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

    It sucks!! That the Republicans are becoming a bunch of "Turn Coats".. They are causing all Of Russia to laugh at us.. We should be rallying in support!.. I guess the Soviet Union died and took the Republican Party with them.

    March 10, 2014 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  2. Jon

    Ya just like the GOP to say something absolutely ridiculous like this. Don't think anyone is ready for a war with Russia. Just like Bush 2 wasn't ready for a war when Russia invaded and actually killed scores of Georgians. Where we're the hypocritical GOP to bash Bush?

    March 10, 2014 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  3. stuartx1

    Is Candy still relevant after her Debate Flop? The President never said it was a Terrorist Attack

    March 10, 2014 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  4. politics awful

    Send Republicans to Crimea. Send Sarah Palin to fight Russia. Send 1000s to die for nothing. Republicans have a great platform to run on.

    March 10, 2014 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  5. Newt Rocks

    Obama is weak. If Bush, Bush Sr., or Reagan were in office, Putin wouldn't have touched Crimea with a 10-foot pole.

    March 10, 2014 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  6. Stosh

    The (not so) funny thing is that everything they are saying about Obama could have been said about Bush when Russia invaded Georgia.

    Another (not so) funny thing is how the right-wing sheep ignore this glaring fact.

    March 10, 2014 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  7. len

    Democrats and independents you better support our President because the GOP Tea Party folks are unpatriotic and racists.
    There lies should really anger you. Better vote in 2014 do not wait

    March 10, 2014 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  8. Dr. T

    Everyone is seeing the US as weak...not necessarily because of Obama...because of congress and their inability to get anything done. Washington is dysfunctional now...I'm an independent...no particular party loyalties...buy it really seems like congress does all it can to make our president look bad....which is a reflection on the entire US. Why do they do this? So they can win the next election....then the other party can make their president look bad. Is this a cycle that can ever change...or have we set a precedence for what to expect in the future? (which is what I fear/believe).

    March 10, 2014 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  9. Citizenatlarge1

    The office of the Presidency of the United States is the most powerful position in the world. There should be no room for allowances or excuses when it comes to this office. Regardless of the color of your skin, you can either do the job, or you can't. And other than winning elections I don't see any obvious unqualified successes for this President.

    March 10, 2014 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  10. ghastly

    The best way to deal with Putin is......don't deal with Putin.

    March 10, 2014 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  11. phantom235

    Lost and doomed with this admin.

    March 10, 2014 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  12. Sean

    GOP is wanting to re-start the war machine, he is your President and you should support him. I don't always believe in everything he does but I am not about to call him weak in the mist of all that is happening in Ukraine. Instead of pointing fingers why not provide a working solution that helps the President. If you could have done better you would have been elected. If all you can do is hinder just stop there because you are part of the problem

    March 10, 2014 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  13. J.V.Hodgson

    Remember MAD bloggers. The USA will never go war with Russia and vice versa, Over the Ukraine. And especially not Crimea even if that goes back to Russia the already had Good military access under the 1994 accord.
    the EU courted Ukraine to enter into EU membership... that's the cause of Putin becoming what we all know him to be an ardent old Soviet Union believer. And seeing Europe influence much to much around his borders From a European perspective there is a far greater risk to thier national security than any threat to US national security that does not already exist. Cheney's idea of re- imposing missile sites in Poland etc is Just too much to soon.... he ignore the we have sent F16's into Poland and Bulgaria.
    Relatively speaking the USA is militarily weaker than in the past because Russia always was and still is a drawn match ( MAD) but China military has grown especially in technical competence and resources maritime and Air and Nuclear capability. The Bush axis of evil Iran and N Korea remain and Iraq/ Afghanistan still a mess and not a single war won by the US fro Vietnam to now. Cut backs on defense spending will still leave us spending 5-6 times more than the top 10 global military spenders. That is not weakness, its commonsense when we have lost the last three Boots on grounds wars.
    Stop the critiques, support our president and you have to propose realistic alternatives. constantly saying Obama does everything wrong without an alternative solution is the act of fools or bigots or both.

    March 10, 2014 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  14. Steve Allard

    The GOP, with their propaganda wing Fox News, will say anything and they sound totally disgusting. Can't wait for their fall election smack down.

    March 10, 2014 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  15. Blue

    Easy to judge and cry weakness when the responsibility of being leader of the free world is not on your shoulders!! I hear no solutions from these 'experts' – just criticism and sheer arrogance.

