Sates. He had a problem with the GW Bush administration. President Obama has made a great start in cleaning us the mess that US foreign policy has become.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  248. Brent Roberts

    The Bush Admin spent 8 years Bantering back and forth with Chavez, did the Bush banter resolve anything? Probably made things worse.. So why not try something different? What is the GOP afraid of... Peace!!!! Better relations!!!! God forbid!!!!

    April 20, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  249. Lynne from Cherry Hill NJ

    Don't hold your breathe until a republican decides to say something productive ! The way they have chosen to react to Obama's election is
    irresponsible and some of the things said about him are borderline treasonous. I cannot understand their objections to having better relations with the rest of the world. The more I hear them talk, the more I see the Dems enlarging their majority in the next election.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  250. Sara

    The Republicans needs to get their panties out of a bunch, the Republicans are scared of big mouth Chavez - Obama is NOT!

    April 20, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  251. johnny b

    As a Bush supporting American, I heartily applaud almost everything Obama has done. The Rebublicans, most especially the conservatives, have no viable ideas on any of the important issues of the moment. OUR President is indefatigable, clever, sincere and has addressed carefully and boldly both domestic and international matters with light speed cadence. Yes, Chavez and some other Latin American leaders are saber rattlers, but I predict Cuba will be a place we again will soon visit for a vacation. Venezuela, Iran and peace with meaning are becoming more plausible with each Obama day.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  252. Harry Dickerson, Bardstown, Ky

    I do not agree that it was "irresponsible" for one simple reason. I'm sure someone has said this before but it deserves repeating: "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer."

    April 20, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  253. Guy

    The Republicans should be concerned about their entire parties irresponsibility over the last 40-50 years (not just the last 8). Not only was our nation collectively ignorant enough to elect George Bush senior we elected his son twice to screw things up even more than his Father. Active participation in Foreign policy without bombs and bullets may require a hand shake now and then with someone you don't agree with. Kennedy met Kruschev and was later able to face him down in the Cuban missle crisis. I have confidence Obama can do the same. To the Republican party as we've known it...if you want to go more than 6 feet under that's fine...keep digging and R.I.P.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  254. Chris T

    Of course it was a republican senator saying obamas shaking hands with Chaves was irresponsible. What I think is irresponsible is the GOP new standard of obstructionism. We need both parties for the USA to work. The current GOP leadership seems to be hell bent on destroying the legitimacy of there own party.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  255. Ermir Bajraktari

    “Every street has two sides, the shady side and the sunny. When two men shake hands and part, mark which of the two takes the sunny side; he will be the younger man of the two.” by Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton.

    Ermir
    Fairfax, Va

    April 20, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  256. denis

    We saw how "responsible" foreign policy led to our isolation over the last 8 years. Chavez would likely have used any interaction with Obama to his benefit, so it's good that Obama has established an opportunity for dialogue. Hopefully this also leads to an opportunity for a Democrat to replace Sen. Ensign.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  257. David G. Terpenning

    No, it was not irresponsible for President Obama to talk and shake hands with President Chavez. He was merely being a gentlemen.

    It would be wonderful, if the Republicans would keep their mouths shut and stop being so negative about everything.

    Dr. T

    April 20, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  258. Lou, Vancouver

    I disagree with the entire premise of the Senator from Nevada. This isn't about Obama. Chavez lost his moral authority when he removed term limits in his country allowing him to run for President over and over again. Obama had absolutely nothing to do with that. Are they going to blame Obama for everything? The next time rain falls on someone's parade, what is this Senator from Nevada going to say?

    April 20, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  259. Cynthia Johnson

    Would Republican Senator John Ensign preferred a bloody war with our young men and women sacrificing their lives due to the ignorance of Bush like Politics ? What is wrong with Senator Ensign ? The Republicans had their chance now lets all root for the best outcomes. We are all in the same boat get over being jealous and hateful we all need to pick up a pail and help bail out the nation. We'll never make it with hateful desires. Mr. Chavez extended his hand in peace . President Obama is intelligent he understands what it takes to mend fences.

    cyndy Johnson
    Milwaukee

    April 20, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  260. Steve

    No. So far, imo our president hasnt show himself to be irresponsible in any area of his presidency. Is he perfect? No. Nor is he irresponsible. I have trust in this president...more than any president in my 53 years.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  261. Manuel Briceno

