Bolton: Obama administration 'plain wrong' on Egypt
February 12th, 2011
03:10 PM ET
11 years ago

Bolton: Obama administration 'plain wrong' on Egypt

Washington (CNN) - Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton condemned President Obama as "weak" and "indecisive" on foreign affairs while speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference Saturday.

And specifically on the topic of the revolution in Egypt, Bolton stated "We don't have the leadership in the White House that can deal with it."

CPAC is the largest annual gathering of conservative-minded activists, which this year is extra-important because it's the first cattle-call of potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates.

Bolton described the Obama administration's approach to Egypt as "hesitant, inconsistent, confused, and just plain wrong."

Bolton recognized the Egyptian call for democracy, but questioned the administration's answer. "We have some degree of optimism, we can recognize that many of the people are legitimately calling for liberty and democracy as we see it," he said.

"But we know it is a responsibility of our government to protect our government and our friends and our allies," he continued, "Never forget Theodore Roosevelt's response: first and foremost we must make the world safe for ourselves."

Recommending a "careful and prudent approach," Bolton cautioned that "A democratic election can produce illiberal results. If you want to see what a Muslim Brotherhood looks like when it takes control, look at Hamas in the Gaza strip, it's not pretty."

"There is no guarantee that democratic forces can keep things moving in the right direction," he warned.

Finding fault with Obama's treatment of national security, Bolton said, "This is a critical time where we need a president who understands priorities, not somebody who's concerned with staying on top of media spin cycle."

And at a time when budget recommendations are a hot topic for discussion, Bolton offered some of his own.

"This is not the time for indiscriminate budget cuts in our national defense budget. A dollar well spent on defense is much more important than a dollar spent in the Agriculture department, the Interior department."

He closed with a rallying call to the audience, affirming, "We do not accept an American economy that is weak overtaxed and over-regulated. We do not accept an American military that is weak and poorly equipped. And in particular we do not accept an American president who is weak, indecisive, and apologetic."

Filed under: CPAC 2011 • John Bolton
soundoff (164 Responses)
  1. andrew

    funny that he accuses obama of staying on the media cycle, while preaching the same tired GOP lines and the typical 'no' this and 'no' that without a single idea of his own.

    February 12, 2011 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  2. Bob

    This is a Republican. Since when do they believe in democracy? All they belive in is greed, power and hatred.

    February 12, 2011 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  3. Mike

    Has John Bolton ever been correct on anything?

    February 12, 2011 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  4. These people are pathetic

    If not sticking your nose in the business of other countries considered weak. then I suggest Obama stay weak and be proud of it. That was business that needed to be done by and ONLY by THE EGYPTIAN PEOPLE!!! Get use to that!!!

    February 12, 2011 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  5. John

    The only one wrong is you sir.

    February 12, 2011 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  6. SC

    As Reagan used to say, "There you go again" John. Your services are no longer needed.

    February 12, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  7. Indy

    Someone ought to fax Bolton and let him Know that Egypt has found freedom, it's over with, it's done, no need to put Obama down anymore THINK JOBS !! It means didley squat now that Egypt has found what they want withould going there to bomb them, its yesterdays news, think about someting for the US, think of something that could help the US people, Egypt is over.

    February 12, 2011 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  8. Pat

    Man, Coming from Canada and listening to this Mutt Bolton dumping on your president, and calling the situation in Egypt a crisis is just plain desperate,...trying to put a negative spin on something that is overall a pretty incredibal and positive situation,...and Obama handled it perfectly as far as the rest of the world is concerned. ......Your Conservatives down there are truly nuts......Cheers

    February 12, 2011 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  9. Gaylon Barrow

    You will never have it with Obama. Even his followers are as dumb as he is. Being a Democrat does not give you free gratis on being smart. I was one for 50 years so I ought to know. Not since Harry Truman has the Democrats had a President worth a crap and he shouldn't have dropped the bomb. You followers make all the slur remarks you can because your only driving people away from the Democrats. Like me I could not take anymore of the jackal stuff.

