March 6th, 2014
09:25 PM ET
6 years ago

Sen. Lindsey Graham compliments Obama on action over Ukraine

(CNN) - A fierce congressional critic of the Obama administration's foreign policy gave the President credit Thursday for recent actions he's taken in the ongoing situation in Ukraine.

Sen. Lindsey Graham said on CNN's "Crossfire" that Obama had done “a very good job” in the last 24 hours. The South Carolina Republican added “I appreciate what he did today. Thank God he’s upping his game.”

The administration is pursuing a diplomatic strategy along with European allies to remedy the crisis, and has threatened economic and other sanctions if the matter cannot be resolved, as well as expanded visa bans. President Obama has called Russian President Vladimir Putin's incursion into Ukraine a violation of international law, and says the Ukrainian people should determine their own destiny.

Graham’s compliment Thursday stands in contrast to comments he made over the weekend.

On CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday, Graham called the President "weak and indecisive" on matters of foreign policy. Graham said Obama should "do something" as the crisis in Ukraine escalated and Western powers scrambled to respond to the situation. He also has recently tied the 2012 attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which resulted in four Americans dead, to Russia’s intrusion into Ukraine, blaming Obama’s foreign policy for failing to follow through on threat consequences.

Despite Obama’s recent action, prominent Republicans continued their attacks on Obama’s handling of a U.S. response to Russia sending military forces into the Crimean Peninsula - an autonomous region of eastern Ukraine with strong loyalty to neighboring Russia. Speaking about Ukraine at an annual conference for conservatives Thursday, many likely 2016 presidential candidates - including Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz - characterized Obama as weak and unconvincing on an international stage.

Graham, a two-term senator who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, is facing a tough primary challenge back home. He has been highly critical of Obama’s foreign policy in recent years, and despite paying Obama a compliment, he continued to decry the administration’s international efforts on the whole.

“My problem is the way the President engages not just Putin, but the world. I think the big problem with President Obama, I don’t think he has a vision of foreign policy,” Graham said.

Filed under: Crossfire • Lindsey Graham • Russia • Ukraine • Vladimir Putin
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. ThinkAgain - If you want Congress to actually do something FOR the American people, vote OUT the repub/tea bag majority

    Thank God President Obama is a better man than all of his yahoo gop/tea bag critics. Our President put in motion immediately pressure on Russia, with support from the international community – and continues to do everything he can to deescalate the situation.

    Only the repub/tea bags seem to want war – led by that old windbag, McGrumpy. And they can get away with their inflammatory, downright stupid rhetoric because their voting base are a bunch of nimrods who couldn't even find Russia on a map, let alone the Ukraine or the Crimean Peninsula.

    God help us if another repub gets in the Oval Office ... get out on November 4, 2014 and vote Democratic, folks. It's the only way to put an end to this gop/tea bag madness.

    March 6, 2014 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  2. Winston Smith

    I wish this clown would make up his mind. One day he's frothing at the mouth about any and all things said, or done from the executive branch. Then he comes out and acts like all is like a walk in the spring with the scent of giant blooming flowers wafting through the air. The more any of these people talk, the more you'll realize that they are functioning by the seat of their pants. And this is happening on a daily basis. There's no continuity whatsoever.

    March 6, 2014 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |

    Thats as Scary as a long tail cat in a room full of rocking chairs .! Boo!

    March 6, 2014 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  4. rs

    Senator Graham is an absolute and unadulterated idiot! The President is doing precisely the same thing today that he did yesterday and the day before: studied diplomacy. Today, at least for Mr. Graham, all is suddenly good. Graham is too busy playing in his delusions to grasp what is happening apparently- like grasping that Russia has done what it has done and there is not much that anyone can do about it until Russia decides to do otherwise.

    March 6, 2014 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  5. tom l

    @Jeff Brown in Jersey

    The GOP controlled Congress is simply demonstrating why they should not be in power. Every stunt like this makes us hate them even more. Please vote these traitors out in November!

