TRENDING: Pawlenty: Obama administration 'naive' on Syria
March 28th, 2011
09:24 PM ET
12 years ago

TRENDING: Pawlenty: Obama administration 'naive' on Syria

Washington (CNN) - Likely Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty accused the Obama administration of "naivety" on Syria, as he called for the United States to recall its ambassador and toughen sanctions on the country.

Pawlenty's comments came in a radio interview on the Hugh Hewitt Show Monday evening, shortly before President Obama addressed the nation on the military operation in Libya.

"Our interests in Syria are at least as strong, if not stronger, than in Libya", Pawlenty said when asked what the United States should do after violent crackdowns on demonstrators in Syria. “Here you have a country (that has) enabled and accommodated people to go into Iraq and kill American soldiers. They house Hamas and allow them to exist in Syria as they continue to be a terrorist organization in Israel and elsewhere. And the list goes on and on about the problems that the Syria, and specifically Bashir Assad, has caused the region and the world and also the United States of America."

Pawlenty told Hewitt the U.S. needs a tougher stance on the Syria protests, first calling for President Obama "to speak strongly and clearly to the people of Syria that we hope and believe and support their drive towards freedom and getting rid of Bashir Assad.”

The former Minnesota governor, who last week launched an exploratory committee for a White House run, said the administration needs to recall Ambassador Robert Ford from Damascus. President Obama named Ford as Ambassador in 2009, four years after the U.S. withdrew its envoy in protest at the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

“President Obama made the mistake of sending an ambassador to Syria, legitimizing that country and his regime in ways that I don't think are appropriate. Recall the ambassador,” Pawlenty said.

In the interview, he also called for the United States to start invoking further sanctions on Damascus, “both economically and otherwise."

Palwenty called any belief that Syria and Assad could be peace agents in the region "a complete crock." He said it "shows the naivety of the Obama administration. And to have the secretary of state on a Sunday morning talk show implying that he's a reformer; to have his administration essentially embracing in any manner or degree Bashir Assad and Syria as a peace agent - or an agent for reform and stability in the region - is either ignorant or frighteningly misguided."

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was asked on CBS' “Face the Nation” how the situation in Libya was worse than repression over the years in Syria, including by Assad's father. Clinton said, "There is a different leader in Syria now. Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he's a reformer. What's been happening there the last few weeks is deeply concerning."

Filed under: 2012 • Tim Pawlenty
soundoff (170 Responses)
  1. juliei4

    Pawlenty should know – he kept Iowa from attacking Minnesota as governor.

    March 29, 2011 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  2. Dave B.

    Naive: The belief that an oil based economy, and spending insane amounts of money to protect our interests in foreign oil supplies, can provide the United States with a viable national security tool. Naive: Watching the United State's infrastructure, based on gasoline-powered vehicles, crumble to the ground as our economy grinds to a halt. Naive: Failure to develop safe, renewable, and clean energy sources ensuring energy independence and true national security. Naive: The belief that counries that lead the way in renewable energy and national security will not defeat us in a war.

    March 29, 2011 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  3. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    Besides being an "ex Governor", what has Tim Pawlenty ever done to be such an expert on Middle East politics?

    March 29, 2011 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  4. Seattle Sue

    What is naive is to believe bridges don't need to be inspected and repairs made resulting in a lot of deaths. Thanks Mr. Pawlenty!

    March 29, 2011 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  5. Rob

    Child please thank God we have a President who think then speak

    March 29, 2011 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  6. Realistic

    Pawlenty better start going off the rail if he intends to stay in the media-whacko right-wing propoaganda machine. He needs to say something as crazy as Newt to stay in the news cylce. Newt said he is a fraid that america will become a secular-atheist- islamic controlled nation or something to that effect. First, you can't be secular atheist islmaic nation if you are secular. Second, if youn are atheist, you don't believe in religion thus impossible to be islamic controlled nation because Islam is a religion. So Pawlenty you are naive if you believe that you can stay in the radical propaganda news cycle on fox without going off the rail and if you do, you are done.

