TRENDING: Pawlenty: Obama administration 'naive' on Syria
March 28th, 2011
09:24 PM ET
4 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. Marie MD

    paw man get lost. You were bad for Minnesota and you are bad for the Nation. You will NEVER win anything except that you are making money now from people you are fleecing.
    BTW – that picture of you with your mouth open is so that you can put your foot in it, chew and swallow! Moron.

    March 29, 2011 06:13 am at 6:13 am |
  2. Tony in Maine

    Trying to think of a way to describe the level of pandering by Republicans who would be king, but I'm at a loss. Pawlenty trying to sound tough is like Don Knotts pretending he's Clint Eastwood.

    March 29, 2011 06:13 am at 6:13 am |
  3. Jerry

    This president is not only naive; he's clueless! If he had any decency, he would resign and take his administration with him.

    March 29, 2011 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  4. cgarcia

    This looks as if he doesn't know his head from his but. Crawl back to the rock you were under.

    March 29, 2011 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  5. Name king

    Here goes the flip flippers on the march again, these repugs are gutless, they always shouting and screaming for obama to do something, the problem is when he does it, they immediately flip and scream kick and holler that he's ruining the country. 75 percent of the repugs thinks he was not born in America and his presidency is not legit, yet they always screaming and hollering that he's not leading them, "doing what their ultra right groups wants of course", and when he does he gets chastised for not doing what they want, 100 percent perfect. I think places in the middle east is good to open business and help out the region, who's young people are tired of being in a box, because of their culture. They want to explore and move into the future and take their part in the world modernization, building infrastructure that will rival the west and china, and build space ships to become the leaders in science and exploration, they've got the oil money and will to educate themselves to accomplish this, but they need to break the chains that bines them for centuries. Pawlenty if you repugs ever get serious and stop with the political games, people around the world will take us serious, and welcome our help to help their people, and intern help ourselves.

    March 29, 2011 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  6. zb

    God save us from this endless parade of delusional loud mouth shoot first Republicans.

    March 29, 2011 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  7. Whammybar

    "Our Interests" you mean big oil interest. you mena military interest. Maybe they are trying to kill our soldiers because we won't leave them alone! Did you ever see them at the front door kindly asking if we would like to buy some oil? Tell you what. Why don't you go down there and fight for it! Take some of your family with you. Oh, use your money to pay for it also, not mine! War monger!

    March 29, 2011 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  8. e01938

    ...and your qualifications Tim – besides a big mouth – on the issue?

    March 29, 2011 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  9. Dave

    Here we go again – another Republican bench-warmer with a big mouth and no brains. I'm not a huge fan of what is going in Libya right now and I think other nations need to take the lead on this.

    However the hypocrisy of many in the GOP is appalling. They didn't say anything when Dumbya was getting involved in the Middle East and putting our military in harms way on premises mired in incompetence and dishonesty. Now when the other guy is in charge, they are screaming from the rooftops. I wish I was surprised at this, but I’m not.

    March 29, 2011 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  10. Marge

    What a pipsqueak.....Obama naive? What in the world does Phewlenty and he does phew know about foreign policy. In the eight years he had to ruin Minnesota he didn't know what he was doing one minute to the next. What a jerk -folks I'd set this little POS down and leave him locked in the outhouse where he belongs. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha just goes to show, a republican will say anything if he thinks it will help him get elected. I guess when the big guns say they are running for president little flecks like this will never get face time.

    March 29, 2011 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  11. Jeff

    Pawleny is an IDIOT! If this moron ever became President, I'd move to Canada.

    March 29, 2011 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  12. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Little Timmy should go to Syria and find out first hand why the members of congress who have been there do not share his war like ambitions. There is no republican running for president with common sense. Michelle Bachmann may be dumb as a stick, but she appears to be smarter than the 'Baron of Minnesota Bridges.'

    March 29, 2011 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  13. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Little Timmy's motto should be, "Country First; States, Cities, Towns, and Villages are Farther Down on the List."

