Greg Craig: Obama's Next Thorn

He defended John Hinkley, Jr. after the latter’s attempt to assassinate President Ronald Reagan. He defended former Bolivian Defense Minister Carlos Sanchez-Berzain, a human rights violator accused of 67 deaths. He was a “personal attorney” for Kofi Annan in the UN Oil for Food scandal and he provided “special counsel” to Bill Clinton during his impeachment trial. Currently, high powered attorney Greg Craig of the DC-based Williams and Connolly law firm, is defending Pedro Miguel Gonzales, President of the Panamanian legislature, accused of murdering U.S. Army Sgt. Zak Hernandez.

And he’s a senior foreign policy advisor to presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama. A poster child for limousine liberal lawyers, Craig’s participation in the Obama campaign may give rise to the kind of conflict of interest that has prevented more than one candidate to fail. 

Craig has said he “removed himself” from any discussions with Obama regarding US relations with Panama but his position in the Gonzales trial been a real problem. In a January editorial, the Dallas Morning News wrote that “The murder indictment, combined with Mr. Gonz??¡lez’s leadership position, is hindering bilateral relations and causing a new U.S.-Panama free trade accord to stall in the Senate, where Mr. Obama holds office.”

ABC news reported that Obama told a Wisconsin labor coalition that he would vote against the Panama Free Trade Agreement specifically because of Gonz??¡lez’s indictment.

"Until that situation is resolved, we cannot support any trade agreement with Panama," Obama reportedly stated.

Obama has yet to comment on calls for Craig’s firing from conservative interest groups like The American Future Fund, who produced a YouTube video in opposition to Craig’s employment with the campaign due to this infectious conflict of interest.

Like Obama, Craig is prone to switch teams when it’s convenient for political clout. Craig used to work as special counsel in the Clinton Administration but took to the Obama bandwagon last year, saying on The Charlie Rose Show last August that “I do think Sen. Obama represents the future and he represents real change.”
Craig lambasted Hillary Clinton earlier this year as well, saying she “never answered the phone at 3 a.m.” after her middle of the night ads. In an April 2008 Latin American Newsletter regarding US politics, the Mexico and NAFTA Report, Craig suggested that the next President needs an expert to advise more intently on Latin American issues. Having worked closely with such nations, Craig may be seeking a position in an Obama Administration. But his work with Latin countries has largely involved defending dictators and mass murderers — not exactly expert advice to seek.

Craig has represented a supporter of the Manuel Noriega dictatorship, former Panamanian President Ernesto Perez Balladares, when he was banned from US travel. And Canadian Newspaper Mogul Lord Conrad Black, who was recently convicted of fraud and obstruction of justice, relied on Craig’s slimy defense tactics as well.

Craig’s involvement with characters such as Gonzales reflects the unwisdom of Obama’s choice of advisors to guide him into and through the presidency. In a Michigan speech on Monday, Obama said, “I believe strongly that we are on the wrong path, and that we need new priorities and a new direction…” and he continually condemns those who cater to “special interests,” including Republican nominee John McCain close ties with lobbyists.

Obama has not cut ties with avowed special interest lawyer Craig. Craig must choose between the Obama campaign and his biased international law practice — now interfering with US-Panamanian relations — or be fired for the messy association.

Now that Obama has been forced to quit Trinity United Church and been shown to have close connections with other controversial preachers — namely Rev. Michael Pfleger and as Redstate recently reported, State Senator and Pastor James Meeks, the last thing he needs is Craig’s past — or present — getting in the way.  

No matter the outcome, Sen. Obama’s choice to receive important foreign policy advice from someone with this kind of a history says a lot about the kind of people he would surround himself with as President.