January 3rd, 2010
02:00 PM ET
4 years ago

DeMint: Obama 'distracted' from protecting the country

Sen. DeMint said Sunday that the president has been 'completely distracted by other things.'
Sen. DeMint said Sunday that the president has been 'completely distracted by other things.'

Washington (CNN) – A leading Republican critic of the administration's homeland security efforts suggested Sunday that President Obama is making mistakes similar to those the Bush administration made in fighting al Qaeda.

“He has been completely distracted by other things,” Sen. Jim DeMint OF South Carolina said on CNN’s State of the Union.

Fellow Republican Thomas Kean, who chaired the 9/11 Commission, also cited distractions in his earlier interview on State of the Union.

“We had an administration which was not focused, as it should be, on terrorism and that’s understandable,” Kean said. “They were focused on health care and global warming and the economy. That’s very understandable.”

DeMint told CNN Senior Political Analyst Gloria Borger that Obama “is not focused on building the security and intelligence apparatus of our country.”

“The last administration – President Bush – made a huge mistake,” DeMint said, “by sending the Yemenis back” – a reference to freed prisoners from the Guantanamo detainee facility who returned to terrorist activity, including two Yemenis suspected of planning attacks against the U.S. and British embassies in Sanaa after their release. “The core leadership of al Qaeda now is made of those folks who were at the Gitmo prison. We can’t make that mistake again. So, it’s not just about this administration. It’s about losing our focus on security and I’m afraid politics and political correctness has become front and center in this debate.”

Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri , a longtime Obama backer, took issue with DeMint’s remark.

“That’s just not true,” she said. “This president is focused like a laser on how to keep this country safe.”

McCaskill noted that Obama went against the wishes of some in his own party by ordering a troop surge in Afghanistan. “This is a president that is taking strong action and is building up our intelligence community – not diminishing it.”

soundoff (245 Responses)
  1. Conservatives are worthless........especially DeMint.......

    This guy isn't capable of even leading a troup within the cub scout reserves. Here is someone who claims Obama is too distracted to defend our country when it is he himself who blocked the appointment of a TSA Director over worries about Unions and wages that would probably attract the most talented/qualified individuals to guard our country. He needs to go back to South Carolina for concern about the Governor being distracted with his mistress.............

    January 3, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  2. Indy

    And the Republicans are distracting everyone with their love for terrorists that cause harm to Americans while dems are in the house.The Republicans would love to see the destruction and divide of the US as long as it takes the focus off off the Bush Cheney dictatorship

    January 3, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  3. Tony in Maine

    DeMint needs to join Dick Cheney on an uninhabited island a few miles off Antarctica. There, they can bloviate and harrumph and pretend they're adequate without annoying those who are.

    January 3, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  4. John Rocker

    Obama is "Distracted"? Is this Republican for real? Give me a break! Unlike Bush, the President is doing his job taking care of Domestic issues which have been totally ignored for 8 years. Many more people die from domestic neglect like crime, car crashes, unsafe food, lack of health care access then will ever die if several planes are attacked in a worst case scenario.

    January 3, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  5. tee

    If the rethugs would stop obstructing......just to be obstructing....a lot of thing could be accomplished......I hope people are paying attention.....the repthugs have offered nothing during the second worst crisis .......and will ofer nothing...just critizism....when the time comes.....the question should be .....what have you done for your country lately......if the anwser is nothing....they should get nothing

    January 3, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  6. NotFooledTX

    “He has been completely distracted by other things,” Sen. Jim DeMint OF South Carolina said on CNN’s State of the Union.

    Bull crap. The president is able to focus on multiple issues simultaneously – it's part of the job description. There are agencies and heads of agencies running the operations briefing the president. To claim that because the president isn't hovered in a closet mumbling "bring 'em on" that he isn't focused on terrorism is a ridiculous comment. I expect such nonsense from Demint – aka Jim Dimwit, but Keane? It's nonsense.

    January 3, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  7. Ari

    DeMint is the one holding up the nomination for head of the TSA. He is not one who should be talking.

    January 3, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  8. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    Republicans have nothing to run on in 2010. They have chosen to do the opposite of anything that will help Americans by saying, "No!"

    The problem for them is that in 2010, they have to run against the stock market going up 2300 points, the stimulus working, an end to the war in Iraq, an end of torture, unemployment numbers leveling off, a resurgence in the auto industry, their voting against security equipment at airports, their filibustering the defense appropriations bill, and, of course, they are against any health care bill that will help the majority of the 45 million uninsured.

    They will still get the Fox, birthers, big business, hate and fear vote. That is all they got.

    January 3, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  9. hongli

    Kim DeMint is a mentally sick individual like so many of his fellow republicans.

    January 3, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  10. blackHat

    DeMint would do well not to expound on subjects he knows nothing about. i would really like to know from which orifice he pulled the idea that "The core leadership of al Qaeda now is made of those folks who were at the Gitmo prison."

    January 3, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  11. Brad

    This right-wing gremlin has a lot of nerve, He is one of a long line of Republicans who is busy doing everything he can to distract President Obama and frusdtrate his ability to accomplish anything.

