TRENDING: Pawlenty: Obama administration 'naive' on Syria
March 28th, 2011
09:24 PM ET
7 years ago

TRENDING: Pawlenty: Obama administration 'naive' on Syria

Washington (CNN) - Likely Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty accused the Obama administration of "naivety" on Syria, as he called for the United States to recall its ambassador and toughen sanctions on the country.

Pawlenty's comments came in a radio interview on the Hugh Hewitt Show Monday evening, shortly before President Obama addressed the nation on the military operation in Libya.

"Our interests in Syria are at least as strong, if not stronger, than in Libya", Pawlenty said when asked what the United States should do after violent crackdowns on demonstrators in Syria. “Here you have a country (that has) enabled and accommodated people to go into Iraq and kill American soldiers. They house Hamas and allow them to exist in Syria as they continue to be a terrorist organization in Israel and elsewhere. And the list goes on and on about the problems that the Syria, and specifically Bashir Assad, has caused the region and the world and also the United States of America."

Pawlenty told Hewitt the U.S. needs a tougher stance on the Syria protests, first calling for President Obama "to speak strongly and clearly to the people of Syria that we hope and believe and support their drive towards freedom and getting rid of Bashir Assad.”

The former Minnesota governor, who last week launched an exploratory committee for a White House run, said the administration needs to recall Ambassador Robert Ford from Damascus. President Obama named Ford as Ambassador in 2009, four years after the U.S. withdrew its envoy in protest at the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

“President Obama made the mistake of sending an ambassador to Syria, legitimizing that country and his regime in ways that I don't think are appropriate. Recall the ambassador,” Pawlenty said.

In the interview, he also called for the United States to start invoking further sanctions on Damascus, “both economically and otherwise."

Palwenty called any belief that Syria and Assad could be peace agents in the region "a complete crock." He said it "shows the naivety of the Obama administration. And to have the secretary of state on a Sunday morning talk show implying that he's a reformer; to have his administration essentially embracing in any manner or degree Bashir Assad and Syria as a peace agent - or an agent for reform and stability in the region - is either ignorant or frighteningly misguided."

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was asked on CBS' “Face the Nation” how the situation in Libya was worse than repression over the years in Syria, including by Assad's father. Clinton said, "There is a different leader in Syria now. Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he's a reformer. What's been happening there the last few weeks is deeply concerning."

Filed under: 2012 • Tim Pawlenty
soundoff (170 Responses)
  1. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    So the Republican agenda is to begin a Crusades to take over the entire Middle East no matter the cost??

    March 28, 2011 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  2. keithc

    naive? Let's not confuse naivety and caution here. A wrong move will cost many many lives, a right move will bring peace. Bush was naive, and see the trouble he caused the world and the USA.

    March 28, 2011 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  3. kyle

    How many Conflicts do Palwenty wants the U.S. involved in, three Countries at a time please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 28, 2011 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  4. chris24

    oh, i forgot, this idiot was president (in his sleep) and knows
    exactly what to do even though he isn't privy to all the info
    the pres is.

    what a self-serving moron.

    March 28, 2011 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  5. John N Florida

    Every one of these people is AFRAID to go on anything but a 'fluff' interview show.
    Palin started it and the rest of the 'dogs' are following like a pack.
    Problem with that is, all the dogs in the pack only ever get one view. Only the lead dog sees the horizon.

    March 28, 2011 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  6. Alina77

    Oh, look who is talking?

    March 28, 2011 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  7. Jim

    What a big mouth and I mean that quite literally. He looks like he's about to try and eat an elephant in one bite.

    March 28, 2011 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  8. Name Creole

    Cry Baby Cry Baby and you all know the rest. These Republic Party Of NOOOOO!!!!! Will NEVER!!!!! And I MEAN NEVER!!!!!! Add up to the LIKE'S of MR. OBAMA..............Keep Up the GREAT JOB MR. President. They HATE YOU are doing so well They Hate IT...........Obama 2012 and The Rest Of the World Loves you and your own Country men Hate you. USA is #1 when it come to the world liking us. Ever sense you took office....we Can't give the country back to the No Party......we will all be dead

    March 28, 2011 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  9. bj bell

    Just another, politician trying hard to score some points - poor fool.

