January 3rd, 2010
02:00 PM ET
5 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. NVa Native

    DeMint is just falsely thumping his chest as he is a leader of the political party who's only legislative effort is for distraction and deception. He is a slime ball opportunist from a state who's politics is dominated by Republicans who focus on racism, ignorance, and arrogance and will do and say anything for political gain.

    But the Carolina state are not alone – DeMint, Hokstra, Grassley, Coburn are mental midgets who have no problem blurting out classified material for a political sound bite without even understanding what they are doing. And recently all the Republicans voted against funding our troops while we are at war on two fronts. Despicable traitors who think they are above public scrutiny.

    Sadly this is how low the Republicans have de-evolved.

    January 3, 2010 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  2. Ken in NC

    This talk by Republicans is all about positioning themselves for the 2012 Presidential elections. Whatever position or direction President goes, Republicans must go in the opposite direction. Consider this. During the last campaign Senator "What's His Face" from Arizona and Gov. Palin ran saying that they to would close down GITMO if elected. Well they did not get elected and the President is attempting to shut it down and now Senator "What's His Face" from Arizona is opposed to closing it down.

    When the "Shoe Bomber", Richard Reid was caught and put on trial by the Bush administration in US criminal courts they were lauded for demostrating to the world that we had the ability to give a fair trial to all. Now this last guy they caught trying to blow up a plane with his underware should not be tried in the same manner according to the same Republicans that put Richard Reid on trial. The only difference is that one tried to use his foot to bring down an airccraft and the other tried to use his butt.

    So you see, people, this is all becoming political now. Whatever is being done to make and or keep us safe is of no use by the opposition as it must take a position directly opposite of that of the administration.

    January 3, 2010 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  3. racoco

    Obama is not distracted really. He is purposely creating a situtation where chaos is induced and a Marxist – Leninist solution is imposed on us. However he complicates his own sordid strategy by allowing his Jihadist sympathies to affect his greatest dreams. What a bloody mess.

    January 3, 2010 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  4. Susan

    So what's so creditible about DeMint? He just one of those anti-Obama republicans who consider themselves all high & mighty ... they feel that an Obama failure, or as they put it "Obama's Waterloo", will be good for the country. Well, at this time in our history, do we really want failures? We should all want this country to succeed!

    January 3, 2010 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  5. Gee, Alabama

    Distracted as oppossed to the GOP who are focused on one thing and one thing only:
    How to bash Obama!
    How lame!

    January 3, 2010 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  6. JBW

    Why is it that someone boarding a plane in Nigeria is something that President Obama should be responsible for? You can be Dick Cheney wouldn't have assumed responsibility for that. Praise God we have a president who is able to focus on more than one problem at a time.

    January 3, 2010 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  7. D. Tree

    What DeMint says is ridiculous. President Obama brought the fight to Afghanistan and Yemen, which the Republicans previously abandoned. And Obama has done this at considerable risk to his base.

    To say he is "distracted" from the fight on terrorism is nothing more than transparent politics. I'm sick and tired of Republicans playing politics with terror, as I'm sure most of America is as well.

    January 3, 2010 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  8. once upon a horse

    another bright remark from "DimWitt" and the GOP. All the Republicans do is complain and be critical. Maybe if they tried to work WITH the President instead of against him all the time things could be a bit different.

    January 3, 2010 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  9. babs reinard

    Demint you are distracted!! Every time you open your mouth it's a lot of hot air. Obama can do more than one thing at a time,unlike like Jim Demint.

    January 3, 2010 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  10. andrewstl

    who cars what demont says

    he olays to the same audience of sarah i dont have a clue palin and gleenn the world is on fire beck.

    January 3, 2010 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  11. GI Joe

    Ha – Guess the party of NO will use any excuse at all to keep saying NO and dragging things out month after month instead of getting things done and moving on.

    In just one year, we have NOT forgotten the republiKKKans and their vile, hatred, hypocrisy, lies, fear-mongering, hate-mongering, lies (oh, I said lies more than once - wonder why).

    January 3, 2010 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  12. PaulMoATX

    What's distracting is the continued partisan attacks against the President and admin during times of terror against America.

    January 3, 2010 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  13. paul

    DeMint is a Moron. Please keep your comments to yourself.

    January 3, 2010 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  14. GOPer

    Please. "Waterloo" DeMint epitomizes distraction.

    Fortunately, we have a president who can multi-task for the American people.

    January 3, 2010 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  15. JIm

    Obama and his camp are too busy playing "rock Star" and pushing another government social program on us (Health Care Reform!) to pay any attention to whats' happening outside his little world!

    January 3, 2010 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  16. JonDie

    It must be quite a distraction with disloyal Americans like DeMint constantly giving aid and comfort to Al Qaeda and our other enemies.

