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Obama’s boast

“At a closed-door, off-the-record meeting with media mavens and corporate titans at the Time Warner Center in Manhattan Tuesday evening,Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., the freshman senator who just three years ago was an Illinois state senator, said he had better judgment about foreign policy than any presidential candidate in either party,” Jake Tapper of ABC News writes at abc.go.com.

“ ’One thing I’m very confident about is my judgment in foreign policy is, I believe, better than any other candidate in this race, Republican or Democrat,’ Obama said.

“Others in the race have spent decades in the foreign policy world, including Senate Foreign Relations ChairmanSen. Joe Biden, D-Del., Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., who visited 82 countries as first lady, Vietnam veteran Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., and former Vietnam prisoner of war Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz,” Mr. Tapper said.

“But Obama said, ‘The notion that somehow from Washington you get this vast foreign policy experience is illusory.’

“The Clinton campaign begged off commenting, but campaigning in New Hampshire and told of Obama’s remark, Sen. McCain offered a sarcastic reply.

“ ’Well, I also think I’m the most qualified to run the decathlon because I watch sports on television all the time,’ McCain said, according to the Associated Press.”

Gonzales papers

Documents indicate eight congressional leaders were briefed about the Bush administration’s terrorist surveillance program on the eve of its expiration in 2004, contradicting sworn Senate testimony this week by Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, the Associated Press reports.

At a heated Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday, Mr. Gonzales repeatedly testified that the issue at hand in the March 10, 2004, meeting was not the warrantless terrorist surveillance program but an intelligence program that he would not describe. Mr. Gonzales testified that the White House Situation Room briefing sought to inform top lawmakers about the pending expiration of the unidentified program and Justice Department dissent against renewing it.

“The dissent related to other intelligence activities,” Mr. Gonzales testified Tuesday. “The dissent was not about the terrorist surveillance program.”

“Not the TSP?” responded Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat. “Come on. If you say it’s about other, that implies not. Now say it or not.”

“It was not,” Mr. Gonzales answered. “It was about other intelligence activities.”

A four-page memo from the national intelligence director’s office says the White House briefing was about the terror surveillance program, or TSP.

The memo, dated May 17, 2006, and addressed to then-House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, details “the classification of the dates, locations, and names of members of Congress who attended briefings on the Terrorist Surveillance Program,” wrote then-Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte.

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