Falling for the trap

The president asked for proof this week that his warm greeting of Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez has done any harm to American interests.


OK. We've got the proof right here.

The anti-American book that Chavez was seen giving to President Obama -- Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent , by Eduardo Galeano -- skyrocketed to No. 2 on the Amazon best-seller list.

The 1971 rant, a favorite of the hemisphere's unbridled leftist-socialist America-haters, had been No. 54,295.

Only Oprah Winfrey could have done more for the book.

In effect, Mr. Obama just helped spread anti-American propaganda across Latin America. Hundreds of thousands more will read the tome because Obama gave Chavez the world stage normally reserved for the presidents of free, democratic, leading nations.

Mr. Obama and his handlers were clearly outmaneuvered and wholly unprepared for the public relations trap Chavez set at the Summit of the Americas this past week.

Had they been less guileless, the Obama team would have told the president to turn down the warmth when it comes to Chavez. And they might have been prepared with an answer to the anti-American book Chavez offered -- such as any number of scholarly books on the virtues of the American republic. There are some first- rate biographies on the Founding Fathers, books on American history, books explaining the Federalist Papers and what they mean for human freedom.

Taking note of Chavez's dismal record on free speech, Obama could have given him a framed copy of the First Amendment.

Mark Levin's new book Liberty and Tyranny is becoming a best-seller without a presidential photo-op; imagine what it would do with one.

Then again, there are loads of great books on servant leadership. What a great PR bonanza President Obama could have earned by presenting Chavez with one of those!

Instead, the Venezuelan leader outfoxed the American president -- and won a public relations bonanza for America-haters everywhere.

Candidate Obama appeared world-class naive when he said he'd meet with any world leader without precondition.

Now, President Obama seems to be oblivious to the harm he's done by doing so.