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. allenwoll

    Yeah, Bush was real strong - How much is that counted in Body Bags ? ? - Foreign AND domestic ? ?

    March 9, 2014 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  2. If you believe THAT...........

    The saddest part of all of this is that the liberal 'great unwashed' really BELIEVE that is Patriotic to support an inept, dishonest, spineless president just because THEY foisted him on America! Unbelievable!

    March 9, 2014 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  3. Orthostice

    Just Asking: when did Ukraine become the 51st state? Just asking.

    March 9, 2014 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  4. bspurloc

    So why didnt he does this when Putin annexed Georgia? OH YEAH... cuz they didnt care
    "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."

    March 9, 2014 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  5. Robyn


    As Republican congress members work to start World War III
    over a country most could not point out on a map in order to win an election.

    We are forced to ask once again: is there no act so despicable, so foolish,
    so dangerous and stupid that the Republican Party will not commit it?


    March 9, 2014 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  6. don in albuquerque

    If the President appears weak it is a by-product of five years of Republican obstructionism at every turn. Repubs would rather see this country go right down the tubes then support a left wing (forget about black) president be successful. We saw the same thing with Bill Clinton and how much he was hated. Now much of that hate is being transferred to his wife. If anyone is weak here it is the GOTP which continues to flounder, continues to put forth candidates that could not win a third grade class secretary position, continue to want endless war, and continue to want to take this country backward. Do I think President Obama is the end all president, no. Do I worship him, no. I see him as just a man like any other who is capable of error. But this country WILL continue forward in sprite of the GOTP, even if we have to drag them kicking and screaming into a future that they will continue to fight unless there is heavy duty profit in it for them.

    March 9, 2014 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  7. veryoldman

    The Republicans hate Obama so much that they are willing to hurt U.S. to benefit their Party. I suppose Chaney remembers that Russian invaded Georgia in 2008, under Bush-Chaney.

    March 9, 2014 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  8. jimbo

    Obama is strong because he doesn't give in to the war mongers! McCain, Romney and stupid Palin would have us in three wars by now.

    March 9, 2014 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  9. jrm03063

    If you want to know the strength of the GOP – tour any VA hospital across America. They're very strong when it's someone else that's doing the paying, bleeding, suffering and dying. What a bunch of gutless wonders.

    March 9, 2014 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  10. Sick and fed up

    I'm just so tired of pathological liars in the white house, we have to do better people.

    March 9, 2014 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  11. David

    Obama decisively made a courageous decision to go after Bin Laden and got him – the GOP never did so! The GOP like to take whatever a strength is and turn it in to a weakness. Don't buy it!

    March 9, 2014 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  12. Jessica McGwin

    The GOP is just as weak as the House. Not impressed with either! You both have screwed this country, you both have acted like 3 yr old pooping your pants, and crying. If the GOP expects to gain any structure you must put away your childish things. Speak not your minds but with your hearts. Lead with objective discipline. Live with integrity. Until both side can accomplish these means the ways will not reveal themselves. Rule of Conduct Abe.... written after his child's death. Simple, confined, and reflective not just of his time, but ours.

    March 9, 2014 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  13. WSB

    Each party always looks for any reason or opportunity to make their opponents look weak. If Obama found a cure for cancer, the GOP would spin the fact to make Obama look bad. IGNORE the political chatter. Most of it is distraction from the real issues anyway.

    March 9, 2014 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  14. Dnewaye

    Let us bring back the draft.These politicians will not be too quick to send their kids to war.

    March 9, 2014 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  15. i'malib

    Obama is not W E E K!

    March 9, 2014 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  16. Jill

    Just why do the Sunday political talk shows always stack up with Republicans? It's gotten so bad and so obvious that I do not watch them anymore just because they are so unbalanced.

    March 9, 2014 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  17. Gwen

    Obama does not even matter ! He is out of the picture. Hello GOP. We have a political black hole in this country. That anyone would vote for Clinton is just nuts. And, I have not missed the Romney crowd putting out feelers. Who the heck is Rand Paul? I can't even imagine what 2016 will look like.

