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. spudnik56

    The GOP...a waste of space...

    March 9, 2014 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  2. Steve

    Marie MD – your comment is truly disgusting. I commend President Obama for his handling. I am sure he has made some errors in any situation just as all of his predecessor's did. However, your comment is so nasty is it bothersome. Either take some pills or jump, but please rid the world of your type of personality. I take on both hard right and hard left wingers. And take Code Pink loon's with you too.

    March 9, 2014 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  3. rufus floyd

    The clowns have come out in full force already. That is what they mean by the tent.

    March 9, 2014 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  4. Really GOP?

    What do these conservative IMBECILES want? WW 3 just to say they are tough? That land in Russia does not threaten the USA in any way. This is just their sick way to use this to beat up on Obama just because they hate Obama more than they love the USA.

    March 9, 2014 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  5. Cindy

    Obama is playing with fire going up against a former Russian KBG agent. Russia will likely take Crimea. If the US had a strong, feared leader Putin would never have done this. This country has in fact become a laughing stock on the global stage. Obama laughed in Romney's face when Romney tried to warn him saying the cold war was over 20 years ago. Palin also tried to warn Obama. Yes, this was foreseeable........ Obama is playing the only hand he can play now given the circumstances.

    March 9, 2014 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  6. Sam M

    It's just part of the larger cycle. We elected a fool (Carter) in reaction to Nixon/Ford, and Carter did his best to disassemble and humiliate the US. Now we elected Obammy in reaction to Bush II, and guess what? .. another attempt to disassemble and humiliate. The 6 percent in the middle have already figured this out. Bye Bye Dems.

    March 9, 2014 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  7. John

    Pres Obama is a feckless worm who proves once again like all other democrats they are horrible at foreign policy. Another vacation Mr. President? Seriously?

    March 9, 2014 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  8. Government Waste Rules

    Putin is totally racist because he's defying Obama! HOW DARE HE?!!

    March 9, 2014 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  9. Independent Thinker

    The apologists are amusing, but when we see incompetence in so many of the administration's efforts, all the liberal propaganda does is lay bare the empty rhetoric, failed policies, and broken promises. I remember Obama pledging to cut the deficit in half.

    The empty childish comments are telling. "GOP... HIDING behind obamacare" lol! The president purposely is delaying the Employer Mandate for he knows the damage it will do before the elections. How many times did he change the bill? ...and still they will fall far short of the needed numbers. As on the foreign policy front, it is just one spectacular disaster after another. One lie after another. One 'Phony Scandal' (to be buried) after another.

    March 9, 2014 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  10. Johnjon

    Obama is weak and the GOP is nuts, which would you rather have ?

    March 9, 2014 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  11. Deb C

    Who cares anymore? Obama was caught lying and no one cared. Caught spying and no one cared. Caught using the IRS to bully opponents and no one cared. Why do you think anyone will care anymore? We are just like Mexicans now. Just as Mexicans have over the past 20 years, we have come to accept and admit we cannot control anything our government does, no matter how outrageous or corrupt it is.

    March 9, 2014 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  12. Kathy, AZ

    At least Obama's INTELLIGENT, which is more than I can say for any one of their party members.

    March 9, 2014 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  13. Ray

    Didn't Obama get Bin Laden under his watch? Seems like a great accomplishment to me....

    March 9, 2014 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  14. Andy H.

    And i will hold up the these tea party people are nuts and i have stopped listening to what they say about Obama card.

    March 9, 2014 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  15. tim pegg

    I am embarrassed for Obama. He's real social worker. We need those, but not his position facing hard rock opposition from a real street fighter who would cut your throat in a second. Gentleman vs deadly uncaring killer.

    March 9, 2014 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  16. Susan McFarland

    'm not sure what your birth country is but I'm quite sure it was not the USA. To make the supposition that Republicans oppose Obama because of the color of his kin is at best naive and at worst, stu pid. I will bet you any amount of money you wish that the US is more tolerant toward people of all color, faith, and ethnic background than your home country. In fact, the USA is considered around the world as being the most tolerant nation in the world – period.
    Obama had his chance to prove himself with the American people (forget the grandstanding politicians) and has slipped out of favor as the years passed. He has not lived up to his promise of "hope and change", instead has proven himself to be arrogant and naive when it comes to "leading" a nation. He has seriously divided this country into highly partisan camps based upon his vicious public attacks against the very people he's supposed to represent.

    March 9, 2014 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  17. Bob

    Let me see:
    Obama is weak = no wars and kill Laden
    Bush = two wars, thousands of Americans dead and Laden running around.

    March 9, 2014 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  18. t

    .Conservatives are

    March 9, 2014 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  19. gstlab3

    I do not care what the powers that be do at this point., war is a good way to do some depopulation and in a number of other ways increases the need for the machines of war and bombs that only skilled workers are needed for.
    I sat go for broke and start WW3 and eliminate the 90% of the earths population that is too weak or poor and or dumb to survive the harsh reality of global depopulation mandates.

    March 9, 2014 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  20. gstlab3

    war allways ends up with less people and the remainder will allways have more dollars in their pockets with more high paying jobs laying at their feet.

    March 9, 2014 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  21. Ray

    It seems to me that the GOP is not helping the President deal with the situation in Ukraine, by undermining him in this way, at every opportunity.

    March 9, 2014 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  22. PKRipper

    Obama is weak, they're merely pointing out the obvious. The only ones that don't know or won't admit that he's weak are the ones the voted him into office. He's hands down the worst, most incompetent president in American history.

    March 9, 2014 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  23. Zulimar

    He killed Osama Bin Laden, fought terrorists for 5 years, & now has brilliantly gave Russia a stunning defeat in Ukraine.
    Yeah that's real weak. His foreign policies are a big improvement over George Bush.

    March 9, 2014 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  24. oharris30

    Wow! The GOP are a bunch of idiots! Have never seen such disgrace ever in this country. And to think they are still calling on cheney for comments!!!??? God bless Bush that he has the sense enough to stay far away from these idiots. Anybody listening to these fools are just plain dumb. I agree with Gates. This is a time to show support for our Commander in chief. Just as this country did for Bush even though he destroyed us. It must be terribly sad to feel so much hate for a president and not stand with him while he is doing the right thing. Why are these fools so quick to start a WW111? Not surprised Cheney is since he is almost dead anyway.

    March 9, 2014 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  25. True Conservative

    GOP is the last party to be lecturing about being strong. They mired the country in two long wars – one of them justified, the other one on trumped up charges – nevertheless botched execution of both wars. And they pretty much did nothing different when the conflict in Georgia erupted than what Obama is doing. And frankly we should stay away from both.

    As for GOP holding up the demi god Reagan, here are some of the things they conveniently forget:

    1. Reagan gave amnesty to illegal immigrants
    2. Reagan cut and run when the marines were bombed in Beiruit. I agree with his decision and his reasoning too.
    3. Signed the brady bill – Gun control
    4. Pushed for higher taxes on the rich
    5. Raised the federal debt from 1 trillion to 6 trillion (remember in the 80s the dollar was worth a lot more than today).

    I don't think any of the above were wrong, for the the loud mouths at GOP the above are what the devil would do. And for them to yap about Reagan being a God – they either have no clue, or their audience has no clue, or everyone is an opportunistic thug. These are the summertime soldiers and sunshine patriots.

    March 9, 2014 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
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