Carney hits back at Corker's criticism
September 12th, 2013
03:31 PM ET
11 months ago

Carney hits back at Corker's criticism

(CNN) – White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Thursday defended President Barack Obama after Sen. Bob Corker, a Republican ally for the president, questioned in a CNN interview the president's ability to be commander in chief.

"I think that the American people, at least in my assessment, appreciate a commander in chief who takes in new information and doesn't celebrate decisiveness for the sake of decisiveness," Carney said in the daily press briefing.

Corker offered some unusually tough criticism of the president, blasting the way he has handled the situation in Syria and arguing Obama's credibility has taken a blow on Capitol Hill.

"The president just seems to be very uncomfortable being commander in chief of this nation," Corker said Wednesday in an interview with CNN's Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash.

Corker, who was part of a small group of GOP senators that had dinner with Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday, said the president is "confident and very engaging" in a private setting. The two have met often on policy issues and went golfing together as recently as May, something the president rarely does with members of Congress.

"He's very good in an interpersonal setting, he just cannot follow through," he added. "He cannot speak to the nation as a commander in chief. He cannot speak to the world as a commander in chief. He just cannot do it, and I don't know what it is."

About four in ten approve of the job Obama is doing on foreign policy, with 57% of those questioned giving the president a thumbs down, according to a CNN/ORC International survey. The 40% approval rating on foreign policy is Obama's lowest level ever on that issue in CNN polling.

Specifically on Syria, 31% of the public approves of the president's policies and actions, with 63% giving him a thumbs down. Four in ten Democrats say they disapprove of the job Obama's doing on Syria, with 54% saying they approve.

Overall, the president's approval rating stands at 45%, with 52% saying they disapprove of the job he's doing in the White House. The 45% approval rating is unchanged from CNN's previous poll, which was conducted in June.

– CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


Filed under: Bob Corker • Jay Carney • President Obama • Syria
soundoff (98 Responses)
  1. ThinkAgain

    "The president just seems to be very uncomfortable being commander in chief of this nation," Corker said Wednesday.

    Tell that to bin Laden, many top al Qaeda leadership and three Somali pirates, who are all rotting in their graves because of President Obama's decisions as Commander in Chief.

    September 12, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  2. Tampa Tim

    It has to be tough for a rich white senator from a red neck state to have a black president.

    September 12, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  3. sonny chapman

    Obama needs to squint his eyes & talk Texan, like W. did when scaring America into war w/Iraq. Practice saying "New-clear". And threaten anyone who challenges him that they're "emboldening" the enemy. OR, he could publicly display the body of Bin Laden. That might impress the Neanderthals who suffer from latent inferiority complexes.

    September 12, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  4. Gunderson

    Humm,
    What do we have here/? We have nothing, nothing, nothing. Putin also wondering who leading in White House. No one. But we have Putin Care, loved by No one. Who care illegal's deported. They pay into Social Security but no collect. P. T. Barnum was right.

    September 12, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    If you repeatedly criticize the same issue, but without offering positive ideas or alternative courses of actions, then what you're really doing is bleeping and whining

    September 12, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  6. joe

    corker should shut his mouth. no elected rep. should undermine our president in this way, especially in matters of national defense. corker and his partisan hacks don't give a damm about our country. all they care about is scoring political points and degrading our president. they are all chicken hawks. everyone one of them. one thing i'm certain of is that if there was a republican in the white house the entire GOP would be supporting whatever the presidents position was and calling out all those who may oppose their position. the issue in syria is difficult. i have not heard one single republican who can articulate what they would do differently then the president. really, our country would be better off if all these chicken hawks would vote to support military strikes and send a message to the world that we are united.

    September 12, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  7. sonny chapman

    The two greatest War Presidents we ever had: Lincoln, gawky looking & spoke with a shrill voice, and FDR, confined to a wheel chair.

    September 12, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  8. FubarObama

    Obama is getting taken to the cleaners.

    September 12, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  9. Silence DoGood

    @thinkagain "bin Laden, many top al Qaeda leadership and three Somali pirates"

    Obama killed the better part of 1000 innocent people in the process of getting those folks. And then we don't know how many dies in the bombing of Libya. And he was lined up to bomb again if not for the outcry of the people. He is a War President like the cowboy before him.

