WASHINGTON -- On June 3, 2008, Barack Obama, then a senator from Illinois, secured the necessary delegates to become the Democratic nominee for president. The next day, he spoke before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobby.
For the presumptive nominee, the stakes were high. Not only was this the informal launch of the general election, but it was taking place before a hall of skeptics. Addressing the crowd, Obama remained unbowed on the position they found most indefensible: a promise to talk to the nation's adversaries without preconditions.
"I have no interest in sitting down with our adversaries just for the sake of talking," he explained. "But as president of the United States, I would be willing to lead tough and principled diplomacy with the appropriate Iranian leader at a time and place of my choosing -- if, and only if, it can advance the interests of the United States."
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