Sunday Chatter: GOP hold up ‘Obama-is-weak’ card; GOP angling
March 9th, 2014
04:10 PM ET
8 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. 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 mor ons in the world to keep them going. This is hard to watch.

    March 9, 2014 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  2. JP

    Bring the draft back and start with GOP's children

    March 9, 2014 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  3. charlie

    i bet if we get into this predicament and have to send troops the GOP will blame Obama for the deficit increases because of it. I do not understand how the GOP can not explain one idea to us public, all they do is blame Obama and have negative feedback with everything. Never one positive thing they have to say

    March 9, 2014 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  4. Jon

    Just because he doesn't shoot first and ask questions later, and/or lie to justify going to war, that does not make him weak. And considering how often Boehner breaks down and cries like a baby for no reason, and at odd times, it kind of seems like the last thing republicans should be doing is calling someone weak.

    March 9, 2014 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  5. newnereview

    Nobody cares what the former GOP has to say about anything. The defunct party is merely standing on the sidelines until the next election, when they will be completely ejected from the auditorium. Thank God! RIP GOP.

    March 9, 2014 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  6. eye-roller

    First Obama was a dictator who was going to take America's guns, force Healthcare on them and turn the country into a Socialist State using his power. Now he is weak?

    March 9, 2014 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  7. Adam Smith

    Republicans must be brain-damaged. Their reckless foreign policy, especially under Reagan, who supplied mujaheedins ( later known as Taliban & al Qaeda ) in Afghanistan with money and arms, culminated in 9/11 attack. Somehow they keep silent about it. So, I'll take the dem's approach to foreign policy over GOP's any day of the week.

    March 9, 2014 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  8. xedos

    if Obama follow the republicans we would invade Libya, start a war with Iran, start a war with Syria and now Russia and cut taxes at the same time

    March 9, 2014 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  9. Dave - Phx

    Warmongers. We are not weak you morons, look at out military budget.

    March 9, 2014 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  10. maanirantel

    Excuse me...uh, hello? What exactly does the GOP want Obama to do – invade Crimea? Send troops to Ukraine? Is the "military solution" the only one that the right wing understands?

    March 9, 2014 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  11. Mike D.

    The only thing that the GOP has is fear and smear. GOP has NO heath care no jobs and NO ideas they have nothing but tax breaks for the rich. As far as Russia goes Bush and the republicans did nothing NOTHING when the Russians invaded Georgia in 2008. LIKE I SAY THE GOP HAVE NOTHING BUT LIES!!

    March 9, 2014 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  12. JohnRJohnson

    The best that GOP can do is read from a children's book. That's their idea of a policy stand.

    March 9, 2014 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  13. Bagocheese

    Oh....Obama is weak alright.

    March 9, 2014 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  14. Thetruth

    Republicans disgust me. At every turn the obfuscate the truth, lie about reality and hide their collective mistakes. Traitors all should be sent to Guantanamo all of them!

    March 9, 2014 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  15. Fish

    If Obama is weak by comparison the GOP is extinct!!! These people haven't had an idea, thought nor policy in years!!! Before you cast stones please make your argument!!! Sound bites only translates into Bite me to voters!!!

    March 9, 2014 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  16. Rogue351

    Our president is not weak. The USA is not weak. The democratic party is not weak. The true anti americans are those that disrespect our president at ever turn. A party that launches radio and TV talk shows that do noting but attempt to discredit our president, those people are weak. The GOP / Tea Party with Lee, Cruz and Nugent are weak. If the GOP / Tea Party is really behind America then prove it. Because so far all the American people and the world has seen from you is greed, the capability to do ANYTHING to win the office back including making the whole country appear weak to the world should not be tolerated. It is time for America to rally behind our twice elected president. Show the world we stand with our government and that we are not so divided we cant get anything done. Not doing so is essentially cutting off your nose to spite your face. Like it or not America these people are making us appear weak. The answer of impeaching the President is moving 180 degrees in the wrong direction at this time in history.

    March 9, 2014 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  17. Steve

    Obama is weak? This coming from the folks who got spanked by Obama in 2 elections? Hilarious.

    March 9, 2014 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  18. amisc1970

    Essentially the GOP does everything it can to weaken Obama, and then says Obama is weak.

    March 9, 2014 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  19. Jib76

    Former Vice President Dick Chaney was tried and convicted in abstencia as a war criminal by Spain and Italy.

    March 9, 2014 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  20. Mike Texoma

    Just asking what would you do differently in response to Russia's armed aggression in Crimea?. Specifically, what would you have done to prevent it? As America's chief executive officer, what would have been your plan? And how would you describe Cheney's response to the question about the aggression in Georgia?

    March 9, 2014 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  21. Lee McBride

    It will be interesting to see how the rest of this plays out. However, it is currently very obvious that Mr. Putin is not in anyway reluctant to continue his present course despite President Obama's warnings that there will be "costs" involved for his actions. This would appear to a very strong indication that Mr. Putin feels that President Obama is "weak" or not a man to be feared.

    March 9, 2014 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  22. beetle1a

    If the President is weak, it's because the Congress has made him that way with their constant bickering and obstruction. They are to blame for this, just as much as Obama (If they want to throw mud).

    March 9, 2014 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  23. Too Late

    The silly old GOP still fighting to win an election that Obama won in 2012.

    March 9, 2014 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  24. VEW2012

    Weak how laughable. Obama is not weak, he is smart and doesn't rush us into unnecessary and costly wars without giving negotiations and peace a chance. The economy under his leadership is recovering from the miserable mess created by a GOP disaster of a president. President Obama took up the search for Osama bin Laden and brought him down, something the last president couldn't even get right. That and he finally passed the GOP mandated health care plan that they loved until Romney had to run against his own plan. Feckless people shouldn't be talking and that is exactly what the GOP are.

    March 9, 2014 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  25. jaydavid666

    Our enemies like Putin can always count on their US Republican allies to attack our country at the height of a crisis for political gain.

    March 9, 2014 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
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