April 9th, 2010
03:19 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama brushes off Palin on nuclear deal

President Obama on Friday brushed off criticism from Sarah Palin that his agreement with Russia to restrict the use of nuclear weapons amounts to a dangerous sign of weakness.

President Obama on Friday brushed off criticism from Sarah Palin that his agreement with Russia to restrict the use of nuclear weapons amounts to a dangerous sign of weakness.

(CNN) - President Obama on Friday brushed off criticism from Sarah Palin that his agreement with Russia to restrict the use of nuclear weapons amounts to a dangerous sign of weakness.

"I really have no response," the president said tersely in an interview on ABC's Good Morning America. "Because last I checked, Sarah Palin's not much of an expert on nuclear issues."

Speaking on Fox News earlier this week, Palin said the recently negotiated treaty with Russia - seeking a reduction in the number of nuclear weapons held by the two countries - is an "unbelievable" move and that "no administration in America's history I think would ever have considered such a step."

"It's kinda like getting out in the playground, a bunch of kids ready to fight, and one of the kids saying 'go ahead, punch me in the face, I am not going to retaliate, go ahead and do what you want to with me,'" Palin said.

Obama said Friday: "I would say to them is that if the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff are comfortable with it, I'm probably going to take my advice from them and not from Sarah Palin."

The treaty requires approval from two-thirds of the Senate to go into effect. Some of the chamber's Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, have indicated that they are not ready to support the deal.

"The Senate will assess whether or not the agreement is verifiable, whether it reduces our nation's ability to defend itself and our allies from the threat of nuclear armed missiles, and whether or not this administration is committed to preserving our own nuclear triad," McConnell said in a statement.


Filed under: Popular Posts • President Obama • Sarah Palin
soundoff (303 Responses)
  1. Robert Dayton

    Now I know who had the balls, and it is not Obama. He is a socialist wimp and the world now knows it for sure. With all of her so called faults, she certainly would not be bowing (remember that Obama bow)) to the Russians or the world.

    April 9, 2010 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  2. wkelly

    START I was a bilateral treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms. The treaty was signed on 31 July 1991 and entered into force on 5 December 1994. The treaty was signed by the United States and the USSR, that barred its signatories from deploying more than 6,000 nuclear warheads atop a total of 1,600 ICBMs, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and bombers. START I negotiated the largest and most complex arms control treaty in history, and its final implementation in late 2001 resulted in the removal of about 80 percent of all strategic nuclear weapons then in existence.

    Proposed by United States President Ronald Reagan,

    it was renamed START I after negotiations began on the second START treaty, which became START II.

    April 9, 2010 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  3. DJ in TX

    It is about time. And can someone please tell Mrs. Palin that President Reagan IS the one who started the arms reduction with Russia?

    Oh, I forgot, she can see Russia from her house, so she knows all about foreign policy.........................

    No one on this earth including the crazies wants a nuclear war. Who would win in such a war? Think about it. Even if a rogue state would use a nuclear weapon, do they think they would last long? They would have about 15 minutes of rejoicing before they would no longer exist on this earth. I don't think even they would risk that. I could be wrong, but I just don't think no one wants a nuclear war. No one wins.

    April 9, 2010 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  4. NittanyNation

    Palin's right on this one. You never take options off the table!

    April 9, 2010 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  5. Fairfax Patriot

    The RNC and TeaParty strategic nuclear policy:

    "It's kinda like getting out in the playground, a bunch of kids ready to fight, and one of the kids saying 'go ahead, punch me in the face, I am not going to retaliate, go ahead and do what you want to with me,'" Palin said.

    No doubt she also thinks that U.S. international humanitarian aid policy should be "like sending a hockey mom in to kiss the boo-boos."