    Sickening!! Is OK for dictators to kill and do as they please, Just scream and wait long enough and the americans will eventually approve or at least not interfere with your power grab and their presidents will love to have a picture souvenir taken with you.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  262. J White

    What else can they say. He is doing just what he said he would do.They have to complain about something, it's all they have, nothing constructive, nothing really different, this is their way of working together towards a common goal? What a joke they have become

    April 20, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  263. Gloria

    Are you kidding me? What should President Obama have done? If he had ignored Chavez and rudely turned away, the Republicans would be accusing Obama of giving the United States a bad name. President Obama simply cannot win with these Republicans. They find fault with absolutely everything he does. Americans all know who Chavez is and what he stands for. How small-minded can you be to believe that this ten second encounter is going to change our world! Chavez approached Obama, not the other way around. Our president took the high road...how fitting that the Republicans see that as a failure!

    Gloria Salem,MA

    April 20, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  264. Nigel Gordon, (Ontario)

    Saying President Obama was being irresponsible in his behaviour with Chavez is ridiculous. He was going there to open relations, not to judge Chavez for his actions. Whether Chavez is as good as a saint or as bad as a genocidal maniac is not the issue. Would you have expected Obama to go to Cuba and yell at Chavez, telling him his actions are wrong? How do you think Chavez would react to that? Might as well expect Obama to jump into a snake pit and tell them not to bite people. At least if Obama makes the relations friendly Chavez may change through acculturation. Obama did an impeccable thing and may well have stopped the tension and cultural hate between Cubans And Americans. We should cheer and praise Obama for his actions, not chastise him.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  265. Allyson Bowen

    No, it is not irresponsible! What is irresponsible is my fellow Republicans trying to grab headlines by undercutting the President at every turn!

    April 20, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  266. Helen Murphy

    It is time for the GOP talking heads and cable noise to wake up to the fact that the cold war is OVER and it is time to repair the image of the US all over the world. President Obama's image shaking hands with a dictator demonstrates his strength as a leader. He rises above the petty name-calling BS. Other countries respect him and in turn will respect the USA. The republican party is in such horrible dissarray that they will complain about anything President Obama does. Why don't they focus on trying to help repair the damage their President has done to our country over the past 8 years and shut up about a president who has done more in 90 days than Bush as done in 8 years to help this country.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  267. Frank Flynn

    On the president's handshake, oh, how scary! Remember when President Bush held hands with the Saudi King. That jester went on and on. How scary was that, I ask? Remember the saying, "Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer." These two idiots, the former Speaker of the House, and the Junior Senator from my home state of Nevade should spend their time fixing problems and not this petty crap that they seem to delight in. Its headline grabbing, that is all I can say about this waste of time on all levels.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  268. coninpa

    As a nation we have forgotten what it's like to take the HIGH road on absolutely anything.
    We have forgotten what it's like to LEAD with silent power and NOT a clenched fist.
    To lead with morals and ethics.
    To lead as a democracy, you must treat people you don't agree with POLITELY. Doesn't mean you agree with them, you are just using GOOD MANNERS.
    To LEAD, one must act as a LEADER. We have forgotten what that is like....TO LEAD with our heads held HIGH.
    CHANGE IS GOOD!
    The GOP and their continuous trumped outrage is MORE OF THE SAME...and we voted that out of office!

    April 20, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  269. thom nelson

    no. the conservative politicians are either ignorant or in denial or both about fifty years of support ant training of state sponsored terrorism and training of the likes of the contras, the Rios montt regime in Guatemala, and the brutal right wing death squads among many many others. The presidents charming diplomatic approach was a breath of fesh air to our wary South American neighbors.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  270. Rolando DePuy

    Jack I love you, but the question tells me that no one has taken the time to either look at the photos, or the expressions of both stateman. While Chavez was a Dog trying to smell Obama, It was quite obvious that President Obama, gaved polite smiles, and at one point when he was given the book, it was quite obvious Obama was not happy with that gesture. It was in response to those who were sitting beside him that he smile. It was quite evident that Chavez is not a trained dog. The Media, the Lawmakers give him more credit that he himself recognizes in him. Mr. Chavez is a Dumb Dumb and it was obvious to me, that Obama in respect of all the people gathered at the summit, put up with him instead of telling him what the King of Spain told Chavez.... To much time given to a street dog with so many street dog owners

