Sunday Chatter: GOP hold up ‘Obama-is-weak’ card; GOP angling
March 9th, 2014
04:10 PM ET
7 months 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. Melissa

    Wow.... that's really childish. But then again... its the GOP, childish is the name of the game.

    March 9, 2014 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  2. Original_DMack

    Neo-con non-sense everywhere you look. Soon folks are going to recognize this "GOP" thing for what is ... treason plain and simple. Treason from a party chock-full of hypocrites, bigots, theocrats, communists, Misogynist's, cowards, and traitors. And to think I was once a GOP'er. Funny to see how much genuine admiration GOP-Teabaggers have for Vladimir. They say, "if only Obama behaved like the former communist KGB Colonel". The chicken-hawks talk tough and then send YOUR kids to fight. Meanwhile, they sit in the Hamptons, only offer criticism, refuse to really help wounded soldiers, and fight for more tax breaks...oh yea and complain that they want small government so that they can teach religion in the physics class, tell your wife and daughters what medical access they can have, who folks can marry, and bash Mexicans. Real losers this bunch. Glad we've finally got guys who think first and fight last, and when they fight they really do kick-ass. Ask a couple of folks at the bottom of the Sea how tough the US really is. We used to admire leaders who speak softly and carry a big stick. Today all you see are communist loving GOP folks, like the cross-dressing communists former mayor of New York. Get it through your thick skulls, no more stupid wars over things that don't affect US National Security. Teababbers we're broke, remember? (PS ... As a true liberty lover, cross-dress all you like as long as don't bother me).

    March 9, 2014 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  3. likeaplan

    Cheney said, "let us train their military." Just how many armies must we train? Let's train the Afghan, let's train the Iraqi, let's train the Libyans, etc. All this training is starting to sound like a cash cow.

    March 9, 2014 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  4. sadlyperturbed

    So GOP, which is it that you want? Do you want the US to stop being the police for the rest of the world? Or would you rather us worry about every country but our own? You can't have it both ways, although you have made every effort to for the last 5 years +. Hypocrites.

    March 9, 2014 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  5. Bill

    Oh please, the GOP have absolutely no credibility to question the international policies and fortitude of our President. All the GOP are trying to do is to goad the President into giving Halliburton another governmental non-competitive contract. The GOP/Tea Party are nothing but a pathetic and desperate party who will stoop to new lows just to try to appeal to the National relevance.

    March 9, 2014 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  6. Tony in Maine

    "A weak tyrant" – Republicanspeak is not unlike Newspeak

    March 9, 2014 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  7. luvUamerica

    These GOP characters belong in AFV!

    March 9, 2014 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  8. Concerned citizen

    GOP politicians=traitors! Move to Russia, and love your hero Putin! Idiots!

    March 9, 2014 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  9. Jason B

    The GOP really confuses me. Libya – "Oh dear Lord, Obama is flexing the USA's muscles!" Russia – "Oh dear Lord, Obama isn't flexing the USA's muscles!" And why is the GOP's apparent response to everything is to go in "guns blazing" and involve our military yet again?

    March 9, 2014 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  10. CGDoc

    Let talk about Obama poking fun at Romney during the campaign stating that Putin wasn't a threat and that Romney's foreign policy was from the 80's.

    March 9, 2014 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  11. Scott

    Putin's Russia invaded Georgia in 2008. Our good ol' George W Bush did NOTHING! That is what imboldened Putin. Bush is limp.

    March 9, 2014 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  12. jim

    I'm embarrassed that I use to call myself an independent voter. There once was a time that the GOP stood for something, something greater than their own jobs. What they have become is not only a travesty, but in my opinion, treasonous to the good of America. I will never, every vote republican again.

    March 9, 2014 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  13. badtobone

    Obama has proved time and again that he so weak and everyone know it. But the rest have nothing to cheer about .they have done nothing to push the US forward. They could pass laws without Obama and make it very hard on Putin.
    Because as plain as it is to see he's weak one can also see he's scared of Putin

    March 9, 2014 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  14. Larry

    I"m already fed up with Republican war mongering – if what Obama has done is what they call weak then thank god we are weak. It is a great feeling to know we don't have some idiot drunk with power and lust for money/oil running the show in this country any more. Cheney should retire his big mouth before he sticks his own foot in it. Thank you democrats for showing some common sense and keeping us out of war.