    April 9, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  6. Miguel in NY

    Once again, Sarah Palin shows what an idiot she is. The U.S. and Russia have over 90% of the world's nuclear stockpile. I applaud Obama and Medvedev for agreeing to reduce the stockpile by a third. The Senate should unanimously approve this. What does Sarah Palin want, more nuclear weapons in the world? Doesn't she care about the type of world her children and grandchildren will live in? This arms reduction shows other nations that we are not out to bomb them. I believe it will improve our relations with other nations and make the world safer. If Sarah Palin had her way, there would be mushroom clouds on the horizon. Go away, Sarah...now!

    April 9, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  7. Jerry

    Wonder if she ever heard of Reagan?

    April 9, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  8. SD

    Why does CNN not transcribe all of the quotes from the most revered President from the right in recent memory – Ronald Reagan – to show how Palin is either utterly hypocritical or incredibly ignorant (or both) in regards to this issue? It was Reagan's key message in terms of foreign relations – to rid the planet of nuclear weapons – and he hoped to reduce armaments by one-third, which is exactly what's being done here.

    Obama carries out the dreams and hopes of Reagan, and the right tries to demonize the deal – that'll come back to haunt them if the Senate actually tries to block this.

    Does even the issue of nuclear weapons need to be reduced to petty politics? Do those on the right really need to play on and hope for the ignorance of American voters to score more short-term points? That's why this voter is now firmly in the center and no longer interested in supporting what was once a reasonable, civil and intellectual Republican party that's clearly lost its way and been hijacked by morons.

    April 9, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  9. msn

    Perhaps Palin et al should check out some of St. Ronald's actions during the 1980s...I seem to recall some cuts agreed with the Soviets during that time. I also believe it was somewhere in the neighborhood of a third of the weapons...

    What's the saying about having your own opinion but you can't have your own facts?

    April 9, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  10. Four and The Door

    Obama's ego and sense of elitism will be his legacy.

    April 9, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  11. JRR

    Hello?
    Ronald Reagan was famous for the original START talks and himself proposed that the US and Russia reduce nuclear arms by 1/3... just as Obama is doing.
    Let's hope that the media takes time to compare the Reagan Administration's efforts and policies to the current president so that it can be revealed that we really are all working toward the same thing.

    April 9, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  12. D. Tree

    Palin has no clue what she's talking about, Obama's nukes deal is in the tradition of Reagan and Kennedy. Besides, what's so wrong with the non-vilent way? Palin gets all fired up because she wants to fight, but Martin Luther King and Gandhi proved that civil disobedience is more powerful than the threat of violence.

    April 9, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  13. Bill W.

    The first START Treaty (before it was called such) was proposed by President Reagan. Both START I and START II were signed by the first President Bush. President Bush (2nd) signed a similar type of treaty with Russia in 2002, the SORT Treaty.

    But when Obama signs a new START Treaty with Russia, it's a sign of weakness? This is exactly the type of ignorance and hypocrisy that makes Sarah Palin a joke. All 4 presidents did a great thing with the respective treaties and work towards nuclear reduction.

    That said, Russia has about 1.5x the nuclear weapons that we do, and they've built and tested the largest nuclear weapon ever (the Tsar Bomba), so even with 500 nukes, both countries would still wipe each other out. Aren't we past deterrence theory yet?

    April 9, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  14. Chad

    And to think, Palin could have been Vice-President if McCain had won. Does her ignorance have any boundaries? When will the Republicans start grasping reality?

    April 9, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  15. Bryan Ogle

    The question I have for Mrs. Palin is. Didn't Jesus teach us to turn the other cheek? She would suggest that when a bully punches you in the face it’s ok to pull out a bazooka. Every Nuke taken out of service makes the world that much a safer place, how is that a bad thing in anyone’s book? Really what would Jesus do?

    April 9, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  16. mike

    Apparently she is not smart enough to shut up when she doesn't know what she is talking about. This is exactly the way the country needs to go.

    April 9, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  17. Karl Petrick

    Dear Mrs. Palin:

    These kinds of treaties have been common between the USA and the USSR (i.e. Russia) since the early 1960s. Significant arms reduction treaties were proposed/signed by Republican presidents such as Nixon, Ford, and (gasp) Reagan.