    January 3, 2010 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  17. david

    does it surprise anyone that the most bellicose grunts of displeasure at our first black president come from our most backward state – south carolina? It's fortunate that the south was not allowed to secede 150 years ago. Can you imagine the hillbilly mentality that we would have to face if their ignorance was not countered with a more balanced mental population? A union of hatred based on primitive belief systems ruled by religious wackos... it would be like having the mountain folks of Yemen at our doorstep.

    January 3, 2010 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  18. I am Newt Limebaugh

    Hey Deminted....you are a goofball GOP do nothing blowhard. If I was Obama and I am not I would tell you to kiss my ass in no uncertain terms.

    Is the GOP ever happy with anything....you practically ruined this country and attacked Obama EVERY single day he has been in office.

    Most of us remember how you and the rest of the GOP rubber stamped everything Bush wanted and know you say No to anything the DEms wanted.

    You must be Cheney's cousin...you idiot.

    Try helping this country or get out of the way!!!

    January 3, 2010 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  19. Petty actions

    This is coming from a man who is childishly keeping this country from having a new TSA director.. He seems to care more about making Obama fail than caring about the safety of Americans.

    January 3, 2010 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  20. Baker

    DeMint has not right to say anything at all about The presidents focus. He has zero credibilty! DeMints focus is to block everything the president trys to do PERIOD! Please go crawl in a hole some where down in the deep deep south.

    January 3, 2010 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    Oh brother. Whether or not you think Obama's policies in different areas are any good or not, everyone should agree that Presidents can multi-task. If they can't, they shouldn't be President.

    January 3, 2010 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  22. Beverly in NC

    Senator DeMint-ed is at it already. This is the same South Carolina Senator who said the Republicans would never support any healthcare reform to make it "Obama's Waterloo". He also is one who called for America to fail, has made racist comments about President Obama, and is one of the most notorious lie teller.

    This man is a Republican who fits their new "Purity test" perfectly – white, rich, racist, willing to do or say anything regardless of the truth, willing to take corporate money to buy his vote on the Senate floor, and will sit and do no work but criticize Democrats who are working hard, and then vote NO and play obstructionist games on the floor of the Senate.

    DeMint-ed is up for reelection this year. Let's hope South Carolinians have been embarrassed enough by their corrupt, adulterous, racist representatives to throw this ignorant redneck out of office.

    It's time for ALL Americans to stand up and call out every single Republican lie and then just tune out the rest of their constant negativity, hate, and fear talk. We had more than enough of it last year. It's obvious they plan to do nothing to help America so who cares what any of these traitors think or say.

    President Obama is doing an outstanding job based on the whole list of major issues dumped in his lap when he entered office. He went out and made it clear to our Allies and trouble countries alike that we are no longer going to be bullies, no longer will break international law and torture people, will no longer start fraudulent wars and lie to them, and that we believe in diplomacy and cooperation to keep control of the issues that face ALL nations – terror groups, climate change, economic balance, trade fairness, getting rid of nuclear weapons, and living together in common goasl of peace.

    We are SAFER now with President Obama's intelligent, thoughtful, leadership than we ever were under the war-happy Bush idiots. Unlike the do-nothing Republicans, our President is working hard to making us safer both at home and abroad.

    I'm more afraid of domestic terrorists like the Republican lunatic fringe groups than I am of any foreign threat. These self-righteous "Christains" murder abortion doctors, carry loaded weapons to their nutjob rallies, carry racist signs, promote racism, promote hate, their preachers call for President Obama to get cancer and worse, and want to overthrow our government. They are ignorant, uneducated, and believe and blindly repeat whatever lies they are told. None seem to have read the Bible they beat. Jesus was a man of peace and believed in acceptance of others and called for us to "love one another" and take care of the "least of us".

    Republicans are religious, moral, and public service hypocrites.

    January 3, 2010 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  23. WAHEID

    If de Mint spend as much time keeping up on the news (i.e., with CNN), he might have learned that there are a number of things going on in the country that require the President's attention. He doesn't have the luxury of focusing on one problem only. I would also add that many of the problems that Obama faces are leftovers from the last Republican president (e.g., Afghanistan, economy, Guantanamo, Somalia, etc.) The President may also be distracted by the rapid-fire cheap shots from the likes of de Mint, Cheney, Boehner, Mitchell, etc. If the GOP was more cooperative - one might add Patriotic - they would be helping solve the country's problems rather than trying to cripple Obama's presidency to the detriment of the country.

    January 3, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  24. timz

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

    Unlike the last President, who was always distracted by yet another vacation.

    January 3, 2010 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  25. Dave

    And George W. Bush wasn't "distracted" for most of his term from protecting the country by that little thing called the war in Iraq? What a ridiculous article. G.W. got lucky that no one else decided to attack our country during the rest of his term, it had nothing to do with him being "focused" on protecting the country by wasting all our money and resources on a pointless war in Iraq when there was no threat to the US there at all.

    January 3, 2010 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
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