LOS ANGELES–With the official selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as Senator John McCain’s running mate, Armenian-American voters have been offered a stark contrast on issues and positions by the two Presidential tickets.
The Republican Presidential ticket, lead by Senator John McCain, stands in line with the past 8 years of the Bush administration policies of refusing to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, decreased foreign aid to Armenia, and increased military aid to Azerbaijan.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Democratic ticket, lead by Senator Barack Obama, offers a powerful set of positions and policies that will appeal to Armenian-Americans across the country.
In January of 2008, Senator Obama released a statement on the Armenian Genocide and Nagorno-Karabakh which stated, in part, “As President, I will maintain our assistance to Armenia;I will promote Armenian security by seeking an end to the Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades, and by working for a lasting and durable settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that is agreeable to all parties, and based upon America’s founding commitment to the principles of democracy and self determination;America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend to be that President.”
Senator Obama’s running mate, Senator Joe Biden of Delaware, is also a strong supporter of issues important to Armenian-American voters. Sen. Biden’s support for Armenian American legislative initiatives, including U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide, dates back to his work with Senator Bob Dole to pass the Armenian Genocide Resolution (S.J.Res.212) in 1990, and advocate for stronger U.S.-Armenia relations.
As recently as last month, Sen. Biden, in his capacity as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, took the principled stance of urging the Bush Administration’s nominee for the US Ambassador to Armenia to properly characterize the events of 1915-1923 as Genocide.
"Recognition by the United States of the Armenian Genocide is not the final goal. The real goal is the recognition of Turkey–of the Turkish Government–of the Armenian Genocide and the establishment of a common Turkish-Armenian understanding of the events and tragedy that took place," commented Sen. Biden.
Senator John McCain is opposed to US recognition of the Armenian Genocide and does not support a just settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict based on the principles of self-determination and democracy.
Governor Sarah Palin, John McCain’s newly minted running mate, has no record on Armenian-American issues. During her 20 months as Governor of Alaska, and her 10 years as Councilmember and Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, Governor Palin has not had to deal with any type of foreign policy issues and has not issued any proclamations or resolutions on the Armenian Genocide.
“For the past 18 months, Senator John McCain has been proclaiming that he always puts country first and politics second and that he has the superior judgment and experience to lead our great country. With the selection of a running mate after only one meeting, that took place over 6 months ago, John McCain has demonstrated what kind of reckless decision making he would pursue as President,” commented Areen Ibran’ssian, Chairman of Armenia’s for Obama.
“The Vice Presidential selection is a crucial test for any Presidential nominee and John McCain failed miserably. His thinly veiled political gimmick is not putting country first, its putting John McCain first and a national security and foreign policy neophyte second, only a heartbeat away from being President,” added Ibran’ssian.
Senator Barack Obama, on the other hand, put his Vice Presidential nominee through a thorough and detailed vetting process that lasted over several months. A veteran law maker, Sen. Biden has consistently supported issues of concern to the Armenian-American community and brings 35 years of experience in the U.S. Senate, extensive knowledge of foreign relations, and proven leadership on the full range of international challenges facing our nation.
“Armenian-Americans have a very stark choice to make this coming November. Vote for a candidate that just continues the same harsh and immoral policies of George Bush or vote for a candidate that offers just policies and restores America’s standing as a beacon of light and hope,” said Ibran’ssian. “It’s clear that the candidate for Armenian-Americans is Barack Obama.”
Armenia’s for Obama is a nationwide voter registration, education, and mobilization effort dedicated to electing Barack Obama President. Based in Los Angeles, and with chapters and affiliates in all 50 States, Armenia’s for Obama will harness the energy and enthusiasm for Barack Obama’s candidacy to ensure record high Armenian American turnout in critical battleground states.