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. Bill

    I appreciate what I hear from these GOP Senators, insofar as taking a more constructive and, certainly, an understanding tone of what Obama or any President must deal with these days. It's imperative that all of you get it together, Rep., Dem, Ind., as a whole. Nothing else will work. You know that, don't you? Sure you do. The demands are great. The minds must come together, to not what will be a determination of how to win a war but, rather, how mankind may approach survival and an equitable life for all.
    As for you Taliban, Al Queda, Christians, the David Koreshs' of the world, etc.....live and let live. Breathing is a good thing. My opinion is, it beats the alternative...and you'll not convince me, otherwise.

    January 3, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain

    This is just the latest attempt by the GOP to undermine our president and further damage our country.

    The GOP would have you believe they would keep our country safer – even though 9/11 happened on GW Bush's watch!

    The GOP doesn't like the fact that President Obama cares more about the Middle Class and the long-term welfare of our country than he does about the wealthy, who were totally coddled and pandered to under GOP economic policies.

    January 3, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  3. John Black Hills/SD

    To see that our intelligence agencies are functioning in a manner that was negligent, we had to see the problem during an attempted attack, as hair brained as it was. This whole faux pas began because the CIA didn't share their Intel with HLS. Obama went right to the horses mouth when he learned of the circumstances behind an attempted attack that never should have happened. CIA, NSA, FBI, HLS, we're all on the same team...right? Get it together!

    January 3, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  4. Edwin

    Perhaps if DeMint were not fighting so vehemently and hostilely against Obama's domestic agenda, the president might not have DeMint as one of those distractions...

    January 3, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  5. pat c.

    demint should be ashamed to show his ugly white face on TV. he is the enemy of the people of the USA. his vile speeches only brings hate to the uneducated that only get their news fron FOX and don't know the real truth about what president obama has done in his first year in office. old white men like demint,hannity,rush,an beck need to ask forgiveness for the harm they have done to so many.
    demint is a president wanta-be but will never be more than he is today....a white racist that can not accept the fact that we have a black president voted in by the majority of people in america.

    January 3, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  6. Linda

    Distracted? No, this President has more on his mind than how to keep the top 1% of the country satisfied which is the only concern the prior administration had. A strong case can be made that all of this activity is in response to Obama's intent to actually do something about terrorism. The southern branch of our government should just retire and join a country club – at least they could stop pretending that care at all about our courntry.

    January 3, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  7. myra

    Is anyone surprised
    ? Now DeMint can go back to his prayer group and pray that he be punished•. Oooh

    January 3, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  8. Pat in IL

    Without support, no leader can lead effectively. This name-calling and undermining by those who could possibly help solve the problems of the nation has got to stop. I'm sure that some talent is being wasted by doing nothing but spitting negative opinions and distracting the real leaders from doing the jobs that need to be done.

    January 3, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  9. W l Jones

    The president cannot be in every corner of everybody house at all time!

    January 3, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  10. CHANGE.COM

    Any elected official who is unable to multi-task is unfit for office, period. Be it the presidency, senator, representative, or in state houses. President Obama has clearly shown that he is able to focus of several things of national importance at once. Contrary to what DeMint and his cohorts think, this president has done more to take it to Al Qeida in his first year in office than the 8 years of the Bush administration. The difference is that President Obama does so quietly while the Bush administration were all over the media taunting their plans and air strikes. Go get a real life, DeMint, and release a hold you have on TSA chief.

    January 3, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  11. ThinkAgain

    DeMint says that President Obama has been "completely distracted" by other things.

    HAH! Just because GW Bush couldn't watch TV and eat a pretzel at the same time without choking doesn't mean President Obama isn't capable of handling our country's challenges.

    Quit projecting your party's own inadequacies, DeMint. You guys had 8 years of Bush – along with 30 years of Reaganomics – to prove your abilities: And you and all of your policies are abject failures!

    January 3, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  12. Steve in Kentucky

    I love how well balanced this story is. With right-wing propaganda like this who needs Faux News?

