Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Before Obama, Hugo Chavez was shaking hands in Hickory

President Obama's handshake with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez during a summit of Western Hemisphere leaders left many Republicans steaming.

Republican senator John Ensign of Nevada called it "irresponsible for the President to be seen kind of laughing and joking with Hugo Chavez." Even the former vice president weighed in.

But eight years ago this week, it was a Republican laughing and joking with Chavez -- in of all places, Hickory.

It was the only U.S. stop Chavez made on his way back from a Summit of the Americas in Quebec. He spent two days with then-GOP Rep. Cass Ballenger, who hosted a barbecue dinner for the leftist leader at his home. The two also toured several businesses, including Ballanger's, and visited a day care center.

Ballenger, chairman of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee of International Relations, had met Chavez on a trip to Venezuela and said the two "hit it off."

Chavez took home a pair of baseball socks made for him at Catawba County Community College and a favorable impression of at least one corner of America.

"We've seen Cass' business, we spoke with his workers," Chavez said at the time. "This should be the idea of capitalism."


jt said...

i thought the saying was keep your friends close and your enemies closer....i think it is absolutely the right thing to do

Anonymous said...

Obama did not defend his country to from the verbal attacks of banana republic dictators. Bowing to one of the perennial top 3 parade mag dictators and essentially lowering the prestige of the highest seat in the land, he shows incredible weakness. He treats his own countrymen who disagree with him worse than those who would stifle the very freedoms we hold dear. He is an embarrassment to me and freedom loving people everywhere.

schmakt said...

that's awesome... how did I not know that Chavez was in Hickory? I totally would have gone home to try and see him. I love Hugo Chavez. Everything he said about America under bush was spot on, and seeing Obama shake is hand is one of the highlights of my year, thus far.

Anonymous said...

Definately an awkward moment for Obama and his administration. I don't really think the handshake was anticipated. I really do think that good relations should be spurred with Chavez as he poses quite a problem for the United States. Though unexpected, I hope this handshake encourages talks amongst the two governments.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone in here know which foreign A*S*S Obama is kissing today? He hasn't been to North Korea yet to grovel so maybe Kim Jung Il better get his touche polished up and ready to present to Barry.

Anonymous said...


Didn't you know? It's okay if you're a Republican.

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