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Monday, July 30, 2012

Dennis Ross leaving politics just when Obama needs him most

This story by Eli Lake seems a little ominous for the Obama campaign: Dennis Ross is bowing out of politics rather than defend Obama's record.
Dennis Ross, a longtime diplomat and a key architect of the Oslo peace process under President Clinton—a man who worked for the Obama campaign during the 2008 Democratic primaries despite his previous loyalty to the Clintons—won’t be campaigning for Obama this time, Ross confirmed to The Daily Beast.

“I am the Counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy,” Ross said in an email on Friday. “The Washington Institute is a non-profit organization and I cannot do political work from here. When I acted for the campaign in 2008, I had to take a leave of absence to do so. Having only recently returned to the Institute, I cannot now again take a leave of absence.”

...

“Ambassador Ross was obviously the No. 1 pro-Israel surrogate for the Obama campaign in 2008,” said Josh Block, a former press aide for the Clinton administration and former top spokesman for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. “The fact that after three years of working on Mideast policy side-by-side with the president, Ambassador Ross has decided to sit out this campaign, unlike other former top officials now at nonpartisan think tanks, will certainly be understood as a message of its own, intentionally or unintentionally.”

Ross himself said, “I can give substantive advice to the administration, the president’s campaign, or any campaign that would ask for it. And, of course, when I speak I can talk about my views on policy and I have been supportive of the president’s policy on leading foreign-policy issues.”

That’s a departure from Ross’s hands-on work with the Obama administration over the past four years.
Read the whole thing. I'm sure Ross knew when he took this position that he would have to sit out the campaign. Are the rats leaving the sinking ship?

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