    March 29, 2011 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  7. Calamerica

    Pawlenty: Obama administration 'naive' on Syria and Pawlenty is naive to think we as the people will vote for him for POTUS.

    March 29, 2011 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  8. Dave

    Wow, Pawlenty, being a failed MN governor sure has given you a lot of street cred to talk about foreign policy. Next we will be hearing you can see Syria from your front doorstep. I guess everyone is entitled to their opinion. Here is mine.

    This is not foreign policy. This is MN state policy. Where were you on YOUR watch when state inspectors were supposed to be looking at the bridge that collapsed and killed multiple people? Oh, I forgot. You were preparing to run for president and forming exploratory committees. Maybe you should have been taking care of the business you were elected for and not wasting MN taxpayers dollars (your salary).

    March 29, 2011 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  9. Biggge

    Can we work on ths one first......

    March 29, 2011 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  10. Bob

    Another former GOP governor with even less foreign policy experience than Sarah Palin suddenly feels qualified to advise the President on the intricacies of U.S. policy toward Syria. Can Timmy even see Canada from his house?

    March 29, 2011 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  11. beevee

    This guy calling the president a 'novice'? Wait a minute. What are his own credentials that make him an expert on international matters. Ex-governorship? In my opinion that does not make him an expert in anything. Get elected first then talk, otherwise shut up.

    March 29, 2011 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  12. John in Brooklyn

    Apparently Pawlenty, Fox news, and the Republican Party want the US to provoke a Middle East war. The limited involvement that the US has had so far in the citizen uprisings in the Middle East have been measured and diplomatically appropriate. The notion that the US should initiate regime change wherever and whenever it pleases (as Fox and the Republicans advocated in the days leading to the Iraq war) is both reckless use Mr. Pawlenty's word...incredibly NAIVE!

    March 29, 2011 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  13. V in Chicago

    I hate it when these people who don't have all the intelligence information the President has, slams him for doing, or not doing (depending on which position gets them more headlines), something related to foreign affairs. Until they are privy to the same intelligence briefings the President is, they need to shut up. They need to realize he has some much more information than they do on the subject. And, before any one starts, I don't believe the American People SHOULD have all the information on what the US is planning. If it is broadcast to the media for the American Citizens, then those that would cause us harm would also have the information.

    March 29, 2011 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  14. Jeff

    Umm...yea, because if there's anybody who understands the complexity of international relations it's a one term governor from Minnesota with no national office experience.

    March 29, 2011 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  15. greg in jax

    who would have guessed that a former governor has so much knowledge on Syria. lol.

    March 29, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  16. Josaphat,Daniels.

    paw paws has now taken the number one position of the drama queen knocking off palen to number two and bachwooman
    at number three

    March 29, 2011 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  17. GOP-Tea Party IDIOTs

    yeah, Now we are on to Syria...........and the GOP-Tea Party IDIOTs will back off again when President Obama take action!!!!

    Little Miss Timmy is the naive IDIOT that has flip-flopped on Libya just like his tin-foil Republican mouthing-off thugs who were in support of military strike against Moammer Gadhaffi before they were against it!!

    It's better NOT to listen to these IDIOTs the GOP is parading out as presidential candidates!!!

    Honestly, I will NEVER vote for any of these GOP IDIOTs, but they can at least do better for our GREAT country USA by presenting credible candidates who have better ideas instead of just spewing talking-points gibberish they have NO clue about!!!!

    President Obama 2012!!!!

    March 29, 2011 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  18. GOP = Greed Over People

    Someone is "naive" but it is this simpleton, NOT President Obama.

    March 29, 2011 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  19. Russ

    Oh and the ex governor of a state, knows more than the President and his highly trained staff about foreign affairs. Timmy boy, your brain must have ice crystals in it from spending to much time in the cold up there.

    March 29, 2011 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  20. bo-D

    Everything is obama fault I know I can't believe these are the people that we depend on

    March 29, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
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