Conservatives Falsely Claim Obama Avoided Terror In Cairo Speech

07/05/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Reactions to President Obama's speech today at Cairo University have been overwhelmingly positive, but some conservative voices are griping that Obama's speech left out any mention of terror.

In fact, Obama talked about the September 11th attacks in his third paragraph. Later in the historic speech, the president described the presence of American troops in Afghanistan as a "necessity" born out of the fact that extremists are "determined to kill as many Americans as they possibly can." The president also said that America's commitment to destroying terror networks "will not waver," and that extremists cannot be "tolerate(d)."

But despite these clear comments on terrorism, some pundits are playing word games in an attempt to put a negative spin on the speech.

Fox News Anchor Megan Kelly did just that during her broadcast, misleadingly suggesting terror was ignored. Her guest, Fox Vice President Bill Sammon, went even further by suggesting that Obama intentionally avoided speaking about terrorism.

KELLY: Well, the president talked a lot in his speech today about reaching out to Muslims. What he did not talk a lot about was terror. Bill Sammon is Fox News Vice President of News. [cut] Not one mention of terror, the war on terror, or terrorism. What do you make of it?

SAMMON: Well, I make of it that he has taken us off a war footing as a nation, and it's now clear. When you give a six-thousand-plus word speech to the Muslim world and you don't mention terror, terrorist, or terrorism, that's not an accident.


The American Spectator's editorial director Wlady Pleszczynski had a similarly shallow criticism of the speech:

"Six thousand words and the words "terror," "terrorist," or "terrorism" do not appear even once."

The complaint is utterly insubstantial. While the President may not have used the word "terror", he devoted considerable attention to the issue of violent extremism, reflecting directly on the September 11 attacks and saying, without ambiguity, that such acts cannot be tolerated:

Let us be clear: al Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 people on that day. The victims were innocent men, women and children from America and many other nations who had done nothing to harm anybody. And yet Al Qaeda chose to ruthlessly murder these people, claimed credit for the attack, and even now states their determination to kill on a massive scale. They have affiliates in many countries and are trying to expand their reach. These are not opinions to be debated; these are facts to be dealt with.... Indeed, none of us should tolerate these extremists.

To see what other people have to say about Obama's speech, check out this word cloud.

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