December 6th, 2009
04:42 PM ET
3 months ago

Matalin: With Afghan surge, Obama resembles George W. Bush

On State of the Union Sunday, Republican strategist Mary Matalin said President Obama's Afghan surge is 'a reassertion of the Bush doctrine.'
On State of the Union Sunday, Republican strategist Mary Matalin said President Obama's Afghan surge is 'a reassertion of the Bush doctrine.'

Washington (CNN) – A leading Republican strategist and one-time aide to former Vice President Cheney said Sunday that President Obama’s recently announced decision to send an additional 30, 000 troops to Afghanistan is “a reassertion of the Bush doctrine.”

“The [Bush] doctrine is no safe havens [for terrorists intent on harming the United States] and we go after those that provide a harbor [for such terrorists]. That’s the doctrine,” Republican strategist Mary Matalin explained Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

Obama’s decision to surge additional troops into Afghanistan is “solid policy,’ in Matalin’s view and “a reassertion of the Bush doctrine.”

“Every strategic element is from the Bush doctrine. The tactics are from the Bush surge [in Iraq],” she said.

Matalin added that when civilian contractors and forces supplied by NATO allies are considered “there are enough troops” in Afghanistan.

But, Matalin also said Sunday that, by announcing a date to begin to remove some American troops, Obama had sent a mixed message about the United States’ commitment in Afghanistan.
FULL POST


Filed under: Afghanistan • Extra • Mary Matalin • Popular Posts • President Obama • State of the Union
December 6th, 2009
04:40 PM ET
3 months ago

Obama gives pep talk to Senate Democrats on health care

President Obama came to Capitol Hill Sunday to meet with Senate Democrats.
President Obama came to Capitol Hill Sunday to meet with Senate Democrats.

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama met Sunday with Senate Democrats to try to rally support for a sweeping health care bill undergoing a heated debate in the chamber.

The gathering with the Democratic caucus lasted about 50 minutes, with Obama encouraging passage of the health care bill without talking specifically about all the outstanding issues, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said afterward.

One of those major issues - abortion - will come up Monday when the chamber votes on an amendment to tighten restrictions on federal funding for abortion by adding language included in the House version of the bill.

Obama's visit came amid a rare Sunday session for the Senate as it considers the Democratic proposal that so far is unanimously opposed by Republicans.

White House spokesman Bill Burton said Obama "thanked members of the Senate for their hard work so far and encouraged them to continue forward on this historic opportunity" to pass health care reform legislation.

"The question now is whether or not we're going to get it done," Obama told the senators, according to Burton.

Full story


Filed under: Democrats • Health care • President Obama • Senate
December 6th, 2009
03:51 PM ET
3 months ago

State of the Union: John King's Crib Sheet for December 6

In his Crib Sheet, CNN's John King looks back at Sunday's talk shows and ahead to the topics that will be making news this week.
In his Crib Sheet, CNN's John King looks back at Sunday's talk shows and ahead to the topics that will be making news this week.

The president’s national security team dominated the Sunday landscape, fanning out to sell the administration’s new Afghanistan strategy, but perhaps creating at least a bit of rhetorical confusion along the way.

“We’re not talking about an exit strategy,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in one of three TV interviews she taped Saturday for airing Sunday.

National Security Adviser retired Gen. James Jones said the July 2011 date cited by the president in his speech last week was the beginning of a “ramp” to bring U.S. troops home.

“There’s no timeline – no ramp,” was the characterization of Gen. David Petraeus.

Different members of the team, different language. Not a problem unless the end result is a lack of clarity. Let’s begin then with a montage from the president’s’ war council – and you be the judge of their communications skills:

FULL POST


Filed under: Popular Posts • State of the Union
December 6th, 2009
03:50 PM ET
3 months ago

Romney praises Afghan surge, slams confusion about timeline


Washington (CNN) – A potential contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nod praised President Obama’s decision to surge 30,000 additional troops into Afghanistan and, at the same time, questioned the wisdom of Obama’s decision to announce a date to begin to draw down the additional troops.

President Obama used a speech at West Point last week to announce that he has ordered 30,000 additional troops to be sent to Afghanistan as part of a new, refocused strategy intended to quell the Taliban and help the Afghan government build up its own security forces. As part of the new strategy, Obama also said last week that the U.S. would begin to remove those additional troops in July 2011, depending upon the conditions on the ground in the war-torn country.

“I think he’s made the right decision with regards to Afghanistan in a general direction,” former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

“And, by the way, you’re noting that Republicans are not making this a political football,” the former White House hopeful added. “Republicans are saying ‘Yeah, he’s done the right thing here.’”

