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17 Aug, 2008 13:15

Obama & McCain unite over Georgian conflict

The U.S. presidential candidates have been weighing in with their opinion of the conflict in Georgia. While Barack Obama and John McCain disagree on almost everything else, they seem to have found common ground in the Caucasus. But the U.S. electorate is

Obama and McCain’s joint appearance is hardly the face-to-face debate many would have liked to see. Instead, the two candidates took turns answering questions in a religious forum moderated by a pastor.

McCain used the opportunity to once again lecture Russia on foreign policy.

“The Russians must respect the entire territorial integrity of Georgia, and there's only four million people in Georgia, my friends. I've been there. It's a beautiful little country. They are wonderful people,” McCain assured.

As expected, Obama took a more neutral stance and called for a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

“I think that the basic principle has to be that if we have it within our power to prevent mass killing and genocide and we can work in concert with the international community to prevent it, then we should act,” he said.

The forum generated great media hype, but not everyone was eager to hear what the two presidential hopefuls had to say.

Supporters of lesser known candidates took it to the street to protest about more controversial issues being ignored.

When it comes to Georgia, supporters of the presidential candidate Gloria La Riva and Ron Paul seem to be against the U.S. getting involved.

“It's clear to us that the hands of the U.S. are deeply entrenched. Instead, we should have a hands-off approach,” one of them said.

Others said that the U.S. ‘should let Georgia solve its own problems’ and that ‘Russia has been demonised in the American media and there is a lot of bias’.

For them, neither Barack Obama nor John McCain have the right approach to foreign policy, and that includes the conflict in South Ossetia.

As the number of protesters increased, so did the security around them. Despite the sweltering heat, many were keen to get their message out.