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Who’s Up, Who’s Down: Foreign Policy on the Campaign Trail

Everywhere we turned this week, presidential contenders were working to score public relations points with posturing on foreign policy.

Here’s the quick summary, along with some verdicts about whether they came out ahead or behind in the image game:

Barack Obama was branded as “irresponsible” by Pakistan’s foreign minister after saying that, as president, he might unilaterally decide to send troops to combat terrorism there. A week ago, the Illinois senator was fighting off bad foreign policy PR after announcing, at the CNN/You Tube debate, that he would commit to diplomatic meetings with the leaders of Iran and other rogue states. Which is it – too hard or too soft? Verdict: DOWN.

Mitt Romney cites Hezbollah as a model for “health diplomacy.” Point well taken, but still. Verdict: DOWN.

The GOP contenders – minus Iraq stalwart John McCain – begin to distance themselves from Bush on the war. Will they open themselves up to flip-flopping charges down the road? Clearly, they’re willing to risk it. Verdict: UP.

John Edwards gets out from under Clinton-Obama by talking tough against the Saudi arms deal. Verdict: UP.

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