But, Romney’s praise of Obama quickly turned to criticism.
FULL POST

December 6th, 2009
03:49 PM ET
December 6th, 2009
12:46 PM ET
3 months ago

CNN Poll: Americans mostly agree with Obama on Afghanistan

ALT TEXT

Americans agree with the Afghanistan policy Barack Obama announced on Tuesday night at West Point, according to a new national poll out Sunday. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Washington (CNN) - Americans agree with the Afghanistan policy Barack Obama announced on Tuesday night at West Point in large measure because they agree with the arguments the president made in that speech, according to a new national poll.

In his prime time address at the U.S. Military Academy, where Obama spelled out his decision to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to the war, the president stressed that America's safety and security are at stake in Afghanistan. A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national survey released Sunday morning indicates 64 percent of Americans agree with the president, with one in three saying the country's safety and security is not at stake in Afghanistan. According to the poll, 63 percent of people questioned also agree with Obama that the U.S. action in Afghanistan is morally justified.

Full results (pdf)

"That's one major way that Afghanistan is different from Iraq in the public's mind," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "At the time of the Iraq surge in 2007, most Americans questioned whether that war was justified."
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Filed under: Afghanistan • CNN poll • Popular Posts
December 6th, 2009
12:46 PM ET
3 months ago

Kyl: By announcing date, Obama has 'complicated' Afghan war

Sen. Kly said Sunday that 'the whole object of war is to break the will of the enemy to fight.'
Sen. Kly said Sunday that 'the whole object of war is to break the will of the enemy to fight.'

Washington (CNN) – The number two Republican in the Senate said Sunday that his party generally supports President Obama’s recently announced surge strategy in Afghanistan. But, added Sen. John Kyl, by announcing a date to begin to draw down the additional U.S. troops sent as part of the surge, the president had “complicated matters” in the U.S. military effort in Afghanistan.

After roughly three months of deliberation, President Obama announced last week that he has ordered 30,000 additional troops to be sent to Afghanistan. As part of the new strategy, Obama also informed the nation and the world that the U.S. would begin to remove those troops in July 2011, depending upon the conditions on the ground in the war-torn country.

Republicans “are supportive of the president,” Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “They want this mission to succeed very much and we will do everything we can to support his policy.”

But, Kyl quickly added, “I think he has complicated matters by having this firm beginning-of-withdrawal date. He said it is chiseled in stone. But what happens the day after [Obama’s drawdown date] and how many troops come down, I think is the question. And, as long as that’s condition-based, it has a chance of succeeding.

“The reason I said it complicates matters is that in war, will matters. In fact, the whole object of war is to break the will of the enemy to fight.”
FULL POST

December 6th, 2009
12:30 PM ET
3 months ago

Obama aides fine-tune meaning of Afghan withdrawal date


(CNN) - Top aides to President Barack Obama on Sunday signaled that some U.S. troops could start coming home from Afghanistan as soon as July 2011, but most would likely remain there for several years.

In appearances on all the major talk shows, Cabinet officials and military advisers clarified the president's position after he walked a political tight-rope by announcing he will send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan and that some will start coming home in 19 months.

National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones told CNN's "State of the Union" that the July 2011 start of withdrawal was "not a cliff, it's a ramp" for beginning to turn over security responsibility to Afghan forces.

Noting the U.S. strategic interests in the region, including nuclear power Pakistan next door, Jones said: "We're going to be in the region for a long time."
FULL POST


Filed under: Afghanistan • Obama administration
December 6th, 2009
11:31 AM ET
December 6th, 2009
11:30 AM ET
3 months ago

Jones on getting Bin Laden: 'We're going to have to get after that'


Washington (CNN) – A top national security adviser to President Obama said Sunday that the administration needs to step up its efforts to capture Osama bin Laden, the alleged mastermind of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S. and the leader of the global terrorism network called al Qaeda.

“The best estimate is that [bin Laden] is somewhere in North Waziristan - sometimes on the Pakistani side of the border, sometimes on the Afghan side of the border,” National Security Adviser James Jones said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, “very, very rough mountainous area, generally ungoverned.

“And, we’re going to have to get after that to make sure that this very, very important symbol of what al Qaeda stands for is either once again on the run or captured or killed.”

“By, ‘we’re going to have to get after that,’ you mean a more determined, a more focused – some new effort to get him?,” queried CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.
FULL POST


Filed under: James Jones • Pakistan • Popular Posts • State of the Union
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