Obama, Contrary to Carter, Draws the Line at Meeting with Hamas

ABC News' Sunlen Miller Reports: President Jimmy Carter is heading to Syria next week and is slated to meet with Hamas representatives.

This presents a unique situation for presidential candidate Barack Obama – who is well documents saying he'd meet with America's "friends and enemies" if he were President, one difference he has with Senator Clinton.

But Obama draws the line at meeting with Hamas.

In a statement issued today by Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki, the Senator does not agree with Carter sitting down with Hamas, "Senator Obama does not agree with President Carter's decision to go forward with this meeting because he does not support negotiations with Hamas until they renounce terrorism, recognize Israel's right to exist, and abide by past agreements. As President, Obama will negotiate directly with the head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas."

Obama explained his position on March 3rd in San Antonio as well.

When questioned by ABC's David Wright if Hamas fell into the category of meeting with adversaries, Obama said no, “It does not include Hamas. They are not heads of state and they don't recognize Israel. You can't negotiate with somebody who doesn't recognize the right of the country to exist. So I understand why Israel doesn't meet with Hamas.”

Obama said that Hamas are not heads of state, even though they won the election, and are not even recognized by the head of the Palestinian authority at this point.

"I think that it is entirely legitimate to make distinctions between those who are heads of state, heads of established countries and those who have advocated terrorism," Obama concluded, "I think that is a perfectly appropriate distinction to draw."

Obama said its clear what terms will be required in order to legitimatize talks: "a recognition of Israel, a renunciation of violence and making sure that prior agreements are respected."

Former president Carter holds one of the remaining highly coveted endorsements in the Democratic primary. Last Thursday, while Carter was in Nigeria, he hinted at his support for Obama, "My children and their spouses are pro-Obama. My grandchildren are also pro-Obama…as a superdelegate, I would not disclose who I am rooting for, but I leave you to make that guess."

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