June 21st, 2009
06:10 PM ET
13 years ago

Bennett: Obama's reaction to Iran 'very disappointing'

WASHINGTON (CNN) – After more than a week of political protests on the streets of Tehran and repeated criticism of the White House by Republicans on Capitol Hill, a leading conservative voice is also criticizing President Barack Obama’s response to the political upheaval in Iran.

Related: 'The world is watching,' Obama tells Iran

Obama “needs to condemn what the government is doing,” conservative radio talk show host and CNN political contributor Bill Bennett said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

“He needs to say it in no uncertain terms. This is very disappointing, as far as I’m concerned. This was the president to whom the whole world was looking. . . . This is a president about hope, he’s about the future. This is a guy who was a community organizer. He missed it. He missed the opportunity.”

“We are last best hope on Earth,” Bennett also said. “He is the President of the United States. If he will not side with these young people against a religious autocracy that is beating the hell out of people, what is the point of being the moral leader of the free world?”

Donna Brazile, a Democratic strategist and CNN political contributor, sees the situation differently.

“I think the president has struck the right balance,” Brazile said Sunday.

“If the United States is seen as showing its so-called fist at a moment when the people themselves are speaking out, it could have the adverse effect of rallying those individuals against the United States and not against their government,” the Democrat said.

Related: Obama gives exclusive interview to Pakistani media outlet

Filed under: Bill Bennett • Extra • Iran • Popular Posts • President Obama • State of the Union
soundoff (86 Responses)
  1. ken, holland pa

    obama is playing this correctly. come out too strong and this becomes about us. figures, another republican who is trying to jump before looking. we had our own election in november. bennett and his crew lost. lost badly. it's time for them to shut their pie hole.

    June 21, 2009 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  2. Highpowered

    You know the last time an American President (Dubya) mentioned regime change or rhetoric like it we ended up in the wrong country. Just admit it Republicans, that speech in Cairo did more (only took 50 minutes to deliver) that bombing Iraq, losing over 4,000 soldiers and sinking 1.5 trillion dollars in Iraq when we could of used the money for healthcare. Do people really listen to that guy? CNN why are you paying him?

    June 21, 2009 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  3. Brenda

    We had 8 years of tough talk and look where it got us. I can't believe that in the midst of our country already fighting two wars, the Republicans want more action. Like most Americans, I am with the protestors in Iran too, but our president does not need to take the cowboy diplomacy route in order to get things done. No matter what, I hope President Obama continues to strike the right tone, and instead of the Republicans passing a bypartisan bill to show how much they're behind Iran, how about passing a bypartisan bill to help America? We're still waiting for Republicans to get on board and if they can get off the news cable channels criticies Obama, then maybe we can get something done in our country as well.

    June 21, 2009 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  4. Jean

    Why is it that all the experts on Iran believe that President Obama is responding to the current Iranian situation appropriately and all of your Republican guests think he is weak. Who should we believe? It is a good thing that John McCain lost the election and that we have someone in the White House who is reflective and disciplined and does not shoot from the hip. We certainly have had enough of that during the last 8 years and look where that led us.

    June 21, 2009 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  5. joe smith

    for the first time, we believe measured silence is the best approach to this obvious sham in Iran..there are those in our Government, whose ties to Israel, are trying to pick a fight through this stumbling block towards moderation by the Iranian people, but, their determination ultimately will win out, and these detractors, and war mongers among us will have to keep picking on the poor people of Palestine, if they want to fight..the cream will rise to the top in Iran for sure..

    June 21, 2009 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  6. Ryan

    CNN, you crack me up. Whoever does your web "headlines" is obviously a knucklehead. As a matter of fact, your whole network is replete with knuckleheads.

    Wouldn't it be surprising if you knuckleheads actually wrote a "headline" like this: Brazille: Obama's reaction to Iran thought out and precise.

    I won't hold my breath though. We all know how much street cred Bennett the Bigot has.

    June 21, 2009 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  7. Darrell Anthony

    I strongly disagree. America needs to take the blinders off on the issue of Iran. How can we talk about democracy in Iran, when we have no credibility with the country. We overthrew the elected leader of Iran, then placed a puppet leader ( The Shah of Iran). The shah became a killer of his own people and continued to be propped up by America. Our action in 1953 in support of a British oil company has led to 56 years of of instability in Iran. It is for this reason that President Obama is trying his best to keep America out of the equation. He knows that Iran's leadership
    would use us as a catalyst to allow them to lower the anvil on it's citizens.
    Please, try to learn our foreign affair history before listening to the same people who got us into the current wars.

    June 21, 2009 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  8. Danilo

    Missed it? What...join the riot? And for what...to gain favorable opinions? That's childish and second class thinking. Leave the Iranians to themselves. Its purely internal matter for Iran. Violent as the news may look, the Iranians can sort it out. Meddle in their internal issues and I guarantee the Americans would look ugly despite the best intentions. Where were these noisy people when the current Philippine president cheated in the 2004 elections? In 2001 she took over power by a coup and violently quelled protests. So where were these meddling types? Mr. Bennett, care to answer that or you care for Iran as if you're Iranian?

    The US President is communicating to the leader of Iran. By doing exactly what you see. Hands off and I agree with that.

    June 21, 2009 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  9. Naldo

    The GOP, which is always screaming that our gov should stay out of our lives, is always very anxious to have out gov interfere in the lives of people in other countries.

    June 22, 2009 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  10. independent jamaican

    We have a saying "the higher you climb, the more you're exposed" also "its the humble calf that drinks the most milk". A powerful nation leads by example not "lording" it over anyone. Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, however don't think your opinion is law. The visible stance of your President, of empahty and caution is seen outside of your country as a sign of deep respect for other nations. A new U.S.that is respected. I hope he stays that way. Come off the high horse a bit...there are other "adults" in the world too.

    June 22, 2009 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
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