(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.