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. Dr Matrix

    More rightous GOP. The only thing they knowe about diplomacy is to kill your enemy. What would Jesus do, you ingorant bible thumping hater?

    March 28, 2011 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  2. Stephen Daugherty

    A man who thinks that a bunch of far right posturing and a fake Southern accent will convince his party to nominate him and support him for a general election does not need to be giving Obama advice on avoiding naivete.

    March 28, 2011 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  3. T'sah from Virginia

    ["Our interests in Syria are at least as strong, if not stronger, than in Libya", Pawlenty said]
    So we must handle it "both economically and otherwise." We need a few of them DEAD!
    But after you do what it takes, Mr. President, to get the job done in a most constructive way!
    You figure out and let the American people know who you think is going to pay!!!

    President Obama will get pounded from all around him.
    The reason why is because he's quite astounding
    And as long as he accomplishes his goals
    The RIGHT will go down with one flush of the bowl!!! LOL

    I am proud of our President and will stand by him!!!

    March 28, 2011 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  4. Mereze Lawson

    i bet this idiot cannot find Syria on the map. do these republicans ever have something positive or intelligent to say about any given situation or the president. men our political system has become so toxic it is getting scary. after 9/11 the whole country united under Bush and put aside political rancour for a while until instead of focusing on Bin laden and afghanistan he started pursueing the iraq fiasco that is how bush lost most his support and how he botched katrina. but ever since Obama became president with a serious economic recession almost resulting in a depresion 2 on-going wars and several other disasters and political unrests he has had to deal with (BP spill, tunisia, egypt and now libya) and the budget issues one would think they would put political posturing aside with the enormous challenges we have and work on them. the republican hate and propaganda machine went into effect the very day Obama was sworn in. tea party which every right thinking person knows is a fraud started about a month into his presidency i idk what kinda magic he could have performed on anything by then. this is a critical time in our history and most these problems have been more than a decade in the making and all these retards do is call names and point fingers. just truly pathetic

    March 28, 2011 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  5. Jason B.

    Lets see...who do I believe...a president that has numerous advisers and intelligence at his beck and call, or (yet another) former governor that thinks they know best. Hmmmm.

    March 28, 2011 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  6. Bob

    NOTE TO ALL REPUBLICANS: I'm a Conservative and have always called the shots right in Presidential politics. If you nominate Pawlenty, Palin, Gingrich or Paul that will only 100% guarantee one thing. That Obama will be reelected in a landslide. Don't be stupid. Trust me on this...

    March 28, 2011 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  7. Republican's are fraud's !

    Well I guess since Obama just schooled the GOP on Libya ! The GOP is on to the next one ! President Obama picked the right country to aide ! Ghadafi has been a problem for us since Reagan ! It is now looking more promising with each passing day that the Gadhafi problem will soon come to an end , thank's to president Obama and our allies ! Pawlenty is just verifying that he is clueless and doesn't need to be anywhere near the white house ! Give it up Timmy ! You're just not PRESIDENTIAL !

    March 28, 2011 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  8. Ric

    These Republican candidates are quite silly.

    March 28, 2011 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  9. JH

    Let me guess. His foreign policy expertise comes from his pitched struggles with North Dakota.

    March 28, 2011 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  10. sara

    Another pitiful wannabe.

    March 28, 2011 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  11. Mike in Texas

    Yawn. Another wannabe candidate slamming Obama. Don't you have a state to ruin.....I mean run Timmy?

    March 28, 2011 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  12. chris

    Obama is used to the liberal media and all the brainwashed liberals not challenging his opinion. Obama doesn't care how many Syrians die, they don't export crude oil. The liberal hypocrisy is showing it's true colors.

    March 28, 2011 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  13. EddyL

    AH SHUT UP..... If Bush was still in office he'd have invaded Libya, Tunisia, and Syria as well as Iran... THEY HAVE WMD!!!!

    Talk about naive; talkie about STUPID!

    March 28, 2011 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  14. Michael

    Looks like Pawlenty is preparing to defecate. Oh, wait, is that his face? Sorry.
    If you want the definition of naive, how about the president who crowed "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq 8 years ago?
    If that wasn't naive, it was a flat-out lie.
    Pawlenty shut your pie hole or whatever that thing is.

    March 28, 2011 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  15. CTYank

    And, besides Mr. Pawlenty being another "nattering nabob of negativism", his bona-fides about Syria, that part of the Middle East and anyone's naivete are what? For now, butt out Tim.
    When you're prejudiced by the facts, we might listen.

    March 28, 2011 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  16. MAMA

    Pawlenty's political career ended with MN Governship – he's just a male side of Sarah Palin and smart Americans know better than wasting their time on cheap politics from this rightist. We have alot more entertainment coming up from the Pawlenty/Palin/Michelle B camp untill real Americans prove to them that they are not, and cannot be the crop of leaders to vie for presidency. This trio thrives best in the guagmire of the least informed and the most misinformed clout of this nation alias the tea party zealots. What a pity! Good luck Mr President wannabee..

    March 28, 2011 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  17. Francisco Cardenas

    Pawlenty is a joke! What does he know about foreign policy? NOTHING.

    March 28, 2011 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  18. Tam

    Ya gotta consider the source of the criticism, and just move on and ignore it.

    March 28, 2011 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  19. Chuckie

    Barack Obama-Worst President Ever!

    March 28, 2011 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  20. Ryan NC

    So now we must act on Syria? I thought that Pres. Obama was wrong at acting in Lybia! I wonder if Mr. Pawlenty used his Soutern accent or his Minnesotan accent. He usually shifts for the occasion!

    March 28, 2011 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  21. Thomas

    “Here you have a country (that has) enabled and accommodated people to go into Iraq and kill American soldiers."

    Do you think that might have had anything to do with the fact that American soldiers had just ILLEGALLY INVADED Iraq, making themselves targets for Iraqi soldiers and their allies in Syria?

    Pawlenty should remember that he still is and always will be sitting in the cheap seats.

    March 28, 2011 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  22. Indy

    How many years experience does Pawlenty have in the military and foreign policy experience ? Does he have the same amount of world class advisors as Obama ? I am sure many are like me ,and sick of hearing from people that think they have all the answers from the comfort of their living rooms. Republicans continue to make a living by putting down every military intellegence advisor they can and not creating ONE single job. Just another Republican smokescreen to make us all think that jobs are not as importamt as slamming the sitting President.

    March 28, 2011 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  23. Phoenix86

    Not naive as much as ignorant and incompetent.

    March 28, 2011 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  24. Unenrolled in Massachusetts

    How many wars do these republicans want us to get into?

    March 28, 2011 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  25. Ex-GOP Con

    riiiiiight...and the GOP thought that we would be greeted as liberators in Iraq with flowers and parades and that we would recoup our losses through oil revenue.

    Naive? – Kettle meet pot.

    March 28, 2011 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
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