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. Bill

    The GOP conveniently forget how they and W provided an equally feeble response when Putin sent the Russian military into Georgia in 2008. Back then, Cheney talked tough about how there would be consequences, but ultimately Putin got away with it, just like he is now. Face it...when it comes to Russia, America's weakness to stop them from doing whatever they want is a bipartisan problem. At least Obama hasn't embarrassed himself further by talking about how he looked into Putin's eyes and saw his soul.

    March 9, 2014 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  2. cbp

    Is anyone surprised by this story? THe Republicans sit back and criticize but sit on their hands continually. Instead of working together they continue to do nothing but complain.

    We, as a nation, cannot afford to fight another battle. Our soldiers have gone to battle over and over again. Those who are returning are having a difficult time as they try to come to grips with what they have seen. Those who have been injured need us to support them and to make sure that they are able to live within their communities. Families need fathers and mothers home for awhile. The truth is we cannot fight everyone's battles. THe Republicans keep saying send in the troops but are they willing to serve and lead the charge?

    March 9, 2014 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  3. Larry Hoover

    Obama understands the price of war and will do what he can to avoid another war. I think the people of our Country agree with me on this. I would to see Putin blown to hell but thew cost that everyone pays is too high. But I do believe we could be pushed to war if crisis gets worse and we will be wondering how and when will it end. We lucky that McCain and Graham are not in charge!

    March 9, 2014 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  4. bob@bob212124.com

    drone strikes
    arming syrian rebels
    bombs lybia
    killing bin laden

    ya, he's soooo weak.
    stupid GOP

    March 9, 2014 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  5. theotherbob56

    The Wacko Birds speak! I wonder if they will ever get the word that not everything that happens in the world is about us. Probably not. But, hey, since they are in desperation mode to find ANYTHING to put down Obama, why not this canard?

    March 9, 2014 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  6. Really... ?

    Shocker... not... yawn. If President Obama acts, he's wrong. If President Obama does not act, he's weak.

    March 9, 2014 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  7. The gop need to pack up and leave

    So the GOP see competence and success as weakness? That must mean they view incompetence and failure as strengths? Is that why they think Bush was good in his job?

    March 9, 2014 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  8. teedofftaxpayer

    The way I see it, is unless President Obama starts an all out war with Russia, the Teapubs will consider him weak. They want another war so they "pay back" their supporters like Haliburton. I don't know why the Teapubs are so upset, Russia is everything they stand for.

    March 9, 2014 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  9. georgex9

    The Republicans are undercutting President Obama's position in this situation. They shouting for more forceful action when diplomacy may yield a better result. This is especially the line of those potential (and dangerous) candidates for 2016. We need to be very careful not to let this become dangerous. Seems like John McCain and Lindsey Graham are war mongers.

    March 9, 2014 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  10. bob

    Thank God Obama is president or we would be at war with Russia. Republicans made it clear Obama is weak because he choose the sanction option instead of war which is the only other option.

    March 9, 2014 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  11. BO

    Why is Putin leading Obama around by the nose?

    March 9, 2014 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  12. Celebrity Dictator

    Love the way CNN makes it all about what the GOP think. How about crafting your own ideas as to Obama's failed foreign policies rather than trying to deflect and focus on the GOP. Heaven forbid CNN actually report the facts – in this case, Obama's failures in both Syria and now the Ukraine. How about that Arab Spring too, eh? These aren't GOP failures. This goes to the heart of Obama's claim that he would make the world a safer place and restore our reputation in the world.

    March 9, 2014 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  13. jack

    Republicans are saying Obama is weak. Their answer to everything is use military force. They are stupid enough to start world war 3 with Russia. Obama won't resort to war with Russia like Republicans would. You know Cheney would want to profit off the war........

    March 9, 2014 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  14. RickFromTexas

    Lol, first the GOP says government's too big, conveniently forgetting how much it grew under Bush, then they complain when military spending is one of the items on the table because of all their friends in companies like Haliburton and Raytheon.

    Does anyone even listen when republicans talk anymore? If so, why?