    March 10, 2014 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  16. Behjat

    When will we learn that going to war over every conflict, is not the way to solve problems among countries? Didn't we pay dearly by going to war with Iraq and Afghanistan? How many more young people have to give their arms,legs, and life to know the smart and intelligent way to deal with conflict is diplomacy, not war? It is hard to believe that any one value what Cheney and Palin have to say. After all, he was behind the last two wars , and yes, she is, we know what she is. No more wars!

    March 10, 2014 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  17. stevetaller

    Hey, GOP! The election is over, Obama can't be elected a third time, so now it's time to get your act together and start participating in modern American life. Apparently you have no idea what qualifies as 'weak'. To get some clue, take a look at the current state of Republican politics. Now, that's weak. Geez, some of you are so thick, it's hard to believe that you haven't accidentally killed yourselves by now.

    March 10, 2014 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  18. hygron50

    What saddens me is this dementia of our voters who can not remember any part of history only selective memory, I am not going to explaining to those who are hell bent on lies that are spoon fed to them by the constantly angry , spiteful. bitter, members of congress and their political pundits. Bottom line is Obama can do nothing that will please these hateful and fearful individuals. Osama Bin Laden is dead on his watch...not enough..because they will say he did not do it it was the brave soldiers ( Who followed his directive. as Commander in Chief ...one minutes he is an evil tyrant the next he is a weak leader make up your mind . He cant control the whole world ..GW Bush did nothing when Russia went into Georgia, People do your freakin home work before jumping on the I hate Obama train. read some history one country can not control everything a nation does ...I cant believe that the hatred has come this far that a post is blaming our president for not knowing what Pudin was going to do as if he is a clairvoyant. politics end at our nations borders but if you dislike your president so much move to Russia.

    March 10, 2014 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  19. Mark Smith

    The GOP has no card left to play. Get out of the white house and take your hate for race with you.

    March 10, 2014 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  20. Travler X

    What is this?
    How much did the GOP pay for this prop? The GOP playing the Obama is weak card on Crimea and then crossfading into CPAC. When has the GOP not accused Obama if being weak. Of course when Bush was President there would be gang piling on any Democrat who might try second guess the Office of the President of the United States during a time of war. This exactly why more and more people see the GOP as thugs. Personally, I see it as a great lack of honor in the Republican Party. It is a very telling testament to their blind ambition.

    March 10, 2014 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  21. hellsyeahs

    The GOP thinks they are running against Obama in 2016. That's how out of touch they are.

    March 10, 2014 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  22. Aiquoy

    You can tell the maturity and itellect an individual or collection of individuals by who quick they are to resort to childish measure such as inpertainent name-calling...

    March 10, 2014 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  23. Nana

    I believe president Obama is in by no means weak. GOP are just pouncing on every opportunity for the president to fail... at whose expense will be if we pick another unwarranted war. You guys easily forget, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc are still not healed yet cux of unwarranted war. The guy has tried all reasonable and diplomatic means to resolve both Syria and Ukrainian issues...the united states is part of world peaceful society, if the UN wont stand up and act on behalf of the peace of its members why should one nation act alone ?? Should president Obama just stand up and authorize the army general to go fight Russia? If the peace of Americans and the world as a matter of fact interest the likes of senator McCain and co... please seek audience with the president and offer your strategy or advise.....lemme guess you cant and wont do cuz yall playing politics.... offer your concrete ideas or please lets allow the president to preside over the nation and when election comes, the people will decide if his party policies suit the nation. Washing your dirty clothes on the media which is not exclusive to Americans only but to the entire world won't help all of us. The welfare of Americans should be his priority and yours as well. And yes securing neighbors that can be a threat is helpful but if you're united and strong in your own home , no bully can conquer you. The US is slowly loosing the #"UNITED" part. The divisive thrash talk about our leaders does us more harm than good. Just saying!

    March 10, 2014 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  24. John Riley Goldsmith

    It is not that Obama is weak. He is an isolationist like Woodrow Wilson who simply doesn't worry about what happens in Europe.

    March 10, 2014 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  25. John Riley Goldsmith

    It is not that Obama is weak. He is an isolationist like Woodrow Wilson who simply doesn't worry or care about what happens in Europe.

    March 10, 2014 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
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