    September 12, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  10. just saying

    corker is right and is saying exactly what most already know and believe. obama is not a leader by any definition of the word. a true leader does not take credit for what a few seal team mebers were good enough to pull off. he gives them all the credit for it was they who put their lives on the line to accomplish the mission.

    a true leader does not shoot his mouth off about red lines and then have them crossed repeatedly without doing something, besides shifting the political decision to others. a true leader does not insult other leaders in public on a daily basis and then expect to get cooperation from them. a true leader does not go to bed at night and get up in the morning to go to a campaign fund raiser while americans, including our ambassador, are being attacked and killed over a 9 hour stretch.

    I could list many more examples but you and the rest of the country know the long list of obama leadership failures. to call obama an empty suit is to insult empty suits. and unfortunatrly now the bluff is over and the whole world knows the truth.

    September 12, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  11. tom l

    @Tampa
    Why do you bring race into the discussion? It must be that you have some latent or guilty feelings that you once must have possessed that thought process. Who cares what color Corker is? You do realize that he supported Obama when he was talking about striking Syria, don't you?

    Oh, and if you and your liberal friends had any type of perspective or intellectual honesty, you would realize the awful things you said about Bush. You called him a liar. You called him a loser. You said that he wasn't really president because he lost the election. How is that any different from what repubs are doing today? If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. The fact is, Obama is being treated no differently than Bush.

    September 12, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  12. tom l

    @Tampa
    And you should really take a look in the mirror because your anger, vitriol and hate towards the right is no better than what you claim of them. You possess such anger and rage that it's astounding.

    September 12, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    "The president just seems to be very uncomfortable being commander in chief of this nation," Corker said Wednesday....
    -----------------
    The Senator just seems to be very uncomfortable with the current commander in chief of this nation.

    FIFY

    September 12, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  14. J'Cinchnnati'Redd

    I almost never take Obama side. but Corker is doing more harm then good. We As Americans,now more then ever have to come together during a time like this. The world knows that we all hate eachother. Thats not good. Remember ROME?

    September 12, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  15. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Pile on time for the Guns Over People Partial Government Shutdown tea potty. Their Wall Street masters won't let them downgrade America's credit rating AGAIN so the ACA rolls on out.

    September 12, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  16. Liam O'Blique

    Senator Corker,

    Bin Laden and Qaddafi have said the exact same thing about President Obama at their daily meetings in Hell!

    September 12, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  17. Data Driven

    Corker was way out of line yesterday. As others on Ticker have noted, it's not surprising that other world leaders, cf. Putin, write undiplomatic op-eds when top leaders in our own government hysterically criticize the President.

    September 12, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  18. anonymous

    You know this country has a leadership problem when Dennis Rodman has more foreign policy successes than Obama and Kerry combined. Maybe Obama and Kerry should consider getting more tattoos and a nose ring? At least it'll make it easier for them to be lead around by Mr. Putin.

    September 12, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  19. JohnB

    Obama is the lamest "President" this country has ever seen, Corker is completely correct.

    September 12, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  20. orrball

    Even Hollywood is not talking. Tell me one thing he has owned because everything is some one else's fault .

    September 12, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  21. ghags

    This is what happens when you take an uneducated unproven Black man and make him president. He gets lost without the prompter. The world is laughing at him and the Citizens of this once great nation.You can't get the UN, UK, China, Germany, Russia or any to support your Syria strike not even majority of the DEMOCRATS. The only one you get is FRANCE REALLY FN FRANCE. ODUMBO THE JOKER

    September 12, 2013 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  22. HoustonOilMan

    @ Gunderson
    Have you been taking English lessons for Sarah Palin or are just speaking in tongues again?

    September 12, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  23. anotherGDlefty

    Read the comments from the GOTP here and you know exactly why Putin has no problem slamming the US, these dopes will swallow anything from anyone as long as it's anti-Obama.
    Fox News is bad news for America.

    September 12, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  24. rs

    While it was once entertaining watching the GOP/TP try to invent some sort of logic for their divisive obstruction, it really has just become rather predictable and somewhat annoying. No one lauds them for it. No one thinks it is clever or productive.It certainly flys in the face of what the public wants in its leadership. Frankly, as they have long ago run out of any sort of logic for their actions, the GOP simply looks, well, stupid and juvenile. It is sort of like having to endure endless rerun loops of Gilligan's Island.

    September 12, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  25. tom l

    @Rudy
    "The Senator (Reid) just seems to be very uncomfortable with the current commander in chief (Bush) of this nation.

    Did I just FIFY? :) Why? Why? Why? Can't someone disagree with Obama based on Obama's positions? Can't it just be that simple? I just don't understand why you on the left are going down that road?

    September 12, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
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