    They screwed up the economy, again, pulled every lowbrow, lowlife tactic there is to impede the recovery, and are more concerned about party purity than they are about Americans. On top of all of that, their party is tearing itself apart, pitting moderates who will work with democrats against extremists who won't even work with other republicans!

    These are some of the most reprehensible people this country has ever seen and they've turned the GOP into the party everyone loves to hate. The world respects Obama, a hell of a lot more than they respected Bush, that much is very clear.

    I personally think that the only mistake Obama's really made so far is not putting the tea party kooks in their place.

    They're easy to beat in debates because they almost never have their facts straight, hell, most of them can't even spell correctly and all of them slept through every history class, ridiculing and humiliating them publicly is now a popular sport on comment forums everywhere. I wish Obama would take the gloves off and give it right back to them. Their positions and their platforms are so weak, it would be very easy to shut these kooks up for good by revealing their foolishness for all to see.

    .

    March 9, 2014 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  15. Johnny 5

    Obama is too poppin fresh to worry about how weak he is. He just had a party at the White House starring some rappers and singers that sounded like sick cats. It's ok Obama, ride your bicycle with your big girly helmet, enjoy your expensive vacations on our dime, and lick an ice cream cone in your mom jeans while Putin walks all over you with a smile.

    March 9, 2014 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  16. DVA

    I will take this so-called weak President any day. The GOP needs some muscle in the brain department. Bin Ladin is gone!!!
    Perhaps the GOP should pack up and take their children and other friends and relatives over to join the Russian Pony Brigade with Putin and be like our old Cowboy Pres. Sharp tongues do not a weapon make. GOP did not win the elections and the power was taken away and for good reason THE AMERICANS VOTED HIM IN!!!! So sit back and shut up until you have the power to do more than trash the President.

    March 9, 2014 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  17. loops808

    Thank goodness Obama has the media to defend his reputation.

    March 9, 2014 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  18. floorme

    HOW DARE THEY STATE THE OBVIOUS~~ Please don't pretend to own the HIGH ROAD- All Oboo boo does is play POLITICS- Lets face it– Putin sixed up our community organizer in chief – and bullied him like a red headed step child– Putin has taken thepower lead in the world's min d–

    March 9, 2014 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  19. Tychi

    So, while our President tries to face off with the Russians, our scum-bagging GOP is calling him weak and naive. I would like to know when the GOP started working and siding with the Russians? This is like the President is playing poker with Putin and the GOP tells Putin that the President only has a pair. Do they really have to be so freaking stupid!?!?! If there is a God, please save us from the GOP.

    March 9, 2014 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  20. Ronald Noe

    And here's my ,"GOP are Stupid and Hate everyone", card! And Rand Paul won, that is why the Democrats will win big! And talk about hypocritical, Rand Paul would not lift a finger against Putin and yet the GOP calls Obama Weak? Four years of No and trying to make the President of the United States has not endeared the GOP to anyone and they face losing the House now due to their inaction, "NPOT DOING THEIR JOBS BASED ON PARTISAN POLITICS! There is no honor in the GOP!

    March 9, 2014 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  21. Shan

    Obama is smarter than GOP leaders.

    March 9, 2014 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  22. Steve

    Reagan won the Colw War while he was asleep.

    Obama lost Eastern Europe while he was wide awake.

    March 9, 2014 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  23. JeniW

    So the some of GOP members want to enter into a war where thousands would be killed (murdered,) thousands of people injured, including children, and destruction of property, all the while increasing the national debt. What weaklings they are for thinking war is the first and best option.

    March 9, 2014 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  24. mcp123

    "Everything Obama has done over 5 years has signaled weakness and indecision."

    Republicans haven't accomplished a single freaking thing except obstructionism. Osama is dead and the war is winding down in Afghanistan and Iraq. If it were republicans still in office we'd now be in three wars and spending 4 trillion a year on the military building hideously expensive weapons systems that don't work as advertised.

    Most people in this country know the republicans are nothing but the party of NO... they put forward that America can't improve the lives of it's citizens we can only bomb other countries to oblivion and try to micromanage events in every corner of the world.

    I'll stick with the democrats thanks!

    March 9, 2014 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  25. Charlie

    A "weak card" hahahaha. at least he gets a card.

    March 9, 2014 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
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