    March 9, 2014 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  15. rude

    Obama is weak, NOW the GOP can unfurl the "Mission Accomplished" banner...
    The GOP is going ga-ga over Putin- good lord, if Obama was up against Nazi Germany, the GOP would be cheering for Hitler. The real news should be how Palin is advocating a Nuclear Strike.

    March 9, 2014 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  16. sunny

    All you little sheep repeat what u hear on fox news and CNN.i feel bad for those who think that Russia invaded Georgia illegally.lets see what the criminal Georgian president did, he attacked Russian peacekeepers and how manny got killed in his brutal illegal attack? He was hoping US would step in as they pushed him to attack.this is fact.condoleeza rice admired to it on tv.so before all you start throwing up Republican propaganda get informed first.

    March 9, 2014 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  17. timverba

    All of these comments from people who have never carried the weight of the Presidency. What is the qualitative difference if the Black Sea is patrolled by the Russian Navy in Crimea, Ukraine or by the Russian Navy in Crimea, Russia?

    March 9, 2014 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  18. TheSadTruth

    Will the GOP ever abandon the pointless strategy of spewing endless blame and criticism while giving no solutions of its own?

    March 9, 2014 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  19. BADGUY

    It's been awhile since the cold war and it's been awhile since the threat of nuclear destruction, that we lived with for 45 years after the end of WWII, has hung "over our heads"...but...in case we've got a lot of Americans who don't realize the implications of going to war with Russia (or China...or...anyone ELSE with nuclear weapons) let me say this. There's a good chance that if such a war happens, it would lead to the deaths (either immediately or over time due to radiation fall out) of HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF AMERICANS. If the right wing ("war starters") want Obama to "get tough" with the Russians...ALL of us better understand where that could very well lead.

    March 9, 2014 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  20. carl nelson

    The GOP actions are an act of treason. Their blatant attempts to bring down Obama to better the chances of sitting on the throne in 2016 has emboldened our advisories. The weakness they speak of is a matter of our own house literally divided along party lines.

    March 9, 2014 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  21. Ancient Texan

    The apology tour signaled to the entire world that Obama had NO foreign policy and America was destined to become the 97 pound weakling getting sand kicked into his eyes and getting no respect.

    March 9, 2014 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  22. BADGUY

    I think the "call to arms", by the Republicans in Congress, are just THEIR WAY to preserve the military spending (military bases, military contractors, military suppliers) that FLOAT all the Red States in this country. DON'T LET THEM PULL THE WOOL OVER OUR EYES. Their "patriotism" is just their usual "greed"....for OUR tax money!

    March 9, 2014 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  23. sdgman

    Hmmm... Did the Democrats pounce on GW when Russia went to war with Georgia? I don't recall... If so, I guess that's politics. But it seems to me the GOP has been calling out Obama on EVERY foreign policy issue. Seems to me they are purposely undermining whatever he tries to do... also seems to me to be rather UN AMERICAN!

    I'm just sayin.

    March 9, 2014 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  24. sunny

    I can't believe that in our country with so much info sharing there's still people that believe the garbage our crooked politicians shove down our throats.and on Ukraine.who financed and protected these fashists? Who trained them in Poland ? To overthrow the legitimate govt? Isn't that an int'l. crime? Putin simply defending his own people after threats of hanging Russians. And all OK'd by our dear govt.

    March 9, 2014 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  25. BADGUY

    The Ukraine was Russian (Soviet Union) territory before 1990. It appears the Russians who were "left behind", in the Ukraine, want back in. This is NONE OF OUR BUSINESSES. ANY military moves to interfere could lead to a nuclear war and the END of the United States...and it's entire population. STAY OUT OF IT......PERIOD!

    March 9, 2014 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
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