    April 20, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  271. Kay Callison

    On Chavez and Obama. Of course not! I hope that we can become friends with Chavez and Venezuela - he does not hate the US or Americans - quite the contrary - what he hated was the Bush administration and its policies. Please do yourselves a favor and educate yourself more about Chavez, and his attempts to bring a new form of socialism to Latin America. True, the full book is still out on him, but he is absolutely not the monster portrayed CNN and the other MSM. Finally, PLEASE stop showing yourselves to be the ignoramuses you apparently are about Eduardo Galeano's OPEN VEINS OF LATIN AMERICA. It is a seminal, classic text on the history of western exploitation of Latin American resources for the last 500 YEARS!! Going back to the conquistadores. It is taught in all Latin AMerican studies departments, and I wouldn't be surprised if our brilliant president hasn't already read it. He almost certainly would know about it.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  272. UNNI VERA

    Pres. Obama was not irresponsible. He responded to what I would call an ambush from Chavez, who never seem to follow protocol anywhere. Was he not told by King Juan Carlos (of Spain) just last year at a forum to "... shut up ..."? Pres. Obama, by being cordial, might have avoided a Chaves erruptiion by his actions. Go-go Pres. Obama!

    Unni
    La Mesa, CA

    April 20, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  273. Abdi (Ottawa, ON)

    Last time I checked, Pres. Obama was a human being. Showing courtesy and manners to other world leaders is not a sign of weakness nor is it irresponsible. I believe it's time that the United States put down its shield down and realize that shaking hands does not constitute as taking arms.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  274. charles lisnet

    absolutely not.The man that made this comment still believes that anybody that disagrees with you has to be clobbered on the head. Just think of the results of that wonderful strategy administered for the past 8 years.
    Charles

    April 20, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  275. Mike - Glen Ellyn, IL

    If sitting back and allowing poor relations with any country to worsen is widely considered the responsible thing to do, then I fear the direction that this nation is heading in. Obama's meetings with foreign leaders can only benefit the United States' international relations. Like in business, sometimes it is necessary to display a false smile and force oneself to cooperate with someone that is difficult to work with in order to benefit both parties.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  276. GEORGE

    Jack,

    It's about time the GOP shut up and start doing something. All they find time is to criticize and find fault in almost everything our President is trying to do. From this chance meeting with Hugo Chavez the GOP deducts that Obama was playing into the hand of this nutty dictator. On the contrary, President Obama was being the gentleman that he is and if you notice it is Hugo Chavez who lunges at him. The President did the right thing, he was a gentleman and polite. Why dosn't the GOP take some lessons from this President and not their President who thank God we no longer have to hear or see. President Obama is better for the world stage than Bush who mucked it up no matter where he went.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  277. Ann Holt

    Trading arms for hostages (Iran Contra) Reagan..irresponsible.
    Launching a pre-emptive war against a country that had nothing to do with 9-11 (Iraq) Bush..irresponsible.
    Shaking hands with the leader of a country that is the FOURTH LARGEST EXPORTER of OIL to the US (Obama).. not so irresponsible.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  278. Steve Soller

    Absolutely! He was obsequious, and thereby gave credence, to a leftist dictator. He accepted a gift, a book that blames the country he represents for all of South America's ills. What's next? Sidling up to Kim Jong Il and kissing him on both cheeks? Hopefully the ones on his face.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  279. Danny Clemons

    Everything I saw Chavez do and say was not "anti-American" but rather "anti-Bush" which seems to voice the same sentiments of the American public. When Bush/Cheney oil prices were through the roof Chavez was selling heating oil to Americans at a price we could afford when it was desperately needed. He called Bush the devil "el diablo" (sic) not America.
    Getting these leaders to TALK about human rights violations is far overdue and getting them to DO something about it is exactly what OBAMA is stressing needs to be done to show they are serious.
    I wish him well.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  280. dmeezy

    America shouldn't fear any country. Chavez tested this president by saying things that would have certainly sent the past administration into a cave refusing to put the greater good first based on childish insults. If Chavez thinks Mr Obama is an ignoramous then Mr. Obama is already one up on him. By refusing his hand he would surely proven Chavezs' point in front of the world.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  281. Maritza