    February 12, 2011 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  10. Lee

    Gee, cut a guy off from his paid nooky and he gets real testy.
    He is relevant here how?

    February 12, 2011 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  11. maf

    So far, the CPAC has produced more divisive, threatening, close to treasonous treatment of the current administration and specifically President Obama! The GOP is looking to cut more jobs with their commitment to cut spending. How embarrassing it must be to be Republican these days!!!

    February 12, 2011 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  12. taildragon

    Impossible to follow his thinking. Does he want democracy to spread? Or only if it benefits us? Is he upset that Obama proceeded with caution? That the president (like everyone else) was caught somewhat off-guard by the whirlwind of the last 18 days? Pick a side, Mr. Bolton, or go home.

    February 12, 2011 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  13. jorge washinsen

    Finally Obama did something right. He chose to keep our nose out of Egypt's business as we should all around the world.

    February 12, 2011 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  14. Chris (DC)

    Oops, Bolton and the rest of his "Mission Accomplished" wing nuts were wrong about Egypt so they want to bash Obama. I am not a defender of Pres. Obama, but he did perfectly in regards to Egypt. That was THEIR revolution and the US should not have messed with it, either to defend the gov't or push them. Every time the US (and the likes of Bolton) start messing with other countries they end up hating us even more. Just like we would resent foreign leaders messing internally, they do as well. Now that they are moving into the next stage, the US should support their efforts but let them choose. Thankfully we have a real leader in the US and not someone like Bush.

    February 12, 2011 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Instead of calling this CPAC it should be RPAC – Regressive Political Action Conference ! Nothing but tired , old, failed GOP ideology . America got fooled last November ! Amazing !

    February 12, 2011 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  16. Dean

    Mr. Bolton is correct.

    February 12, 2011 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  17. guy from NM

    Yep like Bush was right about Iraq. Drivel, just drivel.

    February 12, 2011 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  18. Randy, San Francisco

    The Obama administration must be doing something correct. Conservative critics argued both sides of the issue of whether to support Mubarak or the protestors. Not possesing a crystal ball nor prescient capabilities, Obama exercised good judgment and patience. As for defense spending, Bolton is out of step with Tea Party members in his own party.

    February 12, 2011 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  19. A keen observer

    These sanctimoneous republican know-it-alls need to shut up about the President and work on creating jobs like they promised. Bolton is a stupid fool who was unqualified when Bush appointed him ambassador and hasn't learned anything since.

    I'm not sure why CNN is paying so much attention to the republican circle jerk. It is all criticism and no ideas.

    February 12, 2011 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  20. Kevin

    So there you have it: Democracy in the Middle East is only a good thing if the US gets to decide who they can vote for.

    February 12, 2011 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  21. bobden

    Why do we care what Bolton says? He is a FORMER US ambassador for good reason. He was INCOMPETENT.

    February 12, 2011 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  22. jbaade

    I can't believe Bolton is saying the job of the U.S. President is to advocate against democracy in another country, and to suggest that we support the appointment of an Egyptian for the good of the United States above and beyond the good of the people said leader would represent. To quote Theodore Roosevelt in such a context is to suggest that the world today is as it was in Roosevelt's day. We live in a smaller and more connected world now. This coming from a man who supported the invasion of Iraq, the greatest mistake in modern American history.

    February 12, 2011 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  23. TripleA

    So, why mince words Bolton? Just come out and say that the Republican stance on Egypt is no free elections. In fact, America stands for the Democratic process in other nations, as long as America gets to decide who the winners of that process are. In other words, when we say we’re for human rights, we’re being hypocrites. At least have the courage to come out and say what you mean.

    February 12, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  24. fayse

    The GOP has nothing, no platform and no electible candidates. That is the reason for the personal attacks, The Tea Party/GOP must rely on lies and twisted logic.

    February 12, 2011 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  25. Quintus

    So, the only conclusion I can come to is that Palin, Santorum, and now Bolton...who have criticized Obama's handling of Egypt...must have supported keeping Mubarak in power. How would they propose doing that?

    February 12, 2011 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
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