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. vinster76

    it is truly stunning the level of spin the white house is putting on this latest tragi-comedy, induced by the "transformational president" himself.......the excuse-making and attempts at explanation leave most americans simply speechless.........you don't need to have an IQ above 40 to see through these pathetic attempts to make this president look competent......

    September 12, 2013 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  2. hammer

    Obama is no leader.

    September 12, 2013 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  3. penguin

    Libertarians are the ones who want something for nothing. The education they received, the food they eat, the transportation system they use, and the energy they use made by hydroelecric power are all products of what they call "socialism". Liberals who favor people receiving welfare, higher wages, etc are not the people who receive those bensfits. Indeed, most liberals have more education and higher paying jobs than libertarians. Liberals are merely in favor of helping those who need help because they believe sociaty is better off by everyone being able to meet their basic needs and have some ability to have time and resources to engage in recreational pursuits. I am a liberal and receive nothing (monetarily) from society providing help to others

    September 12, 2013 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  4. CaliforniaAC

    The president will eventually catch on to the GOPledbytheTEAPARTY minority that if he says NO the REPUGs say YES and vice versa. The Tea baggers will bring down the GOP and make it irrelevant for generations to come

    September 12, 2013 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  5. Yomi Olalere

    The problem of America are Americans. Most Americans analyze issues ignorantly and pathetically. The situation is Syria is very complex and dangerous. As a Commander-In-Chief, you cannot act abruptly and talk tough on people. There is something called Diplomacy which past administration failed to adopt and we all know how that ended.

    September 12, 2013 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  6. pjoe

    Obama. Hope and change. Had enough?

    September 12, 2013 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  7. RJ

    I dont think it's a question about Obama's ability at this point. His actions speak volumes. He is simply not capable.

    September 12, 2013 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  8. lou

    This is Jimmy Carter II but with bigger special effects....

    September 12, 2013 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  9. michael

    GOP has no credibility, no integrity, no honesty, just deceitful, incendiary hyperbole political hypocrisy, and divisive polarizing rhetoric. This president policies brought this back from the grave economically, losing 750,000 jobs per month, a mortgage, Auto, Banking, Healthcare, wall street crisis and; Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and nuclear conflicts with N Korea and Iran! Now, the deficit has diminished in record fashion (of which CNN and other media networks will not give any worthy reporting). This president makes corker look like a cork screw!

    September 12, 2013 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  10. Evergreen

    The major difference between Bush adm and this one: even thiugh democrates were outraged at how the 2000 election was decided, when our nation faced a difficult challenge democrates put aside their differences in order to present a united front. Republicans at the least turned their backs at the worse stabbed the President in the back every chance they got. They are actually cheering for Putin and Assad. Democrates might not have always liked the person elected president but we always respected the Office of the President.

    September 12, 2013 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  11. king

    the repubs hate our president so much that they are willing to take side with Putin and undermined our country. Putin knows that anything Obama is for the repubs are against it: Romney care, neocon wars, budget, etc. they watch the news just as much as we do, so why on earth are the repubs are saying that Obama is letting our country look week. how the hell can we stand strong if we are divided. all Putin is doing is divide and conquer, he just doesn't have to do the dividing part, because the right wingers have got that covered.

    September 12, 2013 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  12. Woman In California

    Minorities are watching and listening to the g o p and their constant disrespect for this president and I can guarantee them one thing, we will remember.

    As far the idiots calling Jay Carney names–really? It's quite laughable considering the sources.

    September 12, 2013 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  13. Richard Long

    "The NSA does not spy on US citizens..."
    "The IRS did not target political groups..."

    Does anyone believe the lies that come out of Carney's mouth anymore?

    September 12, 2013 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  14. Cephus

    Mr. Carney, how much does it cost to join the White House circus club?

    September 12, 2013 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  15. ED1

    Why don't you cry on your mothers shoulder you are worse than Obama and that's pretty bad.

    September 12, 2013 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  16. Thomas

    Bob Corker (Tenn.) ... 2002 votes giving President George W. Bush the authority to invade Iraq. Bob Corker, the senior Republican on the panel. ... President Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

    how soon we forget

    September 13, 2013 01:37 am at 1:37 am |
  17. dj

    "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."

    Thanks Bob Corker, for undercutting our POTUS particularly at this time – you are garbage. What a fool I have been to ever think supporting a POTUS in time of need, regardless if there was a difference of opinion was "patriotic." From now on – the "new rules" are trash every President all the time – just for the sake of politics. Mr. Corker you certainly are no part of the solution nor would you ever want to be – that would require honest work on your part, and I'm sure you will have nothing to do with anything that would disturb your selfish need to gloat in troubled times.

    September 13, 2013 04:16 am at 4:16 am |
  18. CMML

    I don't envy Carney. The number of lies he has to tell and the stories he has to spin must make it difficult for him to sleep at night. Hopefully he can do what George Steph... did and get a cushy job with a network when this is over

    September 13, 2013 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  19. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ don in albuquerque
    Bravo! Well said.
    Pesident Obama has boldy tried to collectively raise our consciousness and how we view ourselves and act towards others, but as you stated, his hands have been effectively tied.
    We electedhim because his vision was inspiring.
    I never thought that he's have to contend with so-called representatives of the people who would make it their primary goal to see him fail, and by extension the country, and who would rather vote against their own proposals if it meant a vote against him.

    September 13, 2013 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  20. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    tom l

    @Tampa
    Why do you bring race into the discussion?
    -------------------------------------------------
    Give it up.
    Race entered this discussion January 20th, 2008.
    Act like you know.

    September 13, 2013 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  21. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Correction: January 20th, 2009.
    Pardon.

    September 13, 2013 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  22. M.A.P.

    President Obama is a great President and is miles ahead of George W Bush. This rhetoric from the right about him having someone lost diplomatic points, as if world politics is a football game!! MAybe to Putin and Assad it is, but thank GOD that Obama has his head screwed on and doesn't just jump right in with a dumb idea. He thinks things through, allows other countries to take part. This is a positive developement, but of course the right will take any little opportunity to try to sell their fear campaign. Simply pathetic.

    September 13, 2013 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  23. Name willard

    Carney is not hit cork cause carney was lied story what happened about 4 amercian was murder of benghiz,ia lybia

    September 13, 2013 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
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