Transcripts at CNN.com: What did Henry Kissinger really say?
Fact Check at ABCNEWS: Kissinger Defends McCain's Iran Stance
Fact checking the presidential debates
Now lets start with some quotes and some thoughts on those quotes.
Transcript of what Henry Kissinger really said?
KISSINGER: Well, I am in favor of negotiating with Iran. And one utility of negotiation is to put before Iran our vision of a Middle East, of a stable Middle East, and our notion on nuclear proliferation at a high enough level so that they have to study it. And, therefore, I actually have preferred doing it at the secretary of state level so that we -- we know we're dealing with authentic...Oh, I can see how the Lovely Liberals are using this to say Kissinger is stating we should meet with Iran without preconditions... except if you read the whole statement, he's really saying that he prefers negotiating at the Secretary of State level... NOT the Presidential level; and that is what the argument is about.
SESNO: Put at a very high level right out of the box?
KISSINGER: Initially, yes. And I always believed that the best way to begin a negotiation is to tell the other side exactly what you have in mind and what you are -- what the outcome is that you're trying to achieve so that they have something that they can react to.
Now, the permanent members of the Security Council, plus Japan and Germany, have all said nuclear weapons in Iran are unacceptable. They've never explained what they mean by this. So if we go into a negotiation, we ought to have a clear understanding of what is it we're trying to prevent. What is it going to do if we can't achieve what we're talking about?
But I do not believe that we can make conditions for the opening of negotiations. We ought, however, to be very clear about the content of negotiations and work it out with other countries and with our own government.
It isn't about whether or not we would negotiate without preconditions... it's about whether or not the PRESIDENT should be the one to do it!!
Here is a little portion of the 1st Presidential Debate of 2008 and the argument regarding this very thing. Obama HAS stated he would meet with anyone without preconditions. He means that HE PERSONALLY will meet... not someone else... not the Secretary of State... HIM. McCain then states that Kissinger did NOT say that the President is the one to meet without preconditions. McCain might agree with meeting without preconditions... but not HIM PERSONALLY as that gives off a very bad sign to other countries.
McCain Stuns Obama-Catches Him Lying About Kissinger!
Fact Check: Kissinger Defends McCain's Iran Stance
ABC News' Kirit Radia Reports: Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger came to the defense of longtime friend Sen. John McCain following Friday's presidential debate saying he "would not recommend the next President of the United States engage in talks with Iran at the Presidential level."
"Senator McCain is right. I would not recommend the next President of the United States engage in talks with Iran at the Presidential level. My views on this issue are entirely compatible with the views of my friend Senator John McCain. We do not agree on everything, but we do agree that any negotiations with Iran must be geared to reality," Kissinger said in statement issued by the McCain campaign.
Fact checking the presidential debates
OBAMA: "Senator McCain mentioned Henry Kissinger, who is one of his advisers, who along with five recent secretaries of state just said we should meet with Iran — guess what? — without preconditions."I'm sure there's more out there...
MCCAIN: "Dr. Kissinger did not say that he would approve face-to-face meetings between the president of the United States and (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad. He did not say that. He said there could be secretary-level and lower-level meetings. I've always encouraged that."
THE FACTS: Obama was right that Kissinger called for meetings without preconditions. McCain was right that Kissinger did not call for such meetings to be between the two presidents.
In a foreign policy forum Saturday, Kissinger said: "I am in favor of negotiating with Iran." He went on to say "I actually have preferred doing it at the secretary of state level" and the U.S. should go into the talks with "a clear understanding of what is it we're trying to prevent. What is it going to do if we can't achieve what we're talking about? But I do not believe that we can make conditions for the opening of negotiations. We ought, however, to be very clear about the content of negotiations and work it out with other countries and with our own government."