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Fareed Zakaria Clarifies 'Advising' Obama (VIDEO) [UPDATE]


First Posted: 05/13/11 01:42 PM ET Updated: 07/13/11 06:12 AM ET

This story has been updated.

CNN's Fareed Zakaria said on Thursday that he has been having regular discussions with President Obama about national security and foreign policy. He then posted a "clarification" of his statement on Saturday.

Asked by Eliot Spitzer on Thursday's "In The Arena" if Obama has been calling him up lately, Zakaria said, "mostly it's been face-to-face meetings...usually organized by Tom Donilon, the national security adviser."

He said Obama was spending a lot of time "thinking about the issues of the Arab Spring," and added, "it's been a very thoughtful conversation. You know, we'll see where it goes."

Zakaria's admission attracted fast criticism from his frequent antagonist, Glenn Beck, who said that Zakaria could not possibly be a neutral arbiter of the Obama administration's policies while he was advising Obama.

On Saturday, Zakaria posted the following clarification:

The characterization that I have been "advising" President Obama is inaccurate. Over the last few months I've had a couple of conversations with the president, off-the-record. At no point did president President Obama ask me for advice on a specific policy or speech or proposal, nor did I volunteer it. I know that he has had similar meetings with other columnists.

Watch the video from Zakaria on Thursday:

Quick Poll

Zakaria's advising President Obama:

What's the big deal?

It crosses the line for a journalist.

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Filed by Jack Mirkinson  |  Report Corrections