Sunday Chatter: GOP hold up ‘Obama-is-weak’ card; GOP angling
March 9th, 2014
04:10 PM ET
5 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. scranton

    How about we wait a week and see how this pans out as to whether Obama's dismal record on foreign policy continues to dive and may perhaps rise a bit.

    March 9, 2014 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  2. YoonYoungJo

    Obama is not weak. He likes to give people the benefit of the doubt. He wants to build world cooperation on trust and honesty. The thing he's learning though, is that it only works if others are of like mind. Sadly no matter how honest you are, or how truthful you are, there will always be a bunch of people who do not believe the same things. Because lying and deceiving your way to getting you want is a lot easier then accomplishing things on a truthful premise. Just like Putin sending troops into Crimea, promising they aren't there to interfere. Then claiming the troops in different uniforms aren't Russia . And what happens? They are there to interfere. And the troops in different uniforms are Russian. What's the worst part of it? The next time Russia tells us something and we take it with a grain of salt, somehow it will mean we are dishonest for not believing them anymore, reverse psychological BS.

    March 9, 2014 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  3. 1alien1

    unamerican polittcal freaks. what happened to these people?

    March 9, 2014 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  4. Hotdog

    In case no one told each of you there is nothing that this country could do. Just look at what our country history. What makes us so morally correct that we can tell other countries what to do? Look at the racial, economic and political divide that exist here. This has been going on for so long that the powers to be think that this is the way that it is suppose to be. As long as we have politicians that want to continue on this path of division instead of finding common ground to solve the problems that's facing our country we will be nothing more that a sounding brass and a tingling symbol that signifies nothing!

    March 9, 2014 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  5. Jeremy

    If these GOP-ers were in high school they would be charged with bullying. It shows the maturity level of the group and how they just aren't capable of making tough mature decisions.

    March 9, 2014 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  6. CosmicC

    If Obama looks weak, it's not because of what he has or hasn't done, it's because the GOP has done everything they could for the past 5 years to undermine him. News flash: They've hurt the country far more than anything a single President could do in one term, maybe even more than all presidents combined since Reagan traded hostages for the White House.

    March 9, 2014 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  7. Raadgast

    It is unfair to characterized the President as these events unfold, To wage war would be premature and we would gain to have a coalition therefore this approach has many benefits for the US, going in there now will cost us in many ways, Come the time where force may be the only viable option to accomplish the goal of keeping crimea as part of Ukraine, then we will really see what this president is made of. It should also be preferred to not have it come to that. I do take exception to the fact that they attack the President every opportunity especially when it comes to a foreign power, it hurts America.

    March 9, 2014 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  8. buckcameron

    And here's my GOP is stupid card. Which proves?

    March 9, 2014 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  9. Traci Gilmartin

    The very first crisis George W. Bush faced was when China forced down our spy plane and took 24 crew members hostage. How did the ultra-strong decider-in-chief respond? He formally apologized to China and even sent a condolence letter to the widow of the fighter pilot who brought our plane down in international airspace in a deliberate act of war.

    March 9, 2014 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  10. buckcameron

    I don't really understand the Republicans Bromance with the Russian oligarch, accept that he practices their preferred form of government, dictatorship.

    March 9, 2014 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  11. mickinmd

    James Baker, Reagan/Bush Chief of Staff/Secretary of State said on TV today that Obama is CLEARLY not weak, but he is inconsistent.

    What did ANY of these Republicans, who despicably call Obama weak, do when Russia went into Georgia in 2008? NOTHING. Did they put as many sanctions on Russia as Obama already has? NO. By comparison THEY are weak.

    This isn't as bad as when the GOP fought tooth-and-nail to keep FDR from supplying Great Britain when it stood alone against Hitler. But it's still wrong.

    This is PARTY FIRST, COUNTRY SECOND propaganda and it's disgusting.

    March 9, 2014 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  12. Raadgast

    The answer to the GOP about a weak President: Osama Bin Laden

    March 9, 2014 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  13. exodus84

    If you needed any more evidence why the GOP has no business in leading this nation then this should be the final nail in the coffin. One of the reasons Obama was elected was to stop this mindless warmongering that got us into Iraq for no reason and in Afghanistan WAY longer than we should have been. They've proven that we'd still be in Iraq and likely would have military engagements in Syria and now Russia. War with Russia? Really? The Republican party might be the most dangerous political party on the planet today.

    March 9, 2014 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  14. Norma Vessels

    Even if President Obama had gone after Russia with guns blazing, the Republicans in Congress would have labeled him as a bully, a war mongrel, a dictator. They will go after our President, no matter what he does or does not do. Not because our President is wrong, but because they won't let him ever once be right.

    March 9, 2014 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  15. Lone Patriot

    In order to be weak someone has to have some amount of strength.
    Obama is not weak, he is impotent.

    March 9, 2014 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  16. Rich

    When Dems are critical of military decisions made by a Rep president, they are called traitors and told they are only aiding the enemy. Standard right wing hypocrisy.

    March 9, 2014 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  17. rasPutin

    I suppose the GOPers will call Eisenhower weak. After all, he went golfing 800 times while the Russians clamped down on Hungary, developed the hydrogen bomb, and built a huge nuclear arsenal on his watch.

    March 9, 2014 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  18. harrisonhits2

    Of course when Bush did nothing during Russia's invasion of Georgia he wasn't weak at all according to the GOP. And if he sent troops in or made some other extreme measure they'd be saying he went too far and was nuts to get that involved.

    March 9, 2014 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  19. LonePatriot

    In order to be weak someone has to have some amount of strength.
    Obama is not weak, he is impotent.

    March 9, 2014 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  20. George

    So the GOP wants to go to war with Russia now.

    March 9, 2014 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  21. samb

    Russian dictator makes a unilateral move on an adjacent country and the GOP screams that Obama is weak. When Bush was president and had a very agressive foreign policy including invading Iraq for no reason, Putin invaded Georgia. The Democrats didn't scream that Bush was weak, because it was a move by an agressive dictator, Putin, who couldn't care less what America thinks. The GOP are pathetic!

    March 9, 2014 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  22. RichF

    Amazing how quick they are to criticize rather than join with the President. What ever happened to united we stand? Instead we continue to be adversarial and demonize the other side. If there are suggestions get them to him rather then make it political. There is time enough for that after the problem has passed. For now it's us versus them.

    March 9, 2014 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  23. Simplefaith

    In all my 61 years, I have never seen a bunch of nasty Republicans as I do now. All they do is insult the President. They don't offer solutions to problems or policies. All they do is block the President, insult him and act as though they are better than him. Any Republican thinking of being President of the United States in 2016, does not have a chance. Bullies, idiots, crooks and loud mouths, lying and self centered men have been presented to us so far. We cannot trust any of the Republicans at this time. Why do people vote for these useless cridders anyway?

    March 9, 2014 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  24. Dinaanid

    America is tired of GOP chicken hawks sending other people's children to die. You will not send my kid to die for the Ukraine.

    March 9, 2014 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  25. TiredofBush

    The ONLY reason the GOP are ready to go to WAR in the Ukraine is fusel fuels. Without those fuels they could care less about the country.

    March 9, 2014 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
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