Soledad O’Brien, Peter King battle over 'apology'
Politico -- by Katie Glueck
New York Rep. Peter King and CNN’s Soledad O’Brien sparred Monday over whether President Barack Obama went abroad on an “apology tour” - as some Republicans have characterized it - after taking office.
“Never once in that speech, as you know…I have the speech right here…he never once used the word ‘apology,’” O’Brien said, referring to Obama’s 2009 address in Cairo. “He never once said, ‘I’m sorry.’”
“He didn’t have to,” King shot back. “Any logical reading of that speech, or the speech he gave in France, where he basically said that the United States can be too aggressive.”
O’Brien interrupted, offering the date of that speech—“April 3, 2009”—and adding, “but that’s not apology.”
“He was overseas, criticizing American officials and the CIA and others,” said King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. “When he says that we lost our ideals—these are the people who kept us safe for eight, nine years against Islamic terrorists.”
The CNN host, brandishing copies of Obama’s speeches, said, “I’m trying to find the words, ‘I’m sorry,’ ‘I apologize,’ in any of those speeches.”
She added that the website Factcheck.org has debunked the notion that the president went on an “apology tour.”
“I don’t care what Factcheck says,” King said.
“They’re a fact-checker!” O’Brien said. “You may not care, but they’re a fact-checker.”
King again stressed context.
“Any common-sense interpretation of those speeches, the president’s apologizing for the American position,” he said. “That’s the apology tour. That’s the way it’s interpreted in the Middle East. If I go over there and say that the U.S. has violated its principles, that the United States has not shown respect for Islam, that’s an apology. How else can it be interpreted?”
O’Brien had a different—and heated—interpretation.
“I think plenty of people are interpreting it as a nuanced approach to diplomacy, is how some people are interpreting it,” she said. “So I don’t think everybody agrees it’s apology.”
“I don’t interpret it that way,” King said.
“Well, clearly,” O’Brien interrupted again.
“More important,” King continued, “our enemies don’t interpret it that way.”
“Well, I don’t know that that’s necessarily the case,” O’Brien said. “I think that’s what we’re trying to figure out.”
There, King conceded, she had a point.
“I think it is,” he said. “That’s where we have an honest difference of opinion.”