Obama-Chavez meeting stirs up the right

You could have seen this coming. President Obama's interactions with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez last weekend at the Summit of Americas have stirred up the right.

The interaction - and Chavez for that matter - has headlined the agenda-setting conservative Drudge Report most of the weekend. Nevada Sen. John Ensign told CNN that Obama's shaking hands and laughing with Chavez was "irresponsible."

"This is a person who is one of the most anti-American leaders in the entire world," Ensign told said on Sunday. "He is a brutal dictator and human rights violations are very, very prevalent in Venezuela. And you have to be careful."

And then there is former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's (R-Ga.) blasting Obama Monday morning and saying the handshake will be used for propaganda.

The blogs have been even tougher. Discussing Obama's defense of the meeting, HotAir's Allahpundit writes: "It's not a question of jeopardizing national security, it's a question of conferring legitimacy upon a cretin who, in a just world, would be radioactively illegitimate. If Obama's going to do that, the least he can do is not play dumb about it."

And RedState's Warner Todd Huston states simply: "Barack Obama has just taken the next step towards a complete disregard for America's foreign policy by back slapping self-professed enemy to the 'great Satan,' tin pot dictator and oppressor, Hugo Chavez."

It will be interesting to see what kind of legs this discontent has. Has Obama undercut his foriegn policy credentials? Or will this quickly be overcome by more economic story and the congressional agenda? Sound off in the the comments section below...

jeremy.jacobs@thehill.com

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