Bloomberg's Fred Kempe: Obama 'Center-Right on Foreign Policy'

July 27th, 2008 1:45 AM
Barack Obama's overseas trip this past week proved “he's not a left-wing ideologue” or a “dove” and, “if anything, he's center, even center-right, on foreign policy issues,” Bloomberg News world affairs columnist Fred Kempe, a veteran of the Wall Street Journal, declared on this weekend's Political Capital show which airs several times Friday night and Saturday on Bloomberg TV.

Host Al Hunt, formerly Executive Washington Editor of the Wall Street Journal, opened the segment with Kempe by showing video of Obama shooting a basketball as he enthused, “You might call it the shot heard 'round the world: Barack Obama, at a military base in Kuwait, meeting with the troops and sinking a three-pointer.” Asked his assessment of Obama's trip, Kempe echoed: “If it weren't a three-point shot, I would have called it a slam dunk. In any case, wherever he went he had perfect pitch.” Hunt concluded the segment: “From a three-point shot to 200,000 people in Berlin, it was an extraordinarily memorable week.”

The full quote from Kempe, President of the Atlantic Council of the United States, on what the trip to Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, Germany and France revealed about Obama's ideology:
I think in general he's shown people he's not a left-wing ideologue. If anything, he's center, even center-right, on foreign policy issues in the way he was talking on this trip.
Kempe based his assessment on how Israeli Prime Minister Olmert's office was “hugely impressed with him” and how in his speech in Berlin he called upon Europeans to provide more troops for Afghanistan. Plus:
He's moved the debate to Afghanistan. He's saying this is the new area, this is the front in the war on terror. He's saying “I'm not a dove, I just think we put the troops in the wrong place. I'm going to put more troops in Afghanistan.” So he showed he could stand up to the military and talk to the Generals, but he also said I'm willing to put troops where they ought to be, but I don't think that they should be in Iraq as much as Afghanistan.
Kempe's Atlantic Council bio highlights his Wall Street Journal career:
Kempe left the Wall Street Journal following more than a quarter century of distinguished work. He was most recently assistant managing editor, International, and "Thinking Global" columnist for the Wall Street Journal, based in New York. He was previously for seven years the longest serving editor and associate publisher ever of the Wall Street Journal Europe and was European editor for the global Wall Street Journal from 2002 to 2005, also overseeing Middle Eastern reporting.