BMJ Stone
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Hohmann and Barnard, Inc.
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Kennison Forest Products, Inc.
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August 22, 2008 10:05 AM CDT

From Russia with Love

Russian aggression becomes a campaign issue


Last week had some unexpected events that may influence the Presidential election. The first and so far most talked about is the Russian invasion of Georgia. The second is the capture of one of the FBI’s wanted terrorists, a female American-educated Pakistani neuroscientist. In this blog, I’m going to focus on the Russian invasion of Georgia.

Unfortunately for Senator Obama, he was on his Hawaiian vacation during a huge foreign policy event where he is already perceived to have tremendous weakness. His response so far has been muddled, and by many accounts un-presidential. The one area where he has attempted to go on offense was to point out that Sen. McCain has a senior foreign policy advisor who once represented Georgia. At the time of this blog he hasn’t placed sole blame on this aggressive action on Russia. He seems to be the only one in the Western World who hasn’t. Even the leadership of both parties in the House issued a joint statement condemning Russia.

John McCain, on the other hand, has a personal friendship with the President of Georgia, has visited several times, and was the first to point out and blame Russia for its aggressive tactics against its sovereign neighbor. One candidate has been all over the TV networks appearing very presidential; the other has been on vacation in Hawaii and can’t decide whether of not Russia has invaded Georgia. They say timing is everything in life and in politics. On this one, the old motto is correct. Newsflash to Barack Obama and his campaign staff: Bring him home now and start dealing with this crisis.

On a related note, wouldn’t it be refreshing to see McCain and Obama issue a joint statement condemning Russia for its actions? That would be the type of change America is looking for.

About the Author

Matthew B. Keelen, founder and President of the government affairs firm The Keelen Group, is a widely known and highly regarded lobbyist and political strategist with experience building relationships with key figures and a reputation for consistently delivering hard-earned victories. Acknowledged for his innate ability to establish and develop long lasting political relationships, Keelen has dozens of time-tested relationships with Members of Congress, including many who are in positions of considerable influence today. To learn more about The Keelen Group, visit


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