    Finally, an honest comment. Dems hate repubs. Repubs hate dems. Crips vs. Bloods. Jets vs. Sharks. Our government can say "Mission Accomplished"

    March 6, 2014 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  6. wendel

    well the right will nail him for this. Repos eat their own

    March 6, 2014 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  7. davefrompalmsprings

    Something tells me that Sen. Graham had a little talking to by somebody. The worst thing that can happen to the US is that it can be seen as being unable to have a united response in handling world crises. This is where our perceived "weakness" in the eyes of the world comes from.
    After the tragedy in Benghazi, rifts in the national response appeared almost immediately. One would have thought that our President and our Secretary of State reveled in delight at the death of Ambassador Stevens. The perceived thought that the attack at Benghazi resulted in Putin's actions in Ukraine, in Graham's opinion, makes about as much sense that the bombing at the marine's barracks and upon the US embassy in Beirut during the Reagan Administration resulted in the vicious decisions that led to Assad's genocide in Syria.
    Where was the outrage against Reagan during Lebanon, against Clinton during Tanzania and Kenya and against George W, during 9/11. Nowhere! Nor should there have been any, except for wildly divisive conspiracy theories. To think that ANY US President would rather stage a COVERUP than to investigate what we need to do in order to prevent such actions in the future demeans the office of the Presidency.
    It is time for Americans to support our President, in a united front, whenever we are faced with crises. After all, if we cannot trust the person we elected to be OUR President, then how can we trust the very Country we live in, itself?

    March 6, 2014 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  8. Smitty

    Not an Obama fan, but credit when credit is do. Fighter planes couple of ships and sanctions are a step in the right direction. Not going to help (my opinion) in the least. But it beats his last few moves he made.

    March 7, 2014 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  9. jillib

    Graham is an embarrassment to this nation. Sadly, he didn't have the good sense to keep his mouth shut since he was completely unaware of what the President had going on. He's a disgrace – trying to score cheap political points at the expense of the nation.

    March 7, 2014 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  10. J.V.Hodgson

    Gosh he must be feeling unwell Obama has actually done something right, awe shucks he must be just pretending!! When he gets well he'll revert to his normal lunacy. along with his pal Mc Vain. Oops Freudian slip McCain.

    March 7, 2014 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  11. Michael MN

    I thought it was because of Benghazi that russia did this ? Or was it that Putin never saw his Birth Certificate ?

    March 7, 2014 06:04 am at 6:04 am |
  12. Marie MD

    What? These teaklans it's like living in a bizarre world.
    Now that ms Lindsey see that Americans don't want war and would rather try to talk he changes his mind.
    Typical repug tactics.

    March 7, 2014 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  13. Gurgyl

    Pathetic idiots are Americans that are electing these senile so for GENERATIONS–so only I am demanding for "Term-Limits". These guys do not know as to what they are saying nor what they are doing in congress/senate. Very pathetic. Remove all congress idiots. For USA sake. God bless!!!!!!

    March 7, 2014 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  14. TONE

    Somebody is eating crow.

    March 7, 2014 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  15. Tampa Tim

    Graham is an idiot. He has done a lot of damage to our country with his war mentality. While he runs to Fox to condemn the president for working with allies and dealing directly with Putin, Russian markets are dropping, Russia's credit rating is dropping, Europe is rethinking buying Russian fuel. Putin really screwed up, but Lindsay is too stupid to wait 2 days before opening that big mouth of his.

    March 7, 2014 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  16. Tampa Tim

    To all you war mongers who run to Fox to condemn the president, Rasmussen has Obama's presidential approval at 46, which is twice the approval of Fox, and 4 times the approval of congress.

    March 7, 2014 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  17. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- CPAC(Crazy Pitchfork Apocolyptic Covenant)

    What the President did was not because of the criticism you neocons have been pitching. Sen. Graham is worried about his primary that he has to go along with the looney criticisms rather than support the Commander-In-Chief.

    March 7, 2014 07:56 am at 7:56 am |