Sunday Chatter: GOP hold up ‘Obama-is-weak’ card; GOP angling
March 9th, 2014
04:10 PM ET
4 years ago

Sunday Chatter: GOP hold up ‘Obama-is-weak’ card; GOP angling

The Sunday political talk shows were stacked with Republicans, and most of them said President Barack Obama has repeatedly showed weakness in his foreign policy, bolstering Russian President Vladimir Putin’s resolve and agenda in Ukraine.

If you missed any of the Sunday political chatter, we've got you covered:

Obama is not weak: Tony Blinken, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, defended the President and his response to Putin’s advancement in the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine.

“With regard to Russia, in coordination with our allies, we've imposed significant sanctions on Russia, and that's already exerting a cost. We've seen Russian markets go down substantially, the ruble go down and investors sitting on the fence,” Blinken said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “Russia is paying a price for this.”

But Obama really is weak: But Republican adversaries aren’t buying it.

“The administration thought if we just act nice, everyone will act nice with us. That's not way that Putin and the Russian Federation sees the rest of the world,” Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said on ABC’s “This Week.”

On CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” Rep. Paul Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin and potential 2016 presidential candidate, criticized the United States’ “reset” policy with Russia as “wishful, naïve thinking” – a targeted jab at fellow potential presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who led that policy as secretary of state.

And former Vice President Dick Cheney, a foreign policy hawk, was the most pointed: “We have created an image around the world - not just for the Russians - of weakness, of indecisiveness,” he told CBS News’ “Face the Nation” guest host Charlie Rose.

Cheney said the world is “a safer, more stable place when the United States leads, when we have significant military capability, and when people know we will use it if necessary.”

“They no longer fear us,” he added.

“The Syrian situation is a classic - we got all ready to do something, but … at the last minute, Obama backed off.”

Syria is not Ukraine: When CNN’s Candy Crowley asked Blinken whether Putin sensed weakness after watching the United States deal with Syria, Blinken said the civil war in Syria and the United States’ policy there had no bearing on Ukraine.

“The notion that this is somehow a result of Syria makes very little sense to me. This is about Ukraine,” he said, adding that Obama and the United States are “doing the leading” against Putin.

Bob Gates, former defense secretary for both Obama’s and President George W. Bush’s administrations, defended the President on “Fox News Sunday.”

He said criticism of the President “ought to be toned down while he’s trying to handle the crisis,” Gates said.

Remember Georgia? Rogers, of Michigan, said Russia’s actions in Crimea are similar to what Russia did in Georgia in 2008.

“We’ve seen this story before, and when we didn’t react … we ended up buying into bigger trouble later, and I think that’s what you’re seeing happening,” he said.

Gates said President Bush didn’t receive the same criticism then as Obama is receiving now.

“My own view is, after all, Putin invaded Georgia when George W. Bush was President. Nobody ever accused George W. Bush of being weak or unwilling to use military force.”

Cheney addressed that, saying the Bush administration did respond to Russia’s invasion of Georgia.

“We did take some steps in terms of providing assistance to Georgia. We had ships in the region and so forth,” Cheney told Rose.

Two paths – for Russia and for the United States: Blinken laid out the Obama administration’s plan:

“What Putin is seeing is the President mobilizing the international community, both in support of Ukraine and isolate Russia for its actions in Ukraine,” Blinken said. He added that Russia has a choice to make: continue to push forward in Ukraine and face economic repercussions, or retreat.

“The President made it very clear in announcing our sanctions, as did the Europeans the other day, that this was a first step,” Blinken said.

But some Republicans outline a different path for Obama to take.

Cheney said the ballistic missile defense system in the Czech Republic and Poland should be put back on the table. He also said the United States should conduct joint military training exercises in Poland and provide equipment and training to the Ukrainian military.

Oil and natural gas: Republicans, who have been pushing the Obama administration to expand domestic oil and natural gas production, read from similar scripts Sunday, saying American energy production is critical to minimizing Putin’s international influence.

Ryan: “We're a nation with vast energy reserve and potential but with a government that's seen as hostile toward developing those energy reserves. If our government changed its tune on that, if we told Europe we are going to green light the languishing permit applications for exporting natural gas to Europe, that could do a lot to send signals that we're intent on loosening Russia's grip on its energy to Europe.”

Rep. Peter King of New York on NBC’s “Meet the Press”: “We have to increase exports of liquefied natural gas. These countries like England and others and Germany cannot be forced to rely on Russia. … The natural gas - we have enough to supply so many countries in the world. And we should right now start lifting restrictions. We should begin exporting as quickly as we can.”

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky on “Fox News Sunday”: I “would immediately get every obstacle out of the way for our export of oil and gas, and I would begin drilling in every possible conceivable place within our territories in order to have production that we could supply Europe with if it's interrupted from Ukraine.”

Cheney: “Energy is also a weakness for Russia. They depend on Petroleum for 50% of their GDP. Price of oil drops a few dollars, they go into recession.”