    Jack, I studied that book "The open Veins of Latin America" A very smart journalis(Eduardo Galeano) such as yourself wrote the book . The books is only describing how the imperialism and the transnational corporations exploited the indian population and the very poor people in those countries; with the help of the cia and goverments from capitalist countries.just by the hunger of resources such a gold and silver. I am agree that every American and Latin American should read this book. Therefore President Obama will learn a lot of the history of latin america if he reads the book. I also believe that there is nothing wrong wit having a courtesy and say hi to the guess of the conference after all they should behave as civilized citizen of the world.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  282. Bill from Maine

    Jack:

    I suspect the Republicans who disapprove of the President shaking hands with Hugo Chavez are the same ones who privately long for a resumption of the Cold War. The problem is, the world has outgrown that kind of provincialism and if we're going to avoid a Hot War, someone has to take the first step and start talking. I'm glad it's us.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  283. Bill Canada

    The Republican party of Iran/Contra, and Abu Ghraib fame whose stalwart Rumsfeld once shook hands with Sadam never cease to amaze. Dont they remember the Republican who said Speak softly and carry a big stick (isnt your stick big enough Newt)

    April 20, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  284. Christine Stewart

    Hi Jack:
    Every building starts with a foundation. We needed that handshake and smile to start a foundation towards diplomacy. We got nowhere with hadtred and insults. President Obama is nobody's fool. H e knows these things. We were hated around the world for eight years, he is fence mending and has a lot more countries to go. The steps he is making are baby steps, and he hasn't given away anything except good will. That's why he is so respected by so many!

    April 20, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  285. Johannes

    Every time a republican opens his/her mouth and critizes the president, is a testimony that Obama is doing the right thing.
    In short Obama should always do what the republicans are against of.
    And I love it.

    Ft. Lauderdale, Fl.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  286. george in Florida

    Jack, since the "invasion" of the Americas by the British, Spanish and others, Central and South American societies have too often been under the dominance of Europeans and, later, America. Their native populations were slaughtered or enslaved. Their politics in later centuries were tampered with, not least in the U.S. backed coup of Pinochet in Chile that resulted in tens of thousands of disappeared Chileans. The book given to President Obama would likely be a very good read (I'm ordering it), along with a few others on the topic. Point being, someone like Chavez appeals to his people when he takes on the colonial style treatment of Latin American nations. No, Jack, it was not reprehensible to shake hands with Chavez. The time has arrived to accept that we do not control the world. We need to reach out to all nations and seek mutual understanding on as many issues as possible. We may not agree with Chavez, but Venezuela isn't our country, is it?

    April 20, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  287. Michael Phillips

    First, our President was ambushed by Chavez for a photo op. Mr. Obama responded graciously. Should he have put up his dukes? Secondly, isn't it arrogant to suggest we should not respond with the commonly accepted gesture of greeting or acknowledgement–a handshake–for another country's representative? Who among world leaders has such clean hands?

    April 20, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  288. Joyce Zanone

    No, I don't think it was irresponsaible to be friendly to Chavez. Rome was not built in day, we have to start rebuilding somehow. The last eight years calling countries the axis of evil was more damaging than anything Obama has done.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  289. Delane

    President Obama didn't seek Chavez out, and Chavez took the book to Obama's seat. Chavez was the agressor in this instance.

    Seems Sen. Ensign is attempting some of that diddlin' David Gergen mentioned, 'cept he's tryin' to do it to the American people (sorry, I want no pats of it, thank you very much). If that's all he had to say, he should have saved his breath!

    Obama's being the gentleman whatever the situation, will win in the end.

    Norfolk, VA

    April 20, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  290. Jim in Townsend, WI

    Bush's strategy was a gross failure, and although I don't appreciate Chavez's comments about MY President, he was largely correct. Obama is doing what I hired him to do–put forward a positive face, put the past in the past and try to build bridges for the future.
    Jim
    Townsend, WI

    April 20, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  291. Dick

    Much of Chavez' criticism of US actions in Central America and South America is warranted. It's time for new ideas and new foreign policy.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  292. Jan - Lancaster, PA

    To make something out of a simple diplomatic hansdshake is petty. We voted for a President who is a statesman and advocates diplomacy. GOOD JOB, Mr. President !!!

