The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Evaluating More Candidate Responses To Bhutto Assassination


The NRO Symposium on Bhutto’s assassination, and the excellent commentary in the Corner, make for thoroughly depressing reading today. Depressing, but necessary.

I can’t criticize the candidates’ statements on Bhutto’s assassination much, with only one or two exceptions. They didn’t say much beyond the obvious, and at this point, we have few real facts about who was behind her assassination. One or two readers wondered if Hillary’s statement was worded to emphasize her years of experience, but I’m not going to raise any stink over it. If Senator Clinton had indeed met Bhutto several times over many years, there’s no reason not to mention that during words of condolence.

The CBS News story notes highlighted in the Corner – offering apologies and not being up to speed on the fact that martial law was rescinded —  ought to be really bad news for Huckabee; as I stated earlier today, I’m not sure how big assassination-related news will play in the first primary states. Still, I think those misstatements will exacerbate the Huck/Not Huck divide in GOP circles. Huck fans will see criticism of those comments as nitpicking (from a Republican party that had no problem with George W. Bush being unable to name Musharaff in 1999); Huck critics will see this as one more piece of evidence that Huckabee is jaw-droppingly unprepared for a dangerous world. In light of his words today, the burden of proof appears to be on Huck’s defenders…

Three bits of news from Bill Richardson in the wake of Bhutto’s assassination. One, he’s calling on Musharraf to step down. Two, he’s calling for a cutoff of all U.S. aid to Pakistan. How that will help isn’t quite clear to me. Three, he’s promising a “major foreign policy address” at the Des Moines Botanical Gardens’ Oak Room tomorrow morning.

Leave it to Mansour Ijaz – yeah, that one — to offer what seemed like the most concrete and constructive proposal:

Gen. Musharraf must immediately call for an independent international investigation into her assassination, led by a blue ribbon panel that determines the extent or not of complicity from Pakistan’s police and intelligence services. This is the most critical decision he can make to avoid appearance of conflict to his ongoing service as president, and to prevent Pakistan’s descent into civil war, or worse, an Islamist coup by army generals who view this moment in Pakistan’s history as their chance to seize the reigns of power, and control of the country’s formidable nuclear arsenal.

Having said that, weren’t we supposed to get a similar international investigation into the Hariri assassination? We’re coming up on the three-year anniversary of his death, and the United Nations investigation is still going on

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson


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