Rand Paul is not weak, either: Paul pushed back on criticism from fellow Republicans that he is an isolationist, saying those who criticize him do so for “their own person political gain.”

<> on March 7, 2014 in National Harbor, Maryland.

Paul recently said the United States needs to have a “respectful - sometimes adversarial but a respectful – relationship.”

“In fact, what Ronald Reagan said in about one sentence sums up a lot of what I believe. He said to our potential adversary, ‘Don't mistake our reluctance for war for a lack of resolve,’” Paul said.

Now for some politics: The annual Conservative Political Action Conference wrapped up Sunday with Sarah Palin reading a parody of Dr. Seuss’ children’s book “Green Eggs and Ham.”

But the real headline- grabbers from the conference were the nearly dozen possible 2016 presidential contenders who addressed the activist crowd and the fact that Paul was the overwhelming winner of the straw poll.

As Paul put it, CPAC is a friendly crowd because it is “chock full of young people” who share his concern over privacy rights even though he is also reaching out to Attorney General Eric Holder to repeal felon voting bans.

“I don't mind saying that I agree with the President or Eric Holder on this because I think the people who know me know that I will stand up to the President when he's wrong, which I think is quite a bit of the time,” he said.

Paul joked that at a friendly lunch to talk about felon voting, Paul said to Holder, "I'll see you in court," referring to his suit against he Obama administration's surveillance program.

His statements are a contrast to those of fellow Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, who has been a major pain to many of his colleagues because he doesn’t play by the rules and holds little regard for taking one for the team.

Cruz told the CPAC crowd that Republicans who “don't stand and draw a clear distinction” or don’t stand for principle don’t win.

Ryan said Republican Party disagreements aren’t a civil war but rather show that the party has a “big tent.”

“I think we're a party with a vibrant debate adding ideas, solving problems. We're going to be OK,” he said.

The new Democrat has some words for the old Democrats: Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who is running to win his job back - this time as a Democrat - had loads of praise for Obama.

He said Obama has “a compassionate heart,” is “leading well” and that Democrats need to “support him.”

“God bless him,” Crist said about Obama twice during the interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

As for the endangered Democrats up for re-election who are running from the Affordable Care Act, Crist said they need to “strengthen up.”

The kicker: Ryan and Paul both enlightened us one more time about their plans for a 2016 presidential run. They both are considering.

Ryan also said House Speaker John Boehner is “controversial but doing a very good job.” But Ryan has no interest in taking on one of the most difficult jobs in Washington.

Filed under: Dick Cheney • Obama administration • Paul Ryan • Rand Paul • Russia • Ted Cruz • Ukraine • Uncategorized • Vladimir Putin
soundoff (510 Responses)
  1. Marie MD

    Oh yes, the Hollywood demi god reagan. The real party guy with the big state dinners who slept through most of his presidency to have almost every freaking building in DC named after him. It's still national airport for most of us in this area.
    As far as the NSA sue the shrub #43 administration but I take it that it was okay when he did it.
    That big tent will crush them all. Can't wait to see the result.

    March 9, 2014 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  2. Tommy G

    The Obama administration foreign policy with Russia was called the Russian Reset. It was supposedly one of Hillary Clinton's big accomplishments as Secretary of State. Well, it appears this reset was total farce, a disaster and a green light for Putin to do whatever he wanted as Obama slaps Russian PMs on the knee and tells them he can be more flexible after his re-election. Everything Obama has done over 5 years has signaled weakness and indecision. Now he wants to gut the military as all leftists and Democrats do once in office.

    March 9, 2014 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  3. Expat American

    If Obama is weak then send these same GOP Lawmakers to Crimea as the United States' first 'Boots on the Ground'.

    McConnel and Graham lead the charge. Problem solved in more ways than one.

    March 9, 2014 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  4. just asking

    so what has obama done over the last 5 years to ensure that the ukraine was firmly headed towards europe and the west? nothing. what has he done to help them and show their future is better with the eu? nothing. what has he done to firm up the ukraine military to counter the russian threat? nothing. he knew russia was a country invader as they went into georgia. the evidence was there for all to see. i guess he thought if he spoke nice to putin and slapped them on the knee, all would be well? obama is naive, incompetent and stupid when it comes to foreign affairs.

    March 9, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  5. ChrisM

    Politicians are like a box of chocolate, Democrats are soft and gooey inside and republicans a mostly nuts.

    March 9, 2014 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  6. Marie MD

    @just asking what have you done to make this country better except to follow the teaklans who arppseem more communist than Russia ever was/is (really)?
    We have enough teaklan dictators wannabes and home grown terrorists to deal with.

    March 9, 2014 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  7. Namejbs

    We should be supporting our President in this time...not taking polical advantage. sick of the B.S

    March 9, 2014 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  8. Thomas

    When will this turn into a world war against gangster style corruption and intimidation ?

