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

    It is a shame the GOP spends so much time being the party of 'no' and aganist anything worthwhile for our country.. if they would put as much effort into working with the President as they have trying to destroy him.. think where our country would be .. nope, its a sad day .. as for the GOP's mindset of smaller gov't .. how about taking yourselves out of the path for women's healthcare .. you are so far up their wazoo its crazy .. its ok for the insurance to pay for your little blue pill, but it isn't ok to pay for the women's pill to keep from having the children she can't afford, or even wants .. nope, take their little blue pills away .. then see how they like that !!!

    March 9, 2014 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  2. S. B. Stein

    What has the GOP advocated that Obama do? I think that he has done some if not all of what they were talking about. He has tried to get the allies in line to restrict members of the Russian oligarchy among others.

    March 9, 2014 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  3. hutchitl

    Remember the last Hawkish president we had, and how we started a war we can't afford and are still paying dearly for?

    March 9, 2014 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  4. Alex

    And when Russia invaded Georgia under Bush/Cheney, the republicans did what? Oh that's right, nothing. Obama is not weak. The GOP is unpatriotic and take every opportunity to harm the country for partisan politics rather than stand with the president during a time of crisis. Just more of the party that is always "against" everything, well except tax cuts and war.

    March 9, 2014 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  5. dsigue

    The GOP has been weak ever since the Bush presidency ended and they have been so desperate that they will say anything. Only fools actually believe their rhetoric. Fact of the matter is there is absolutely zero that President could have done or could do about Crimean/Ukraine crisis. They the right like to rewrite history. They seem to forget that Bush did not prevent the Russian take over of Georgia. Where were the cries of weakness from the GOP then. Oh I forgot, they were completely quiet. The hypocrisy of the Right grows daily.

    March 9, 2014 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  6. CaliforniaAC

    GOP needs to be reminded that W looked into Putin's heart and saw "good", then Putin stole Georgia. The Teapees now want to rattle their sabers and want what? War?

    March 9, 2014 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  7. Kris L

    "We had some ships in the region"?!? Is Cheney that much of an idiot. We have ships 'in that region' constantly. And what were those ships going to do, stop Russia from taking parts of Georgia if it wanted?

    Republian pundits and politicians continue to show how moronic they are. Cheney's full comment about Syria was utterly false (Politifact already analyzed it). All they do is sit there and claim Obama is weak and Putin did this because Obama was being nice without offering up a single response they would put in place that hasn't already been taken. And now Palin is trying to play the M.A.D. card? Does she really think we would threaten a nuclear response over Ukraine?!?

    Morons.

    March 10, 2014 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  8. gregg

    Tin pot dictator = Obama.

    March 10, 2014 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  9. Zayah V

    I am sorry to say that anything coming out of the mouth of racist biggots does not hold a lot of weight with many people anymore, its why they lost twice and will still lose after.

    March 10, 2014 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  10. Mr. Izz

    The most horrific thing about these comments is the complete and utter blind faith all of these followers are in their "dear leader." Obama is anything but unflappable, but everyone is so blinded by the media, political "analysts", and liars throughout this country that they refuse to believe Obama can do anything wrong. I'm not saying the GOP is correct in this article, but come on, America. Open up your eyes and ask a few more questions before blindly accepting what the biased media and political liars are forcing on you.

    March 10, 2014 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  11. NorCalMojo

    We didn't need strength, we needed someone who can choose their battles.

    No nation is strong enough to bully Russia on their own doorstep. Obama should have accepted that reality and left this to the EU.

    March 10, 2014 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  12. Jeffc6578

    Love the absolute and utter hypocrisy at work – the same people who rallied behind Cheney and his little boy W and never said a word when Russia invaded Georgia want nuclear war now that the President isn't republican – how nice.

    March 10, 2014 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  13. Anonymous

    GOP better know what they are hoping for. Clinton may run with this because none of GOP candidates hopeful are stronger than Clinton.

    March 10, 2014 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  14. Sandra

    President Obama is weak? All those who say this care to tell Osama Bin Laden that?

    March 10, 2014 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  15. Peace

    The man (President) beat them not only once but twice. Thats why the hatred and bitterness is coming from. Still they call him weak!!! If republicans were/are strong why did he danced with their electorates as he wished while they were watching? The man knows how to play tough at home and use diplomacy (not power) abroad. I am in fond of his styles.

    March 10, 2014 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  16. Michael

    The Republicans and their leadership are un-American. Plain and simple. What further proof does anyone need than the latest examples of Republican statements on the Sunday political talk shows. Politics and the next election are more important to Republicans than the good of the country and its people.

    March 10, 2014 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  17. Dandy

    Strong vs Weak according to the GOP:

    Did the president start at least one war per term? true = strong, no = weak

    March 10, 2014 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  18. fred37ify

    Blinken defending Barrack – too funny !

    March 10, 2014 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  19. mlwells

    Just like Republicans ... the answer to the world's woes is to allow the US Oil Industry to drill, drill, drill everywhere for EXPORT, tens of billions in profit, tens of millions in tax credits (at American taxpayers' expense), while it gouges Americans at the gas pumps and endangers OUR environment with oil spills and carbon emissions!

    News flash GOP! There's no point in continuing to deride Obama as we head into the 2014/2016 elections ... OBAMA IS NOT RUNNING FOR OFFICE!

    March 10, 2014 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  20. Vicki

    Republicans have so much trouble deciding what to call President Obama on any given day. He was recently a King or a Dictator and now they are outrageously calling President Obama weak because he does not rush into situations with our troops to be killed and maimed. I am so glad that President Obama is not a war monger and is not going to jump through hoops to please these right wing republicans who have done nothing for the good of this country. They do nothing in the jobs but waste time and I have no use for the incompetence that they have shown.

    March 10, 2014 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  21. GTS58

    Labeling Obama as weak is the understatement of the century! This is what happens when the electorate is ignorant and ill-informed – you end up with tyranny and a budding dictatorship! All of the founding Fathers warned about this very thing that is taking place in America today – a situation wherein people vote for the candidate that promises them the "most free stuff." We now live in an ever expanding nanny/entitlement society created by liberal progressives! To think that a person like Obama, so unaccomplished and unqualified is actually POTUS makes one physically ill.

    March 10, 2014 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  22. Raj

    The party of NO just does not give up. Even if the prez is doing good, which he is, they will just like to call him names. This prez has stopped two wars, passed a healthcare bill in the face of massive GOP and lobbyist opposition. They call him weak. They need to get their heads checked.

    March 10, 2014 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  23. Nsf

    Nothing the gop has to say has any credibility! I would and will never support their agenda or candidates!

    March 10, 2014 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  24. Citizenatlarge1

    Name a single foreign policy decision President Obama has made that has led to what could be considered a success. For that matter what is Mr. Obama's foreign policy agenda? What is his stated world strategy?

    March 10, 2014 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  25. Richard

    The US is in a free fall because we elected someone who has no clue what politics or economics really are. He just doesn't have the experience and shows it by always blaming others for his failures.

    March 10, 2014 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
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