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Bush has fallen short in role as leader of free world: Obama

world Updated: Apr 24, 2007 12:05 IST

AP
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United States Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama has said that President George W Bush has fallen short in his role as leader of the free world, and the 2008 election is a chance to change that.

"This president may occupy the White House, but for the last six years the position of leader of the free world has remained open. And it is time to fill that role once more," Obama said on Monday in a speech to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

The Illinois senator was in his hometown to deliver a foreign policy address that was rescheduled last week after the shootings at Virginia Tech.

In his remarks, Obama said the world is disappointed with the United States, but it would be a mistake to "cede our claim of leadership in world affairs" because Americans might be tempted to turn inward in the face of negative world opinion.

"America cannot meet the threats of this century alone, but the world cannot meet them without America.

We must neither retreat from the world nor try to bully it into submission - we must lead the world by deed and by example," he said.

Monday's speech is the third time in recent months that Obama has come home to deliver a foreign policy address.

In a March speech before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a bipartisan pro-Israel lobby, Obama blamed Bush administration failings in Iraq for strengthening the strategic position of Iran.

He called for a reduction of US forces in Iraq, during a November address before the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.