    March 29, 2011 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  14. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Why does Little Timmy say stupid things? We know Fox viewers are not bright, but they even have to reject his venom.

    March 29, 2011 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  15. elly

    You wouldn,t know a Damn thing about foriegn Policy,Pelenty? You only Know how to start Wars in America! Your war will be "The American Working Class! Idiot. You look foreign to me? Where is your Birth Cert.????? Show us? All Talk! Go talk to Trump in the war room,how scarry is that???????

    March 29, 2011 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  16. writewurds

    Palwenty, has has much foreign affairs credentials as Sarah Palin. Actually, he probably has less...I'm absolutely sure he can't see Russia from his doorstep. Can't wait to see this lightweight, along with the many other GOP featherweights, get creamed in the primary.

    March 29, 2011 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  17. chris

    Here is what I would like to know and what every American should ask potential candidates who are seeking a political office. HOW MANY SECURITY BRIEFING REGARDING THE INTEREST OF THE US IN A FORIEGN COUNTRY HAVE THEY ATTENDED? It is so funny these people can just run off at the mouth on things and have no clue as to what is really going on. Every voter should understand and not be gullible to the rhetoric that is constantly, given by a lot of politicians. Sure they can say they are getting information from a reliable source, but can you really believe them? The people in the media who interview these people should always ask them "how do you know this?" and wait for the response. TIME TO WAKE UP AMERICA!!! If we continue to put ineffective people in political offices, we are no better than countries that have leaders who are self serving Dictators.

    March 29, 2011 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  18. TWM

    Well! I'm sure benig governor of Minnesota gave T-Paw tremendous foreign policy experience!
    After all, Canada didn't invade or attack on his watch
    Silly Putz!

    March 29, 2011 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  19. republicans

    Republicans are just mad they didn't call for bombing Libya first. Whatever Obama does, they take the opposite position, and then trot in the "straw man" (usually gay marriage, gun control, or in this case a so called much more oppressive regime) by one of the "rising stars." It's laughable the party that usually loves to shoot first and ask questions later is calling for sanctions anywhere. They have traditionally discounted sanctions as ineffective tools of the liberal elite. Whether or not you agree with anything Obama has done, you can't deny that the Republicans simply appeal to the dumbest people in America who forget the bait and switch EVERY TIME.

    March 29, 2011 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  20. DAW, NC

    wow lets start another war, cut taxes, limit peoples rights, ignore the needs of the poor, support business and >>>>>>> how can he criticize Libya while pointing to another regime needing change. Its easy he is a GOP candidate for president and can say anything to his massess.

    March 29, 2011 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  21. LA, LA, LA

    Republicans will criticize everything Obama does. There's no money to do anything but starting up wars. This from a little two bit governor who will not "think" about consequences if he was president.

    March 29, 2011 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  22. The Greedy Old Pigs love WAR!

    Stupid Timmy can't see the difference between stopping tanks and planes via a aerial support versus putting boots on the ground (which the vast majority of Americans oppose). Of course the Greedy Old Parasites love war so this is not unexpected.

    March 29, 2011 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  23. ckerst

    Hey Tim, it's unamerican to not back the president in a time of war. After you cheered on the Iraq disaster for 8 years all i can say to you is stfu.

    March 29, 2011 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  24. Chumlee

    Come on Timmy, you could not find Syria on a map if you had to.

    Since when is a loser former governor of Minnesota an expert of foreign relations/affairs? You could not balance a budget
    in a state with 4.5 million residents, and left with a $6.2 billion deficit.

    What a joke this wingnut is - he needs to look up "naive" in Webster, as he does not have a clue as to what he is
    talking about.

    Go President Obama - you surpass this idiot Pawlenty in intelligence a million times over!

    March 29, 2011 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  25. Kahuna

    Pawlenty. Criticizing the president doesn't make you a better presidential candidate.

    March 29, 2011 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
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