Barack Obama met Wednesday with a new national-security advisory group that includes many of former President Clinton's top advisers, saying that if he's elected president he'll return the nation “to a pragmatic tradition of American foreign policy, which has been so ably advanced by the people in this room.”
With former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Warren Christopher and former Defense Secretary William Perry signing on to a panel already heavy with former Clinton administration officials, Obama continued to consolidate the support of Clinton loyalists after his defeat of Sen. Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination.
Their willingness to advise Obama gives him a team with decades of collective expertise and one that advised the last Democratic president during a decade of peace and prosperity.
At the same time, the Illinois senator's choices for his Senior Working Group on National Security may open him up to more criticism from Republicans that the professed “change” candidate is relying on Washington insiders or that the failure of these former officials to kill or catch Osama bin Laden before the 9-11 attacks left the nation vulnerable.
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Obama told the working group at the Liaison Hotel in Washington that this would be the first of a number of gatherings before the election and that they'd start with “a wide-ranging discussion about the national security challenges facing the United States,” including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, climate change, poverty and disease.
At a news conference later, Obama said that he would bring bin Laden to justice in a way that wouldn't allow the al-Qaida leader to become a martyr but that he may be killed if the U.S. government finds him. The Associated Press contributed.