by Christi Parsons
LEVITTOWN, Pa.--Hillary Clinton says President Bush should boycott the opening ceremonies of the Olympics in Beijing, but Barack Obama thinks Bush should wait and make the decision closer to the time of the games.
Clinton called on Bush to skip the ceremonies after British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that he would do so. Clinton issued a statement calling on Democratic presidential rival Obama and presumptive Republican nominee John McCain to join in her request.
Activists want world leaders to boycott the games as a statement against China's record on human rights and as a means pressuring Chinese officials to change their policies on Tibet and Darfur.
But Obama said he thinks Bush should wait and decide to boycott the ceremonies only if the Chinese fail to take steps toward change.
"(I)t is past time for China to respect the human rights of the Tibetan people, to allow foreign journalists and diplomats access to the region, and to engage the Dalai Lama in meaningful talks about the future of Tibet," Obama said in a written statement released late Wednesday.
"I am also deeply concerned about China's failure to support efforts to halt the genocide in Darfur," he said. A boycott of the opening ceremonies should be "firmly on the table," he said, "but this decision should be made closer to the games."
Speaking yesterday at the Irish American Forum in New York, Clinton commended Brown for his decision.