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. scholarlymama

    Once again the war-mongering GOP fails to realize that using non-military remedies during a crisis isn't a sign of weakness. It's no surprise that the GOP is beaching exponentially irrelevant with time.

    March 10, 2014 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  2. scholarlymama

    *becoming

    March 10, 2014 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  3. newnereview

    GOP is dead and defunct. No chance of presidential, senatorial, or house majority victory is possible.
    REPUBLITHUGS = Delusional criminals who do not play well with others.

    March 10, 2014 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  4. keengkong

    Many of the same Republicans who criticize Obama for weakness actively oppose ratifying changes to the IMF to increase the amount of money that can be loaned to Ukraine. Thus, in a time of crisis, they oppose taking the steps that will help Ukraine survive. Then they blame the President for not being strong enough. Too bad they hate Obama more than they support America and American interests.

    March 10, 2014 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  5. Biff McGuzzle

    If the Republican politicians had their way, we would be at war with Iran and Syria now. Exactly who would be left to fight the Russians?The Daughters of the Confederacy?

    March 10, 2014 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  6. AmericansRights

    obama is the joker card, been known all along

    March 10, 2014 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  7. Stephen

    Hey, here's an idea, let's start another war so old frightened white guys don't think Americans are weak. Then they can clean up on the supplies and munitions sales and we can cull another 100,000 or so young men who don't have connections. We can only hope this will be a big plank in the GOP election platform. Even the most enthusiastic war hawks have got to be sick and tired of shipping their sons off to be slaughtered in order to enrich these bums.

    March 10, 2014 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  8. Bernard Webb

    The republicans seem to be playing both the "Obama is weak" card AND the "Obama is an all-powerful dictator" card. What kind of mind can make BOTH of these judgments simultaneously?

    March 10, 2014 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  9. dave

    News flash Clinton News Network... Obama IS weak

    March 10, 2014 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  10. tonyb

    didn't hear much complaints from these "tough-guy" fools when Bush "looked into Putin's heart". Idiots.Two wars and a recession....thanks George.

    March 10, 2014 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  11. joe

    "Obama is not weak, he is strong–proof? Passed ACA Act, stocks are living proof"

    The ACA was passed because Bush was so awful the DEMs were able to get it through with not one GOP vote. Given free rein to make it whatever they wanted, they messed it up horribly. No strength here.

    Stocks are up? Only because the FED has been pouring trillions into the economy. Most companies are afraid to reinvest so they are buying back their own stocks at record rates driving prices up. Investors have no where else to go since real estate is still dead. Worse part of this whole thing is that the FED pouring money into the stock market has made the rich richer at the expense of the middle class who will have to pay the bill. Yet all we here from Obama is income inequality, while his policies have done nothing but made the rich richer.

    March 10, 2014 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  12. hatenapa

    Bush was sure weak, Cheney ran roughshod over him.

    March 10, 2014 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  13. idb

    It is 1938 all over again, in those days there was "Sudetenland" in these days there is the Crimea. And, just like then, Politicians show cluelessness again. A famous slogan in those days was "Peace in our Time" By Chamberlain. We know how that ended.

    March 10, 2014 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  14. RomneyWho

    The republican leadership is weak and are out of their minds. They hate this president because he is much wiser then they are and most calculating to the point of beating them at every turn. They want to see President Obama fail, even if it means the implosion of this country. Sad, but true. :(

    March 10, 2014 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  15. El Sarcastico

    Obama is totally weak. Remember that time when the CIA figured out Osama Bin Laden was hiding in Pakistan and Obama didn't send stealth helcopters full of SEALs into that country in the middle of the night to retrieve him? And what about our defense budget? No one will take us seriously anymore if our budget is only more than the top 12 industrialized nations combined instead of the top 13 combined.

    March 10, 2014 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  16. george

    Isn't it amazing how libitards like jk, as a shining example, don't even mention obandon as part of the problem. Cnn, nbc, msnbc, etc have done a wonderful job in brain washing those susceptible to communism style indoctrination that they only blame republicans. Have you not been around for the last 6 years, obandon, soros, has done more things to hurt this country than all other presidents.

    March 10, 2014 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  17. 2and2make5

    Republicans desperately need for Obama to be seen as weak on the Soviet Union – their political base doesn't understand this concept of a Russian Federation. Putin is not the leader of the Evil Empire, all he's left with is the Evil County, and he has domestic problems of his own.

    The GOP can only energize their base with hate, and hatred of the Russians is an easy card to play for cheap votes. If Obama is seen as handling Ukraine better than Bush handled Georgia, it will be more destructive than the horses and bayonets quote, probably on the level of the closure of the bin Laden operation.

    That they're willing to undermine foreign policy for political points is repulsive, but the Democrats are rarely better. Politics are supposed to stop at the water's edge, but I guess the GOP never got that memo.

    March 10, 2014 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  18. Jack

    It's the pot calling the kettle black. The Republicans, shutdown the government twice, brings us to the brink of default and lets Limbaugh, Hannity & the Religious Right take over the party!

    March 10, 2014 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  19. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    If you WANT another War, vote for the GOP and you and the GOP congressman can be the FIRST TO GO!!!!!!!!

    March 10, 2014 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  20. oharris30

    I support president Obama. the repubs are a bunch of nuts that only weak minded would follow. they scream about the debt and no money for their kids future yet they are so anxious to go to war and destroy the world with a thug named putin. and you have people who criticize this president??? What bunch of clowns the repubs are and if anyone votes for any of these idiots in 2016 we are in trouble. I may not agree with all the president's policies but I know he is doing his best and he is a moral and decent man.

    March 10, 2014 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  21. gs

    At this point the GOP is guilty of giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

    March 10, 2014 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  22. pokydoke

    Let's do what the Republicans want, send in the military for another boondoggle and put the lives of our young soldiers and sailors at risk. We need to pad the wallets of the stock holders of Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Raytheon and the other members of the military industrial complex, after all their wealth is more important.

    March 10, 2014 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  23. mbcoh

    Thanks so much for letting us know what Dick Cheney's thinking. His opinion is always SO unpredictable.

    March 10, 2014 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  24. RNK

    the willingness to go to war is not strength. except to a republican.

    March 10, 2014 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  25. SteveInMN

    At a time when we should support the President and present a united front - Republics are trying to score points.

    Is that really all there is?

    Nice.

    March 10, 2014 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
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