    March 28, 2011 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  10. independent

    Talk about naive. Just when we want a presence and information about what's going on in Syria, Pawlenty wants to close up shop and go home. We saw how well President Bush's policy of no diplomacy worked: a bad war and a worse war. Pawlenty would only give us more of the same.

    March 28, 2011 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  11. girly girl

    "Naive??!!" That's putting it nicely ! Don't the fools that fell for the smooth talker realize they elected a community activist for President of the United States ?? He has absolutely no qualifications. If he were any more unqualified he'd have previously served on the School Committee or Planning Board before becoming Commander in Chief.

    March 28, 2011 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  12. Charlie from the North

    Oh no kidding CNN an idiot Republican thinks that Obama is not good at being President and you call yourself a news organization? We deserve better.

    March 28, 2011 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  13. stevetall

    Great. Another moron for president. Why negotiate when you can just declare war on everybody, right Tim? Gosh, where would we be without the Republican party? Don't they have any genuinely patriotic candidates who want peace, prosperity for the working class, and an end to the corporate political money that is destroying our society? Oh, yeah. Without that kind of crap, there would be no Republican party!

    March 28, 2011 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  14. T-Paw

    Hi America! Nice to meet you! I'm not fit to be president, just like all the other Republican candidates! Remember how much fun the tea parties were? Yeah, we sure showed those 50 million uninsured Americans who deserve a chance at life! Go Big Insurance! And now there are more problems in the middle east! I know all about that, being from Minnesota. I deeply understand the intricacies of foreign policy and the Syrian psyche! Oops, Sarah Palin's got some harsh criticism for the guy who crushed her and John McCain's 2008 campaign! Looks like it's time for me to go give Michele Bachmann a backrub!

    March 28, 2011 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  15. Larry L

    Another Tea Party moron jumping into the world affairs arena to show awareness of these issues. I wonder if he can see Russia from his porch... I suppose these folks can see how the masterful; way President handled Libya and are now reaching for some other place to be critical. At some point the practice of finding fault in every issue makes the Republicans appear to be interested only in the 2012 election, even if their comments are harmful to America. Duh. That has been the Party of No's entire platform for over two years. No ideas – just foolish and critical sound bites.

    March 28, 2011 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  16. T3chsupport

    Let's just pick a fight with EVERYONE!

    March 28, 2011 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  17. Oldie in TampaBay

    Is there NO END to these idiots that like to hear themselves talk???????????

    March 28, 2011 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  18. Mark

    Just shows that Pawlenty just does not get it. Go figure.

    March 28, 2011 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  19. Paul 1st

    Pawlenty has now demonstrated that he is particularly unqualified to be President. He has poor diplomacy skills and is worse than W ever was at cowboy diplomacy. If he can't be good on the left or the right, the only place for him is out.

    March 28, 2011 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  20. Pat in IL

    Pawlenty is an uninformed idiot.

    March 28, 2011 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  21. Kevin Cantu

    God Please stop us before it's too late.......Damn how many more wars do we need at this point. FFS I'm a military veteran but hell even I know when we need to quit with this damn war mongering....It's easy for this jackass to talk his noise but the last thing we need is to do anything in regards to Syria.....Republicans are no different then Obama when it comes to getting us involved in other countries problems.....

    March 28, 2011 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  22. Brown (Arizona)

    Here we go again blablablabla. Who have this talking head a Mic!

    March 28, 2011 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  23. Crooked Bridge

    And yet another governor who is an expert in international affairs. Amazing, how they all missed their true calling, working for the US State Department. I wonder if they know the difference between State of... and State Department?

    March 28, 2011 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  24. Gezellig

    For any politician to insult and attempt to undercut any President hours before he makes a national address explaining why he is putting our troops in harm’s way constitutes a level of political opportunism unbefitting anyone who wants to be President.

    March 28, 2011 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  25. MIke smith

    I guess the lame governors similar comment on Libya kind of missed the mark so he's on to another country . Maybe something will stick to get him some attention from the politicos. Too bad thats the only reason he is out babbling on the subject. It would be a nice change to see someone running for office who really cares about an issue and isn't fabricating position papers to cater to a crowd of tea bagging morons.

    March 28, 2011 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
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