March 6th, 2014
06:08 PM ET
6 months ago

Obama's foreign policy a target of opportunity for CPAC speakers

(CNN) – Conservative heavyweights, some of whom might launch White House campaigns, contend a weak foreign policy under President Barack Obama emboldened Russia to intervene militarily in Ukraine.

The European crisis wasn't at the top of the agenda at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, but a number of speakers put it at the top of theirs.

They said the entire affair illustrates an unconvincing American presence on an international stage.

"Putin would not be acting with this level of aggression if it were not for the consistent weakness and appeasement of our enemies of President Obama," Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas told reporters.

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida called Russia's intervention in Crimea a "critical moment in our nation's history" before slamming Obama for relying on his global star power to influence international relations.

"I don't like to make these issues of national security partisan because it's important that our country be united in moments like this but we cannot ignore that the flawed foreign policy of the last few years has brought us to this stage," Rubio said.

As Russia tries to exert influence in the region, Rubio warned of leaders like Putin gaining further traction in their efforts to expand power.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal took a less measured approach to criticizing Obama with regard to Russia. He flat out questioned the President's intelligence.

"We have long thought and said this President is a smart man. It may be time to revisit that assumption," he said.

Obama "doesn't understand that a weak America leads to instability" and "who doesn't seem to understand that our allies, our enemies alike need and want a strong America," he said.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie did not mention Ukraine in his address to the political gathering but did allude to America's global standing as seen through a conservative Republican lens.

"We need to make sure that we say we are for America being a leader in the world. And we are for a strong national defense, not one that allows other countries to run us over all over the world," he said to applause.

Many Republicans have been outspoken on Obama administration plans to scale back the military in an era of budget austerity.

John Bolton, a senior fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said "our biggest national security crisis is Barack Obama."

"We're not going to get peace through strength because we're not devoting the budget to it. But we're not going to get peace through weakness either. We're gonna get what we see today in the Ukraine where Vladimir Putin has a strategy and Obama has nothing, where Putin has a growing defense budget, and ours is shrinking," he said.

The administration is pursuing a diplomatic strategy along with European allies to remedy the crisis, and has threatened economic and other sanctions if the matter cannot be resolved.

Obama has called Putin's incursion into Ukraine a violation of international law, and says the Ukrainian people should determine their own destiny.


Filed under: Bobby Jindal • Chris Christie • Marco Rubio • President Obama • Russia • Ted Cruz • Vladimir Putin
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Ric

    This is the time where all members of Congress need to stop criticizing the President of the United States of America and show unilateral support in helping the entire international community resolve the crisis in Ukraine. Russia needs to learn that they cannot occupy a region under the guise of support.

    March 6, 2014 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  2. Colorado

    Heaven forbid these men came up with any ideas of their own. They still believe this tact will win elections for them, some folks never learn.

    March 6, 2014 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  3. carlos

    A republican would never miss an opportunity to criticize this president

    March 6, 2014 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  4. rs

    Republicans (who have no viable foreign policy of their own) are in no place to criticize the current sitting President of the United States for events in the Ukraine when their own flock of chicken hawks made a pigsty of Iraq and Afghanistan, and saw Georgia return to Russia under Mr. Bush's watch.
    The transparency of the GOP in their hatred for out nation is overwhelming.

    March 6, 2014 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  5. don in albuquerque

    Of course the GOTP has no idea how to handle foreign affairs other then start a war somewhere. Anywhere. Maybe Canada or Greenland. It is easy to criticize when the President can do nothing right, no matter what he did, as far as they are concerned. They hated Clinton, but they despise Obama, I wonder why???? Could it be........................................... Not only poor excuses for leaders but even worse excuses for human beings.

    March 6, 2014 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  6. Name

    Wow, let's blame everything on Obama, smh

    March 6, 2014 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  7. Tampa Tim

    Like most Americans, I am as fond of low life republican cheap shot artists who are ill informed, but the GOP represents the lowest form of life.

    March 6, 2014 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  8. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    WHO CARES WHAT the brain dead GOP says or does. The GOP has 0 credibility anymore on ANY issue!!!!!! You will find out in November when you LOSE the house and senate. The majority of voters DONT support the GOP on any major issue including healthcare which they have been HIDING BEHIND for SIX YEARS!!!!!!!

