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. AC

    Is it not time to Just banish and outlaw the GOP?

    March 9, 2014 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  2. DENNA

    It's a wonderful time to be a Republican. Just wait and see what President Obama says, then oppose him. No need to tax those old tea party brains, right? Are Republicans genetically predisposed to be stupid? It would seem that way.

    March 9, 2014 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  3. American

    If the GOP is going to survive, they need to apologize to America for its divisive approach, remove all its current leaders, and promote a new inclusive message that will likely offend its base. The fact is they have been dead wrong for about two decades. They don't get a pass. Own up to mistakes or go out on your shield, but don't act like it didn't happen.

    March 9, 2014 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |

    The THRUST of the GOP is what it has ALWAYS been....for the last 70 years:

    – GUT Social Security
    – GUT Medicare
    – GUT the ACA
    – GUT Education
    – GUT Union rights
    – GUT Abortion rights
    – GUT Women's rights
    – GUT Minority rights
    – GUT Taxes on the top 1%
    – GUT Tax breaks for the bottom 99% disagree with any of the above "initiatives"....DON'T VOTE REPUBLICAN!.....EVER!

    March 9, 2014 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  5. An American

    Absolutely shocked and dismayed that conservatives would not only suggest that our president is weak, but actually go so far as to say that they admire Putin's leadership. It is reprehensible that these republicans would seek to undermine our president during an international crisis. We get it; they hate the president. But to see them actively working to undermine U.S. foreign policy for some sort of domestic political gain suggests that they are far more republican than American.

    March 9, 2014 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  6. Laughing

    Jimmy Carter is happy, thanks to Obama he is no longer the worst President ever

    March 9, 2014 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  7. THR

    This, from the party that has nominated two completely unviable Presidential candidates in a row, now. And recently nominated somebody for Vice President who has a documented I.Q. of 83 and can't name a newspaper.
    Yes, you did that, you ACTUALLY did that!

    March 9, 2014 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  8. unblvble

    Did Obama learnt about crimea invasion by Russians on the TV like every other americans? Is he really a bystander president – everything happens as he looks on?

    March 9, 2014 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  9. Pusser

    It's pretty easy to talk tough and "be strong" when you have no responsibility. When you're the leader of the free world, you can't just do as you want....oh, I guess Dubya proved you can.

    March 9, 2014 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  10. Sharkmann

    Yep, doing nothing at all makes you look stronger?

    March 9, 2014 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  11. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    This the same Obama who is an iron-fisted dictator who makes all the righties cry and whine about how they've lost all their freedom?

    March 9, 2014 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  12. sanity

    "President Obama’s foreign policy is based on fantasy"

    –Washington Post

    March 9, 2014 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  13. bilk7

    The Republicans better get their act together because their daily talking points bashing Obama or Hillary Clinton just aren't working with anyone other than the FOXNews crowd. Outside of their little circle, the CPAC activities were laughed at by the general public. Listening to Cruz and Palin seemed like I was watching the Comedy Channel. This gang can not win a general election and will not see the White House for a long, long time unless they change their ways quickly.

    March 9, 2014 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  14. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    @Marie MD: "It's still national airport for most of us in this area."

    Hear, hear! I went to high school in Alexandria, VA (my career Army dad was stationed at Ft. Belvoir) and it will ALWAYS be National Airport to me!

    March 9, 2014 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  15. sefer

    Well, GOP boys maybe want to nuke Russians. That would be brilliant idea...NOT...

    March 9, 2014 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  16. Nodack

    Of course Republicans call him weak. They are Republicans.

    They called him weak in Libya too. They demanded he enact a no fly zone, but said he was too weak. Then the US/Europe/UN/NATO/Arab League all got together and decided to enact a no fly zone just like the Republicans demanded. The next day Republicans labeled him a war monger and wanted him impeached for starting a war without their approval.

    March 9, 2014 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  17. heebeejeebee

    uh... didn't Putin invade Georgia while GW Bush was president? where was all of this "weak" talk then?

    March 9, 2014 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  18. Think4myself

    The GOP thinks claiming the President is weak makes them appear strong. The only thing they have done is tried to interfere with the success of anything the President does. Trying to make yourself look good by contrast only makes one more of a weakling since you really have done nothing of valuable significance. If the President sent in troops, he would be criticized just as quickly. Creating divisiveness only serves to prove yourselves complete idiots. Our nation deserves better than your behavior, giving our children so much to emulate.

    March 9, 2014 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  19. Justthefacts

    Who needs enemies when we have the Republicans. The most unpatriotic group I have ever seen. The President needs supporting, not Putin. If you love him so much, I'm sure he'd welcome you, along with the traitor Snowden.

    March 9, 2014 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  20. rs

    Obama, weak, really? Sure all the parrots will say that because FOX does, but reality (as they say) may vary. No, no, my Rightist friends, it is the GOP that is weak. Weak as in: no visible candidates; no policies, no accomplishments and no morality.

    March 9, 2014 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  21. M Gonzales

    The GOP does not have to hold up any signs saying Obama is weak, he's doing a fine job doing that hisself. How about we give the Ukraine & Georgia military aid instead of Egypt, Im sure they would appreciate it alot more then the muslim brotherhood. Then lets give that missile shield to Poland and ignore Putins protests. Then make it so the U.S cannot do bussiness with Russia so long as they are in Northern Georgia and the Southern Ukraine and give those two nations great trade deals.

    March 9, 2014 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  22. rs

    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.
    Exactly the same as Bush did vis a vis Georgia- except he didn't go fishing.
    Parrot, parrot, parrot.

    March 9, 2014 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  23. rs

    You know, having the TEA Party calling you anything carries about as much weight as what grade-schoolers trade on the playground. It is baseless, a product of ill-temper, and completely baseless on fact.
    The Republican Party is irrelevant- it exists for those who are delusional.

    March 9, 2014 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  24. mel

    So i guess bush was stronger .. Yea okay lol

    March 9, 2014 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  25. barb'sbarb

    I guess the GOP is worried about the military industrial complex and all those contractors - the war in Afghanistan is winding down and whatever will the MIC and contractors do without another war?

    Let's send all those arm chair warriors to the front lines - yes, McConnell you and your fellow Republicans can be on the front lines. Your children and grandchildren, too.

    March 9, 2014 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
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