    January 3, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  13. Rita

    DeMint is telling lies once again. Many Americans follow world news and they know of the Presidents bombing off Al Quaeda operatives in Yemen in the past weeks , using our Navy war ships. Unlike Bush; Obama doesn't announce it every time we get some bad guys to put a notch in his gun. The MSM doesn't fact check anymore. Makes you wonder who's side there on doesn't it? Who listens to the GOP anymore, their unAmerican. They refused to fund airline security failed to fun the troops to the very last moment , holding their lives in the balance. The GOP is failing our country Not the President! I for one am happy we have a President that can multitask!

    January 3, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  14. mississippi librarian

    These people have no shame – they have stooped so low that they are now willing to throw gw under the bus with President Obama in order to make themselves relevant.

    January 3, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  15. Doc in Virginia

    i hope SC is happy they elected this treasounous fecal particle who has, at every turn, been an obstructionist to the country. He doesnt even put party first, He puts DeMint first. He is the worst thing that can happen to a representative body of politics; selfish and arrogant and STUPID.

    January 3, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  16. Hendrik

    And the jerk DeMint pipes up again. He is supposed to be this rising start in the Repukelican party. I am afraid that he will NEVER be elected president but will be relegated to the Republican pasture where the likes of Cheney and Gingrich and Palin and even McCain munch on the grass of hate.

    Does it surprise anyone that the rest of the world looks at us in amusement. The most powerful nation in the world eating its own.

    January 3, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  17. ThinkAgain

    “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.

    -

    No, DeMint, the last ADMINISTRATION was a huge mistake! Everything GW Bush has ever touched – from a company, to a baseball team, to two wars, to hurricane relief, to an entire presidency – has turned to cow dung.

    And everyone knows it! So go ahead, keep flapping your lips – only a fool would believe what you say.

    January 3, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  18. They call me "tater salad"

    Seems to me that Jim DeMint is "distracted" by his lust for a run at the White House! Because as we all know already, his days in the Senate are numbered.........Thats right Jimbo, just keep right on running your yapper while you still can.........Your political career is going to come to a screaching halt very soon.......Then you'll have every reason in the world to stand there afterwards with that stupid and clueless look on your face wondering what just happened? So I suggest you take this opportunity to GET A LIFE LOSER!!!!!

    January 3, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  19. JvS

    Just because Republicans can't do more than one thing at a time ....

    January 3, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  20. BRosenberg

    Heh. DeMint should pray the terror away and stop acting like the 2012 race has started .. he's a distraction to the progress of this country.

    January 3, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  21. Bob Ramos

    After years of detaintion, these yeminis were given a hearing. They were found innocent of the charges. Given this result, DeMint would have us continue to hold them in detention forever. Or, can he contribute anything other than criticisim?

    January 3, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  22. Keepin It Real

    What's up with you GOPers? You're the ones trying to distract the President. Have anyone of you offered to help in anyway. It's not about democrats or republican..........it's about keeping the American people safe. But all you repubs want to do is try to make the President seem like a failure. He's done more for the American people than the Bush administration. And it's always someone coming out of south carolina with some stupid remark. Don't Carolina have enough problems of it's own?

    Kudos Mr. President!

    January 3, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  23. CHANGE.COM

    President Obama has authorized more air strikes on Al Qeida leadership via drones in his first year in office than Bush did in 8 years. That's not being distracted. If only DeMint would shut up and allow the confirmation of the TSA, that would be helpful in combating terrorism as well. It's clear to me that DeMint cannot multi-task and has no clue that this president is great at multi-tasking. Yes, DeMint, the president is focussed on terrorism, econmy, healthcare, climate and energy reform as we Americans are. If you can't deal with several issues simultaneously, resign your senate seat.

    January 3, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  24. ThinkAgain

    Kean said. “They were focused on health care and global warming and the economy. That’s very understandable.”

    How patronizing! I would like to remind Kean, DeMint and all the other GOP lackeys that if GW Bush had done his job, President Obama wouldn't be having to deal with so many challenges!

    I, for one, am extremely thankful we have a man in the White House who puts the country's safety and well-being above everything else, including his party, the wealthy and his own ego (all things that the GOP is incapable of doing).

    January 3, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  25. jim atmadison

    What a bunch of jerks. The only thing that would have made these GOPers happier would be if the underwear bomber had succeeded and killed a few hundred Americans.

    January 3, 2010 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
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