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. Angel

    Since you boneheads like to be critical of our president. Then how about you all run the country. You all act like you know it all but yet you are home crying like little girls behind that monitor of yours or cell phone.

    March 9, 2014 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  2. FrankinSD

    Bush being "strong" didn't keep Putin out of Georgia and Moldova. But then, Bush was from the party of the true patriots – so his "yee-ha" diplomacy couldn't possibly have been at fault.

    March 9, 2014 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  3. my10cents

    Any political debate on the perception of the weakness or strength of the President held by the opposing parties in American politics is actually a useless waste of time because neither is really what is important to resolving this or many of the other problems around this planet. Intelligence is the real answer because it trumps the strongest and gives a tactical advantage to the weakest. I don't know why the GOP\TP resorts to these ignorant tactics and why they somehow still believe that these attacks could ever make their party appealing to the diversity they claim they are seeking. Perhaps this uncontrollable compulsion to act ignorantly at times when intelligence is required is their weakness.

    March 9, 2014 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  4. James

    Yes Obama appears weak and ineffectual. Yes Obamacare is going to push our economy over the cliff in its present form. Yes Both Dems and Reps eagerly applaud catastrophe when the other party is in charge, and yes they only care about their power. The Dems tried to do something about the rising medical costs of this country, but they did not address the system itself, the very system that defrauds and over-charges its customers, the very customer base that the federal government has regulated to them by destroying and crippling any possible competition. The Reps only care about rich corporations to the detriment of all u.s. citizens, including the outsourcing of our jobs to foreign powers.

    March 9, 2014 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  5. Reason & Logic

    If the Republicans want to blame Obama for giving Putin a green light to invade Ukraine, then the same can be said for Reagen, Cheney, and GWH Bush giving Saddam a green light to invade Kuwait. And these were the same people who armed Iran to the teeth in their war with Iraq. Where is the criticism for all that?

    March 9, 2014 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  6. kws11

    That card's in the deck right between "The Sky is Blue" and "The Grass is Green".

    March 9, 2014 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  7. The REAL TRUTH...

    When is the GOP going to get a backbone, get over their five yr long hissy and show a little respect for the POTUS? Dubya was an absolute nincompoop, but when it came to foreign policy, most the Dems and the country stood WITH him not AGAINST him, as they are now.
    They are so busy proving how conservative they are and refining the SAME OLD FAILED MSG that they are eating each other.. witness last weeks conservative gathering.

    The GOP should know, you reap what you sow. It's going to be massive payback if the GOP thinks the Dems are just going sit back quietly on the slight chance they lose the Senate later this yr..

    March 9, 2014 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  8. Jd

    GOP is hoping they can push us into another war and then blame Obama for it. They actually believe the people are too stupid to see through their shenanigans.

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

    The GOP appears to have a great deal to say about many things, but offers no viable solutions. In that same pattern of conduct we hear once again from the GOP \ TP, this time complaining about how President Obama has handled the situation in the Ukraine. What we have heard from several GOP politicians is basically saber rattling. That is not a solution and would only escalate into a very ugly situation, and potential outright war with Russia. The western part of the Ukraine and Crimea have a very long history with Russia, dating back over 250 years. It is not a simple situation. The eastern part of the Ukraine has a clear desire to tie into the EU, as they do not have an extensive history with Russia, at least not in the way Crimea does. Most residents of western Ukraine speak Ukrainian, in eastern Ukraine they speak Russian.

    The situation in the Ukraine, contrary to what the GOP \ TP would like people to believe is a very complex matter. There are also issues such as the assorted GOP \ TP politicians speaking out with little or no factual knowledge of the situation. It is time for the GOP \ TP to knock it off, they have nothing viable to offer in this situation and are potentially making matters worse by their constant attack on President Obama.

    March 9, 2014 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  10. mfvjr

    What does GOP wants? War? That's their brand. If they run out of plausible reasons, they will go to war.

    March 9, 2014 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  11. oreo

    Is he weak? Probably but more accurately he is a liar and at best a deceptive politician fighting for the status-quo..

    March 9, 2014 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    The GOP far right tea party members are shameful. These people are counting on stupid people that believe everything Fox news says to keep them in office. After the 2008 election, I will never vote for ANY Republican again.

    March 9, 2014 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  13. Reddog9500

    Monday Morning Quarterbacking is so, so easy. The GOP is expert at it.