    March 6, 2014 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  9. Jim

    It should be clear to everyone by now that Obama is inept at the most powerful office in this country. He simply cannot lead at anything. This is a man who subscribed himself as one who would unify this country, but has done more to divide it than any president before him. Forget the cover up with Benghazi, the IRS targeting Conservatives, the NSA fiasco, and all the underhanded tatcics by his Democratic minions in the Senate..... Look at his signature health program.........What a nightmare.........This was about a guy with an agenda who wanted to change America, not lead it..............What a mess............If a Republican doesn't win after 8 years of this moron, I'm leaving...................

    March 6, 2014 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  10. ThinkAgain - If you want Congress to actually do something FOR the American people, vote OUT the repub/tea bag majority

    If you're looking for Americans to blame for Putin's actions, look in the mirror, CPAC. Everyone on the planet knows that your hatred for President Obama is so great that you don't mind harming our country in your process to deny him legislative victories, let alone support him during wartime (a sacrament for the right under GW) or lift a finger to help him continue to turn our economy around.

    CPAC and all the righties are too dim to recognize they are being played by Putin. Think about it: Why bother to launch an assault on the U.S. when the gop/tea bags will gladly tear our country apart for you? And heck, your tax-deductible "contributions" to the black holes formed because of Citizens United make funding your little terrorist adventure all the more easy!

    March 6, 2014 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  11. Smitty

    Ever since the RED LINE back down when Obumbles backed down the USA foreign policy went out the window.
    Obumbles has America looking weak and prone for more vile attacks. Spin it any way you want the world saw him cower. End of story.

    March 6, 2014 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  12. Janice Solomon

    Instead of standing together with Democrats, Republican's and Tea Party Racist's Insist on making the Black President look like a failure! They would sooner bring our Nation down, then stand with President Obama !
    They are a Disgrace to AMERICA !

    March 6, 2014 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  13. jboh

    The same old clown car. A new addition, Ted Cruz. The greatest freak show since Joe McCarthy.

    March 6, 2014 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  14. BADGUY

    Republicans LOVE to act "tough" when THEY and their children will NOT be fighting and dying in the Wars they start! What losers!

    March 6, 2014 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  15. Really?!!

    Barry Obama has a foreign policy? Really? What is it? I don't seem to recall. Please help me out. Thanks loads.

    March 6, 2014 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  16. Dan

    So.... the GOP blames Obama for our deficit (even though one of the main causes was Bush and his two wars), but now they are mad at him for not rushing blindly into another war (yeah guys, that'll help the deficit).

    March 6, 2014 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  17. Kinard

    They're like scared rabbits. They are straining their ears and twisting their necks, almost to the point of them becoming detached from what they call their bodies, trying to find some way (any way), to defeat their opponents in the next election cycle. They are in this state of mind because they know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they have been outed for what they are, and they know the American people, are not going to allow it to continue. It's funnier than hell to see them stumbling on almost every step they take.

    March 6, 2014 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  18. Dinaanid

    Wow. The GOP said all THAT? surprise surprise. Too bad they have no credibility whatsoever after attacking everything Obama has done for every moment he has been in office.

    March 6, 2014 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  19. art

    Sounds like repubs, just want to continue killing our men and women, just prove that America ain t no punk.

    March 6, 2014 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  20. wendel

    an the republican options are??? War or what. Real good at complaining but no solutions just like everything they do/ Bunch of unpatriotic clowns . We would seem less weak if we had the full congress and senate behind us instead of these traitors undermining the American people.

    March 6, 2014 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  21. art

    Why don t we just drop a few nukes and end it all.

    March 6, 2014 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  22. Vicki

    How quickly these republicans forget who made it a campaign promise to find and kill Osama bid Laden. They also forget that he has killed more terrorists with drones who will not be able to hurt this country. We can't be the world police but President Obama is staying top of the situation and will do what is wise.

    March 6, 2014 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  23. Aydin

    That's true that Putin has a strategy , long vision and strong growing economy .
    But what Mr Obama has after being a president second time . I am not agreed with his " ultimatums " to Mr Putin that he will stop the visas for Russians and so ...
    Russians are not threatened with Mr Obamas suncktions . Russians are not after the wars like the American adminstrations . One thing is not clear to us , Whats Mr Obamas business or interest on Ukrain issue ? He has no rights to involve nighther historically nore the geographically ! The Ukrain people must decide their own future and up to them to have a deals with UNN or Russia .
    All of these are just a politics at the end , from my point of view . We are just the followers ..,

    March 6, 2014 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  24. Getoverit

    What foreign policy would that be? The fact that Obama knows where Russia is on a map?

    March 7, 2014 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  25. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    We should send all the GOP circus CLOWNS over to the Russian boarder with the NRA and their one gun!!!!

    March 7, 2014 03:10 am at 3:10 am |
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