    Follow the money to London , New York , Dubai , Panama , Honk Kong .

    Neuter corruption via banking . ask Edward Snowden !

    March 9, 2014 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  9. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Who cares what the braindead GOP party of STUPID says or does , they will find out in November what HIDING behind obamacare and offering nothing to the American people but EMPTY words does for them. Loss of the house , that's what!!!!!

    March 9, 2014 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  10. Gurgyl

    Obama is not weak, he is strong–proof? Passed ACA Act, stocks are living proof regardless of GOP thugs obstruction at every step because he is first black president. GOP is dead, out of their mind. If he runs for third term I shall vote for him. Unfortunately president can not. We need term limits to congress/senate thugs.

    March 9, 2014 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  11. robert

    Just more partisan, Obama worshipping garbage from the leftwing nut-jobs at CNN. Obama couldn't care less about what happens to the rest of the world. He is too preoccupied with turning this country from a sovereign state of capitalism and individual freedoms to an open-borders socialist garbage pit governed by collectivists and statists. Maybe the Libs should travel over to the Ukraine and see firsthand why its citizens are revolting against Totalitarianism.

    March 9, 2014 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  12. Stop wasting time

    I will never trust a Republican telling me what is proper in regards to foreign policy. This was the party that pushed for a war with false pretenses and was unable to kill Bin laden. I support Obama's push for sanctions and diplomacy in regard to Ukraine. The is not the time for Washington partisanship. Republicans need to grow up.

    March 9, 2014 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    For the first time in my life I am ashamed of my country and the media who run it into the ground politically by continuing to allow this type of anti-American talk to ferment and grow.

    March 9, 2014 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  14. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Tommy goof, the GOP sequester is responsible for the defense cuts, you get what you pay for, in the GOPs case that would be not much. Cut cut cut every thing at our expense!!!!!

    March 9, 2014 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  15. Obamacare & Democrats - Doubling Down on the Lies

    Everybody was worried when Obama was elected about his inexperience with foreign affairs. They were right to be worried and now after seeing his performance, they were 100% correct. But Joe Biden was supposed to be the seasoned veteran to save him and help him out when that 3am phone call came. Well, after Benghazi and now the Ukraine invasion, we know he is just as worthless as Obama when it comes to foreign policy.

    Where is the Obama Reset button so we can reverse the result of the last election. 3 more years of this is unthinkable.

    March 9, 2014 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  16. Jack

    U mean Obama should be strong as in George W Bush Texan cowboy strong?

    March 9, 2014 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  17. Jim Jimson

    Putin and the whole world saw us invade Iraq on a pack of Republican lies.

    That's what has emboldened him to invade Crimea.

    March 9, 2014 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  18. geraldine

    wow, the far right tea party nut cases are about as against America as one can get!

    March 9, 2014 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  19. Independent Thinker

    "The Obama administration foreign policy with Russia was called the Russian Reset. It was supposedly one of Hillary Clinton's big accomplishments as Secretary of State. Well, it appears this reset was total farce, a disaster and a green light for Putin to do whatever he wanted as Obama slaps Russian PMs on the knee and tells them he can be more flexible after his re-election. "

    Nailed it. This administration's strong suit is lying, controlling the press, and using the IRS to target political opponents.

    March 9, 2014 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  20. Peter Whittam

    No one has to play an "Obama is Weak" card. Everyone can see it. The ACA is a failure and a tax on our great great grand children, and he has done nothing but double and nearly triple our national debt.

    March 9, 2014 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  21. keller29299

    Expat American

    If Obama is weak then send these same GOP Lawmakers to Crimea as the United States' first 'Boots on the Ground'.

    McConnel and Graham lead the charge. Problem solved in more ways than one.

    those cowards will run for the hills

    March 9, 2014 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  22. CaesarXIII

    Democrats find any excuse to attack Republicans when the rest of the world looks at your Golden Boy as a laughing joke. Don't worry, Obama will just make some speeches and go on vacation like he's been doing the last 5 years.

    March 9, 2014 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  23. ldavid69

    Really? After he oversaw a gutsy mission to get Osama bin Ladin when W caved. The GOP is a complete joke. They really are.

    March 9, 2014 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  24. Persimmon

    Diplomacy, consensus building, reasonable solutions are much, much harder than just being a bully and tearing in with killing machines.. Guns and bombs are too easy. It's hard to save human life, and protect democracy. Very very difficult. Luckily our president is up to the task. I suppose the GOP doesn't care one bit about our people in uniform getting killed, or innocents on the ground being killed. What a stupid typical crass idea. Thank goodness we have a very strong president who can do it. Only bullies win with violence. And they make more enemies every day by being violent.

    March 9, 2014 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |

    Look I am no Obama supporter but Gates is right. The Republicans need to tone down the criticism. Military action is not the answer here, at this stage in the game.

    March 9, 2014 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
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