    March 9, 2014 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  14. Andy Daniel

    The GOP doesn't care a whit about Ukraine and is happy to sacrifice them for their own 2016 prospects. Obama's strength or weakness in foreign policy largely depends on support from the country. Just like an offensive lineman can make his quarterback look bad by blocking poorly, the GOP can easily make Obama look bad in foreign policy by doing exactly what they're doing now. But hopefully the "coach" will notice and bench the linemen in 2016.

    March 9, 2014 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  15. PuzzledInPeoria

    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.”

    His stupidity continues to amaze. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan accomplished...please remind me, I've forgotten. You'll notice that neither Cheney nor Bush travels outside the U.S. There's a real possibility they could be arrested and taken before the World Court for war crimes.

    If Cheney had one molecule of decency in his body, he would retreat to "a secure, undisclosed location" and never show his face again.

    March 9, 2014 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  16. SeattleReign

    I guess the GOP would rather Obama be more like Putin. If he were, he'd have dispatched most of them with Polonium during his first term.

    March 9, 2014 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  17. pkMyt1

    Eisenhower could not work with the Grand Obstructionist Party. Never solutions, never for the U.S., always for the most conservative, religious wingnuts out there.

    March 9, 2014 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  18. Rogue351

    Yet another great plan on behalf of the GOP / Tea Party. The GOP / Tea Party not standing behind and supporting Obama is sending signals of weakness all over the world. With these recent troubles involving Russia the USA need to appear politically solid and militarily superior. At this point the GOP / Tea Party is not only attempting to make the president look bad but in doing so is sending a message to the rest of the world just how divided our nation is right now over politics. At this point in history people like Cruz, Lee, Limbaugh, Hannity and Beck are doing far far more to hurt lower the world opinion of the United States. People building careers or making money hand over fist at the cost of the world view of the United States is anti American as apposed to the GOP / Tea Party message of being that much more American than a Democrat. Get behind our president, get behind the United States and show the world we can get thing done. We are not so divided we can no longer function. Obama still has a long time in office. Stand up for American and support our twice elected president. Stop making these haters relevant, it is ultimately hurting the USA. United we stand Divided we fall, thank about that. Either you are for America or your against it. Like it or not we elect officials like the president to represent our county occasion friction is normal but launching radio and talk shows who's soul job is to bash our government. To people outside of the USA this lack of respect for your leader shows sighs of weakness for the whole country. This is the exact reason we have freedom of speech. We can say anything we want, Ted Nugent is a prime example. But the real question no one asks is should he say those things, and how it reflects on our country and our counties president. The fact that the GOP / Tea Party stands behind this man sends an even stronger negative message to the world. Right now the GOP / Tea Party bashing the president at ever turn is not helping show a strong united country. Disagree all you want but respect the office. Be Proud to be an American regardless if a democrat or a republican is in office.

    March 9, 2014 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  19. larz

    did the GOP accuse putin of being weak when he "allowed" the USA to occupy Iraq using extremely violent tactics on "made up" accusations ? the hypocrisy is staggering

    March 9, 2014 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  20. jimmy

    republicans are behaving in such cowardice ways to benefit their political gain by slamming the President of the United States in a time we need unity and strength. These gutless idiots, McConnell and Graham are embarrassing to me and anyone else who is an American. The Republican Party is dying a slow ugly death without a clue.

    March 9, 2014 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  21. MOModerate

    Who got Bin Laden?

    March 9, 2014 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  22. bashful365

    I can hardly wait for Mr. Obama to be out of office so we can all assassinate the character of the next president.

    March 9, 2014 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  23. The Republican Party Is Dead To Me

    Wait until you see how strong the American people can be against the republicans, come November. OUCH.

    March 9, 2014 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  24. Nanners1

    LOL they don't even give a hoot anymore about the real world. These goofballs are just trying to hold on to the uneducated and flat out gullible as long as they can at this point. They have totally disconnected from the real world and could care less. They are banking on the hope that there are enough morons in the world to keep them going. This is hard to watch.

    March 9, 2014 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  25. Joe the plumber

    So if you talk over the problem instead of just going in there with your army you are called weak. I am sorry the worst thing you can do is start a war. The GOP is just going against anything Obama does. A GOP president would do the same thing as Obama. What you want to start WWIII? Youpeople are dumb.

    March 9, 2014 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
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