    March 9, 2014 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  18. Tmckinley

    Republicans say that President Obama is "weak." What, then, shall we say about the President who allowed 9/11 to happen on HIS watch, FAILED to get Osama Bin Laden, and engaged in a policy of TOTAL APPEASMENT toward Vladimir Putin? Does anyone else remember Putin's visits to the Crawford, Texas ranch?

    March 9, 2014 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  19. joedog46

    Much kinder and more true than Bush was the following: Hitler, a fascist, dumber than Al Gore (Bush and a higher GPA at Yale then Gore), neo-imperialist, etc. Do journalists these days ever think to check a paper's morgue for old editions?

    March 9, 2014 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  20. futureman

    Let's review. Obama got Bin Laden, he's getting us out of the neocon finagled Iraq drive by, he's disengaging from Afghanistan, he kept us out of McCain's hoped for involvements in Egypt, Libya, and Syria. and he bounds down flights of stairs. Can you imaging Cruz, Christi, or Rand Paul doing that. The bleating from the repubs is absolutely hysterical.

    March 9, 2014 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  21. kurt

    In 2008, Russia started killing people right away with their invasion of Georgia. The end result is they annexed the pieces of Georgia they wanted by using ample bloodshed and then had the international community blame Georgia for it.

    That's what Russia did with Bush as president.

    With Obama... they've moved troops in but have yet to actually begin fighting. Sanctions have already begun and Russia's economy is struggling.

    If Obama is weak... Bush must have been a limp towel. In 2008, Russia had NO consequences for annexing part of another nation. In 2014, consequences have already begun and Russia hasn't felt confident enough to kill anyone yet. Not only has Obama taken action where Bush did not, he's getting Europe on board with sanctions, which will CRIPPLE Russia.

    The thing with Obama is that he doesn't use bluster. But he's shown he's not afraid to kill. In fact, while he doesn't make the decision to use force quickly... once he does it generally comes down like a hammer.

    Libya... we didn't do anything for some time. But when we did do something, we completely destroyed Khadaffi's air force in hours and most of the advantage he had in armor in the days following. And then we left and didn't spend a penny on cleaning up the mess we made.

    In Syria... why do you think they gave in completely on chemical weapons like they did? It wasn't because they thought Obama was weak... they knew Libya treatment was coming. We weren't going to try to "win a war". We were just going to kill lots of people with aircraft, drones and cruise missles.

    In Pakistan... we didn't ask permission. We just went and killed Osama bin Laden.

    Obama is hesitant to get into the fight... but when he does we KILL people. We don't build nations. We don't try to insure innocents aren't harmed. We just blow things (and people) up.

    With Russia, we aren't just offering public condemnation. We're going after their economy. We're already blowing their stuff up... in a figurative but still very effective way. Obama is slow to act in some ways, but he's not a wimp when it comes to the actions he takes when he does move.

    Putin is wishing Bush were still in charge in the US. He's HATING how this is going down.

    March 9, 2014 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  22. cmml

    @gurgyl, Obama is weak. He passed Obamacare with a stacked deck in Congress and we are all seeing how bad it is for the country (aren't you amazed that it passed in Obama's first year but won't be enacted until one month before the next presidential election?)

    The stock market is a result of quantitative easing which was put in place by Bernanke (who was a Bush appointee – thanks W). Those GOP thugs actually put the brakes on runaway spending and have cut the deficit in half.

    The fact that you would vote for him again shows how disconnected you are from reality.

    March 9, 2014 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  23. ME

    All you traitors, who put your petty political ambitions above US safety by pushing Obama to take a belligerent stance, SHAME ON YOU!

    There should be a public tribunal to really held you accountable for PUSHING US into another WAR!

    March 9, 2014 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  24. Loathstheright

    Translation-Obama is not going to make rash decisions....unlike Republicans who would have started world war III by now.

    March 9, 2014 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  25. Iamnotright

    GOP thinks anyone who doesn't chant, "War, War, War!" is weak, even if going to war is on false pretenses.

    March 9, 2014 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
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