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. smc

    Every time Republicans try to act like they're strong, we go a couple trillion more dollars in debt.

    Now Republicans keep pushing us give up our natural resources and throw away our children's future.

    March 9, 2014 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  2. badcyclist

    Here is the calculus of the Republican Part: the number of times the GOP calls Obama weak and ineffective is precisely equal to the number of times they call him dictatorial and compare him to Hitler.

    March 9, 2014 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  3. Rob

    You Americans are so funny, if Obama gets tough and sends troop, you call him a warmonger, if he uses diplomacy and such, he is weak.

    March 9, 2014 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  4. Penguin

    Cheney claims we are stronger by having a large military and a willingness to use it. That didn't stop terrorists killing more than 3000 on 9/11. And Cheney is responsible for the needless loss of over 5000 American soldiers sent to Iraq and Afghanistan. Add to those dismal numbers add the 10s or 100s of thousands of Iraqi deaths and the turning of Iraq into a nation now politically aligned with Iran. I'm so thankful no Republican controls our foreign policy.

    March 9, 2014 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  5. G_Edwards

    "GOP holds up 'Obama is weak' card"

    Actually Pres Putin and the rest of the world is doing that.


    March 9, 2014 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  6. Doug from Seattle

    Typical GOP/Teatard whining and complaining. I haven't heard a viable alternative to anything that President Obama has done from these people since he was elected.

    What I'd like to know is who is going to pay for this new "Chicken-Hawk" war the right-wing seems to think is so important? Are their kids ready to do the "patriotic" thing and volunteer for the sake of showing the world how "tough" we are?

    March 9, 2014 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  7. Shanevb2

    I don't understand. Does the GOP really want us to go to war with Russia over this? How is this our business? We have managed to stay out of war with Russia for 70 years. Kennedy worked us out of war when war seemed inevitable. And todays GOP wants to talk war just to make Obama look "weak". Do they understand what happens if we go to war with Russia? Russia is not Iraq. They will start throwing nukes at us. The GOP is certifiable!! Their fawning over Putin is embarrassing! They are actually impressed with an ex-KGB totalitarian ruler over the democratically elected president of the united states. They want a right wing dictator in this country so bad!!! Can you imagine their response if the dems went against a repub president like this? It would be treason!! Again this proves they are party and politics over country.

    March 9, 2014 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  8. snowdogg

    "President Barack Obama has repeatedly showed weakness in his foreign policy"

    Which differs from the "shoot from the lip" policy the GOP favors.

    March 9, 2014 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  9. Classic

    This is a classic playground fight: A school bully beats on a smart kid, the smart kid says he'll tell the teacher on him. Bully laughs.

    March 9, 2014 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  10. navaJohn

    By saying he's weak I assume the GOP means he hasn't gotten us into an all-out war with Russia yet. If you call that weak God help us all.

    March 9, 2014 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  11. Grumpster

    They've been holding up the "GOP is insane" card for quite some time now.

    March 9, 2014 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  12. Sam

    Except for Obama bashing has GOP done anything worth mentioning since O took office?

    March 9, 2014 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  13. airbornevet187

    What? They were cool with slowing the hunt for Osama and backing off on al queda but this is weak?
    Politics is worse than a soap opera

    March 9, 2014 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  14. Sandyone

    Yep, he will try and keep us out of another Iraq type war and he loss of thousands of young American lives. I like that kind of weak,

    March 9, 2014 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  15. sbree

    there is nothing in this world that has made america more weak then the GOP the last ten years. Rather then leading, solving problems, or working with anyone on anything the GOP got in a room and decided to pursue the one fail-safe strategy they could actually pull off – to spend the entirety of their energy attacking the presidency and blocking any initiative whether it was aligned with their interests or not. Although no one really knows where this organizations true interests align because we cant get an honest sentence out of any of them besides perhaps john mccain, and the other 99% of the statements from any GOP DCer has to do with nothing but criticism of the president. As an american supporting this organization you owe it to all of us to take a long, sober look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself if your financial interests are aligned with the Koch brothers and Mitt ROmeny because i assure you – they are most likely NOT unless you are an extremely wealthy investor who receives the majority of your income via stock and real estate capital gains. This is why they say that the red states are full of "imaginary millionaires"

    March 9, 2014 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  16. BUD

    What could have been done differently?

    Nuke them?

    We don't control the world we just stick our nose in everyone else's business.

    March 9, 2014 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  17. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Thanks for bringing fresh ideas and rational suggestions to the table. Oh, yeah, Republicans can't do that.

    March 9, 2014 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  18. Diana

    Read Cheney statement and everybody else this is about oil again. Said put Poland and Czech Republic missile defense system back on the table. I think there's a lot of back door deals going on? Something is very wrong with this pics. Also talking points you see how many was praising Putin

    Who's behind Putin? Is the GOP in bed with him.
    How much money is Cheney gonna make? And who else????
    Can somebody remind him he's not in office
    People on the right ready for war
    Coke brothers or koch brothers WTH you call them have strong ties in Russia. FAMILY HISTORY ALSO ( Oil and Gas)

    March 9, 2014 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  19. waheid

    If Putin's actions in Ukraine show Obama to be weak, then surely Putin's previous action in Georgia shows the weakness of George Bush.
    At one time, it was customary for politicians of both parties to rally round the President/Commander-in-Chief when the country was faced with danger. Unfortunately for the nation, conservative politicians, whose allegiance is to the party, not the country, see dangerous situations as an opportunity to score political points. So much for patriotism!

    March 9, 2014 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  20. The Anti-Con

    The headline should read the neo-con war mongers, obstructionists and PBOh8erz held up their "WE'RE WEAK in the HEAD" card doncha think CNN?

    March 9, 2014 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  21. oh

    Ah yes, on queue, the GOP opportunists rattle their swords and straighten their tin foil hats. It's what the military industrial complex commands them to do.

    Bring back the draft and see how long you can keep your seats.

    March 9, 2014 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  22. bspurloc

    Russia saw AMERCIA was WEAK when George Who? Bush did absolutely NOTHING when Putin invaded and annexed Gerogia....

    March 9, 2014 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  23. Grampa

    Once again, the GOP tries to use an international situation as a weapon against President Obama rather than working as part of a government team to solve America's and the world's problems. What a worse-than-useless excuse for a political party!

    March 9, 2014 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  24. Thomas

    The need for more , makes corruption prevail !

    How much do you need ?

    March 9, 2014 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  25. Garyu1454

    Republicans cry weakness and any other criticism they can muster but rarely any bright, insightful solutions. What would a Republican President do differently? Probably nothing. What would Republicans do to improve our health care system? Destroy Obama Care yes but solve the problems with our health care system, no.

    March 9, 2014 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
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