Harkin endorses Obama's new path on Syria
September 15th, 2013
08:37 PM ET
10 years ago

Harkin endorses Obama's new path on Syria

(CNN) - Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, appears to be pleased with the latest developments in the effort to rid Syria of its chemical weapons

The senator, who was outspoken about his strong hesitation to give President Barack Obama congressional authorization for unilateral strikes, credited the president with the latest turn toward diplomacy.

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"This happened because of the strength, the wisdom, the courage of President Obama," he said at his 36th annual steak fry in Indianola, Iowa, where Vice President Joe Biden was his guest.

Harkin also praised the vice president and Secretary of State John Kerry for helping the United States reach an agreement with Russia that would help Syria hand over its chemical weapons to international control.

"We reached this agreement with the international community to secure them, to dismantle them by 2014, and we didn't lose one American life," he said, endorsing the path that led up to the agreement, even if it included a threat of force.

"That's leadership, folks. That's leadership."

Obama, however, has maintained that the U.S. is prepared to act if diplomacy fails.

Biden noted Harkin's tendency to speak out and subtly nodded to his position on Syria - an issue that sparked internal debates within both political parties.

"Tom has never been afraid to speak out, from the war in Vietnam, to the death squads in Central America, to the outrages of everything from genital mutilation of young women in Africa, to what's going on in Syria," he said.

But like Harkin, Biden praised the recent agreement between the United States and Russia and sought to put to rest criticism that argues the president has been indecisive on Syria.

"The president's vision is absolutely clear, he's absolutely straightforward," Biden said. "He in fact is the reason why the world community is facing up finally to this hideous prospect of (this) largest stockpile in the world of chemical weapons being confiscated and destroyed."

- CNN's Steve Brusk contributed to this report.

Filed under: Joe Biden • Syria • Tom Harkin
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. johnnie sweariingen

    i believe confiscating these was one good decision and keep these fellas in our sights for awhile if they wanted to play hardball they had time now they have a choice they didnt give the innocent

    September 15, 2013 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  2. Zerubbabel

    I hear all the GOTPers heads exploding.

    September 15, 2013 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  3. S. B. Stein

    The Russians need to be shown that we need a great deal of assurances that Assad won't have a way to use the WMD and needs to be shown the need to resolve the situation politically rather than have his military forces crush the civilians.

    September 15, 2013 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  4. Michael Benjamin

    This is working out better than anyone planned other than Assad is getting away with genocide.

    September 15, 2013 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  5. stars

    God thank you for giving us president Obama.

    September 16, 2013 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  6. Donna

    Why didn't Obama try this before he tried to get approval for military action? The fact is because this policy was a result of a joke Kerry made in response to a question from a reporter. Obama had painted himself into a corner with his red line threat and a Congress that was not going to approve an attack on Syria. Putin saved Syria and Obama with this approach. Obama's foreign policy can best be termed fumbling, mumbling and stumbling.

    September 16, 2013 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  7. Dan5404

    Senator Harkin is right. GOP opponents that wanted a clear, simple path to ending the chemical weapons issue were living in a dream world. Their simple answers were to either bomb them into regime change or simply isolate ourselves from the rest of the world, and let innocent civilians be subject to horrible deaths . in violation of international law. Just because Russia blocks UN action doesn't mean we give up our honorable tradition of respecting human life ad protecting the innocent. Simplistic, naïve reactions to a very complex situation.

    September 16, 2013 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  8. boungiorno

    i dont need to eat a steak to decide if my country is at risk of a chemical poison being aimed im my direction CLEARLY PEOPLE DIED

    September 16, 2013 02:54 am at 2:54 am |

    Harkin hit the nail on the head. The American people know that President Obama listens to them, not the unhinged Guns Over People tea potty terrorist rants

    September 16, 2013 06:00 am at 6:00 am |
  10. Gurgyl

    This president has brain, knowledge, nonetheless bickering idiots of GOP stand barking, bow,bow, bow.....

    September 16, 2013 07:50 am at 7:50 am |