Over the past few weeks, Barack Obama and John McCain have been squabbling over whether or not a president should meet with hostile foreign leaders – and, if he does, under what conditions.
Now a Gallup poll suggests a majority of Americans believe their president should talk to the leaders of enemy countries.
Roughly two out of three of those polled say such diplomacy is a good idea – including about half of those Republicans surveyed.
When asked specifically whether or not the U.S. president should meet with the leader of Iran, nearly 60 percent of those polled said yes.
Obama has said he would meet with leaders of hostile countries without preconditions, arguing that "strong countries and strong presidents talk to their adversaries." (It should be noted that Obama's exact position on this issue is somewhat vague – he says there still need to be "preparations" before such a meeting were to take place, even if there aren't "preconditions.")
Both McCain and Hillary Clinton have criticized Obama for his position, suggesting it implies a naiveté and dangerous inexperience. President George W. Bush has implied that it amounts to the sort of appeasement that was employed in dealing with Nazis.
Appearing at a meeting of the Jewish lobbying group American Israel Public Affairs Committee today, McCain said, "It's hard to see what such a summit with [Iranian] President [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad would actually gain, except an earful of anti-Semitic rants, and a worldwide audience for a man who denies one Holocaust and talks before frenzied crowds about starting another."
Also today, Ahmadinejad once again suggested Israel "will soon be destroyed."
"I must announce that the Zionist regime, with a 60-year record of genocide, plunder, invasion and betrayal is about to die and will soon be erased from the geographical scene," he said.