    Need to do your homework before opening your mouth: you betcha.

    April 9, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  18. Matt

    She really is clueless. No one would ever try to limit or lessen the amounts of weapons? Umm Salt I Salt II Start I, etc.....is she REALLY that clueless. WOW

    April 9, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  19. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    President Obama is correct, Palin is no expert in nuclear arms. The U.S. has thousands of nuclear war heads, we do not need thousand to destroy the world, one will do it!

    Palin has to say something about everything, makes her look silly to comment on issues she knows nothing about.

    As President Obama said, "I would say to them is that if the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are comfortable with it, I am probably going to take my advice from them and not from Sarah Palin."

    Sadly, the Conservatives are ignorant about nuclear disarmament. They do not understand that a couple of nuclear bombs would do severe damage to our world.

    April 9, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  20. Harry in Texas

    I'm sure the right-wing psyco-nuts will hang on her every word. They will even vote for her if she runs for president.

    April 9, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  21. Chris Paddock

    The woman is as dumb as a box of rocks.

    April 9, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  22. voice of reason

    Sarah Palin said, "No administration in America's history I think would ever have considered such a step." She seems to have forgotten the position of one of the greatest Republican Presidents, Ronald Reagan.

    In his second Inaugural Address, President Reagan said, "There is only one way safely and legitimately to reduce the cost of national security, and that is to reduce the need for it. And this we are trying to do in negotiations with the Soviet Union. We are not just discussing limits on a further increase of nuclear weapons. We seek, instead, to reduce their number. We seek the total elimination one day of nuclear weapons from the face of the Earth."

    This seems to be another example of the current Republican strategy: If Obama is for _______, then we must immediately oppose it.

    April 9, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  23. teacheng

    This is getting ridiculous. Everyone, including (non-crazy) Republicans, thinks this is a good idea. But they can't say it because it makes Obama look good. It has the support of all the military. Reagan did the same thing. But oh no! If Obama proposed a law cutting taxes (oh wait, he did cut taxes for 95% of Americans) the Republicans would suddenly be for increasing them.

    April 9, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  24. Jay

    I really think that the Obama administration's decision to make this shift in our nuclear deterrent is ill advised. First it DOES telegraph to our enemies that we're not going to use nuclear weapons, even in self defense, if you don't have them. That opens the door to state sponsored terror attacks via a nuclear route. Syria buys a nuclear weapon for Al Qaeda who then sets it off in Chicago. Do we retaliate by vaporizing Damascus? Old policy – yes we would – which might give the Syrians a moment of pause. New policy – no we can't – the deterrent is now gone. Second – it DOES send a signal of weakness to our allies. Our allies like Japan, Taiwan, most of Europe (whether they like it or not) could depend on the US to defend them or assist in their defense using ALL of the tools in our arsenal. Not any more. So I fear that this sends a message to our friends that our defense committments to them are no longer firm.
    I hope that the Senate can at least correct some of these strategic issues so that our security and that of our allies are enhanced.

    April 9, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  25. Richard

    Sarah Palin's utter ignorance across these issues has been well establsihed however the fact that sheis trying to interject her wisted comments is plain dangerous! Has it occured to her that the actual threat comes not from Russia's government but from their aging stockpile that is guarded by rather lacking security – Russia simply doesnt have the resources to guard their nukes the same way we do. Therefore rather than the US subsidizing security over there – getting Russia to reduce the size of their nuclear program is the smartest idea out there AND eventually will SAVE us some cash. No "punches" at the playground Ms Palin...

    I am just sick and tired of reading about how many americans are falling for Ms. Palin"s rethoric. While she pretends to be part of the crowd – the day she gets elected into "any" office, she will be the Sarah Palin everyone in Alaska has gotten to know her as – completely clueless, powerhungry, and arrogant. Worst she will run this country into the basement in record time – and guess what ultimately she will blame the people that voted for her.

    April 9, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
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