    April 20, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  293. Jason, Koloa, HI

    Not only is it not irresponsible it was a great opportunity for Obama to hear how nationalizing oil companies can benefit all the citizens of a country and not just an elite group of robber-barons. Since the nationalization of Venezuelan oil companies the standard of living for the average citizen has skyrocketed in that S.American country, no matter what anyone says about him being a dictator. I have no problem with Obama meeting with Chavez as long as he’s taking notes. Did you see all the oil companies at the top of the Fortune 500? Didn't Exxon report the most profits in the history of the world last year? Who decided that natural resuorces belong to a handful of people anyway? I guess this comment won't get posted again because Exxon is a sponsor of "The situation Room". Any real jounalists on Jack's staff?

    April 20, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  294. Allen M. Worob

    I disagree that President Obama erred in trying to open up a communication channel with Hugo Chavez. President Obama was forthcoming and diplomatic. Chauvez, not long after pulled a cheap cheesy trick with his book gift. Let all officials present from South America, and the allies and adversaries of the United States globally see for themselves who took the high road, and who acted immaturely. We Americans lead by setting the right example. THis is true whether others choose to follow it or not. By so doing, we earn respect from those open to granting it where it belongs.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  295. Kal Karazoun

    I don't agree because we elected Obama as president and we think he is the best man fit to do the job.
    If someone thinks they can do the president's job then they need to run for president, get elected and do the job as they wish.
    A handshake is not the end of the world, actually, if it makes a friend then let's shake hands.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  296. Liz from NYC

    What's irresponsible is the coverage given to this nonsense by the media. I suggest the media return to school and learn the definition of journalism and then comport themselves as journalist & not some type of tabloid press.
    Secondly, I would suggest everyone go back to Manners School where they teach you how to greet people, etc. And when everyone, including this Sen. Ensign has attended Manners School, you should all take a minute to think the amounts of times you've had to shake someone's hand who yo did not like, care for, etc. while attending a party, meeting, etc. There are more important matters to deal with, act like journalists and stop , do some research, but top this "Entertainment Tonight" type-coverage.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  297. Leon

    As a registered republican I beleive I have an unbiased opinion when I say, "When did the GOP become the representatives of responsibility?" Certainly not when they were in the majority.
    New Orleans

    April 20, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  298. Debi Anderson

    I don't think President Obama has an irresponsible bone in his body. The problem is that there are too many Americans who have no idea about what the world is like outside their own backyard. President Obama has a marvelous cultural sensitivity and global worldview...kudos to his mother, a cultural anthropologist who probably had much to do with teaching him to embrace diversity, rather than just tolerate it! Even tolerance implies knowledge, and the average American is sadly lacking, including politicians!

    Cultural anthropology should be high school requirement! Then, when they get to my college classroom, they will already know there is a big, beautiful world out there!

    Debi Anderson

    April 20, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  299. Carolyn

    I don't see any harm in shaking hands with Chaves. In life sometimes you deal with people that you don't agree with on everything. . This hand shake gesture is northing more than being polite.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  300. Philip

    Years ago, I built a team of trainers who taught law enforcement officers a forty-hour course on Asian Crime. A San Francisco Sergeant taught a two-hour block entitled "Compromise and Manipulation." The thrust of this block was to demonstrate for Plainclothes and Uniformed Officers how they must consider all of their actions and behavior when working in the Asian Community. The greatest visual aid the trainer used was a single photograph. In it, members of San Francisco's major Chinese gangs were photographed on a stage presenting the San Francisco Mayor and Chief of Police accepting one of those monster checks as a "Donation." Unfortunately, translators informed us, captions placed under the photograph and disseminated around the Pacific Rim sent a different message – the Police and Government of San FRancisco are "in the pocket" of the Chinese Gangs and they accept dirty money.

    The obliviousness of the two confident leaders in San Francisco when that image was captured during the 1980s was subsequently explained as one in which "they knew their motives and the real purpose for accepting the check." No one on the Gang Task Force of the Police Department there could get them or their aides to understand how they had been compromised and manipulated.

    This recent matter illustrates many parallels and low ranking cops – from any political party – who took that two-hour block of instruction on "Compromise and Manipulation" could go down the checklist and explain why the setting was designed to compromise and manipulate and how it was that our President has been manipulated and posibly compromised.

    April 20, 2009 at 5:29 pm |