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PBS’s Woodruff: Did Obama Miss Opportunity to Highlight Mistreated Saudi Blogger?

Tuesday on PBS’s  “News Hour,”  host Judy Woodruff reported on President Barack Obama avoiding confronting Saudi Arabia on its poor human rights record while making a special trip to meet Saudi Arabia’s new King Salman after King Abdullah’s death.

Woodruff reported, “White House officials said they discussed the ‘Islamic state’ threat, the chaos in Yemen, just to the Saudis’ south, and the ongoing dispute over Iran’s nuclear program. At the same time, President Obama walked a fine line on the issue of the Saudi human rights record. An aide said he did not ask King Salman about a Saudi blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam. Instead, the president argued in general for tolerance and free speech.”

During a clip of an interview that will air Sunday on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” the president said, “What I’ve found effective is to apply steady, consistent pressure, even as we are getting business done that needs to get done, and often times that makes some of our allies uncomfortable. It makes them frustrated. Sometimes, we have to balance our need to speak to them about human rights issues with immediate concerns that we have in terms of countering terrorism or dealing with regional stability.”

In the second segment Woodruff discussed Saudi Arabia’s horrible record on human rights and if the president missed an opportunity to highlight the highly visible case of the blogger, with Gary Sick of Columbia University and  Tom Porteous of Human Rights Watch.

Watch (Part 2):

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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