    January 3, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  12. MishaJohn

    Another Republican undermining the troops and emboldening the enemy by criticizing the Commander in Chief, to borrow a Bush-era GOP talking point. Tod

    January 3, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  13. Alan Goldstein

    Mistakes have been made, mistakes will be made. The longer this conflict lasts, the greater the likelihood that a terrorist attack will be successful.
    When the history of this conflict is written, the Iraq war will be seen as the biggest blunder in the war on terror. It has prolonged and expanded the conflict. We should have focused all our efforts and resources on Afghanistan. We could have destroyed the terrorists, and transformed the entire area. Instead, the conflict has dragged on, and the terrorists have become more sophisticated, both in tactics and equipment. What was a difficult task, has become an almost impossible task. Thank you W!

    January 3, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  14. Proud member of Global Zero

    I have had enough!!!! No more partisan politics. DeMint and the Republican party have had most of the past decade to fix this problem. We have a new President that deserves all of our support on this and many other issues facing our country. I have voted for both parties, I vote for who I know will do the best job for our country.....this time it was President Obama. DeMint, check your voice mail. You have one from me. I do not live in your state but, we all live in the same country. I hope the people in your state appreciate the fact that you held up our TSA nominee. And yes, I do know that he wasn't named until September. Well, it is time to fill this post.

    January 3, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  15. meks1

    "Those who tried to kill almost 300 American" did a favour to the GOP politicians. Could you explain that to those whos lives were in danger?? How can someone so irresponsibly say such things?
    I just want to say that such leaders are those that will surely RUN AMERICA DOWN. Criticisms need to be constructive but the GOP has lost all sences and in trying to make a comback in the next elections, they invite ´the terrorist to kill American. They seem to have been praying for terror attacks on American interests.
    Shame on you GOP.

    January 3, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  16. Jon Skillings

    Perhaps he should end his vacation early and return to DC to show that he actually cares about anything like terrorist attacks. Of course, that would go against his alleged leadership style. He much prefers to make speeches about what will happen in the Obama world and than goes and hides until the outcome is known and he knows if he can take credit for something that he had nothing to do with. Two 1 minute "speeches" with an open collar shirt from the beech in Hawaii doesn't inspire much confidence.

    January 3, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  17. meks1

    "Those who tried to kill almost 300 Americans" did a favour to the GOP politicians. Could you explain that to those whos lives were in danger?? How can someone so irresponsibly say such things?
    I just want to say that such leaders are those that will surely RUN AMERICA DOWN. Criticisms need to be constructive but the GOP has lost all sences and in trying to make a comback in the next elections, they invite ´the terrorist to kill American. They seem to have been praying for terror attacks on Americans interests.
    Shame on you GOP.

    January 3, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  18. Ken in Gainesville

    This? From De Mint? Go to hell, you anti-American jerk. If you spent as much time working instead of scoring "Beck" points, the country would be much better off.

    January 3, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  19. howie

    Mr DeMint, I and the majority of americans agree with you. He needs better advice from his staff. They are not providing him with the best and accurate informaation.

    January 3, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  20. Frank

    What a partisan idiot. Does he actually think President Obama operates the scanners in Lagos or Amsterdam? Can't he admit that most of the TSA bureaucracy was designed and created many years ago, by the president and national security advisor (Condi Rice) from his party who, upon being informed of the specific threat from Al Queda to use airplanes in the US, told the CIA it had covered its ass and could now go back to DC (W being, of course, on vacation in Crawford).

    January 3, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  21. Sam

    DeMint 's views are so bogus. He is off the chart in any measure that counts. Both the former CIA and Homeland Security heads said today that President Obama and his Secretary are doing a good job, and I would rather believe them over the Senator (or Cheney for that matter).

    January 3, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  22. Hawktyme

    I think it's time to ask Dick Cheney what he knows and when he knew it. He's been predicting this event for months now. How did he know unless he had something to do with it?

    I think we need to check into the international communications of Mr Cheney and the RNC. They seem way too disapointed in the failure of the underwear bomber. They're desperatley looking for something to hang on to the President of the United States of America!

    We need to check these traitors out.

    January 3, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  23. jsilver2th

    Demint? What an embarassment to South Carolina?

    DeMint is more worried about keeping his buddy Mark Sanford in office and undermining U.S. interests in the Carribean than anything else-

    DeMint is a member of the super secret cult "The Family" that wants to destroy the U.S. Constitution and replace it with an un-democratic theocracy where any woman getting an abortion will be given the death penaly.

    January 3, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  24. Mark

    The current administration is distracted by stupid self-serving senators like DeMint playing politics with the TSA position who care more about the big businesses (and their contributions to his campaign) than the safety and welfare of all Americans. He is traitorous and every time he opens his mouth he looks more stupid, if that is at all possible, because he is king of the hill right now. South Carolinians should be embarrassed.

    January 3, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  25. not alone

    Again the unnice party is being its pethetic self and not helping the country in any way.

    January 3, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
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