July 27th, 2014
12:14 PM ET
6 years ago

Amid world crises, Pelosi praises Obama's 'strong leadership,' while Graham blasts his 'passive responses'

Washington (CNN) – Amid the push for peace in the Middle East and the push for reduced tensions between Russia and the Ukraine, how much has President Barack Obama's leadership helped mitigate those dire situations?

Two top members of Congress offered starkly different characterizations on Sunday.  While one praised the President's "strong" leadership, the other accused Obama of being "AWOL," serving up "passive responses to naked aggression all over the world."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, and South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a member of the Armed Services Committee, offered their thoughts to CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley during interviews on CNN's "State of the Union."

Is it bad optics, Pelosi was asked, for the president to attend fundraisers as parts of the world seemingly blow up around him?

"The president's leadership has been very strong," Pelosi said, not directly addressing the fundraising.

Pelosi continued, addressing tensions between Israeli forces and Hamas.  On Sunday, Hamas said it agreed to a 24-hour cease-fire, mediated by the United Nations.  Yet Israel resumed its attacks on Gaza on Sunday because of what it called "incessant rocket fire" from Gaza.

On the Mideast tensions, Pelosi continued by mentioning Israel's defense system – known as Iron Dome - that detects, analyzes, targets and frequently destroys incoming rockets from Gaza using interceptor missiles.

"The issues that you're dealing with this morning, the President was in the lead on supporting Iron Dome and asking for more resources now to help Israel defend itself, which it has a right to do.  In the lead for asking for humanitarian assistance for the Palestinian people, something like $47 million to go through the U.N. to help those.  Calling upon others to help negotiate not only a cease-fire but a peace there," Pelosi said.  "The President and Secretary Kerry's presence there is a manifestation of the President's commitment because it's a sustained high-level commitment of the secretary of state representing the administration."

Graham could not disagree more.

In a separate interview with Crowley, the South Carolina Republican also discussed Obama's leadership amid crisis.

"America is the glue that holds the free world together.  And when you see us missing, or AWOL, as President Obama has been, you see fracturing on multiple fronts," the senator said.

Graham continued: "Russia is more aggressive, not less.  The sanctions clearly are not working.  Hamas is demanding open borders. …These are stark contrasts and we're not responding. Passive responses to naked aggression all over the world is our foreign policy."

Regarding tensions in the Ukraine, the lawmakers also disagreed.

Pelosi noted that "the President early on called for sanctions" and ultimately sought "even stronger ones."

"Nobody's missing in action in all of this," she said regarding the criticism lodged against Obama.

Ascribing some of Putin's actions to "insecurity," Pelosi said, "So as far as Putin is concerned, he's a KGB guy who happens to be the president of Russia. And he's going to do what he's going to do no matter who else is in charge in the other places in the world."

Graham again stressed a theme of a "passive response" by the President.

"The Ukraine has asked for weapons to defend itself for months – and we're still thinking about it," Graham said.  "The Europeans can't lead without America setting the standard.  They're a dysfunctional political organization, Europe is.  And without American leadership organizing Europe and the world, you see people like Putin, who has an economy the size of Italy, he's playing a poker game with a pair of twos and winning."

What should Obama do, in Graham’s estimation?

"I would come to Congress and I'd ask for additional sanctions on the entire Russian economy, Putin included," Graham said.  "I would come to Congress and ask for money to equip and train the Ukranian military."


soundoff (83 Responses)
  1. J Anthony

    Interesting.. The comments, like the politicians, indicate half the country is perceiving a completely different reality than the other half. When we cannot agree on even a basic premise of what the reality of any given situation is (through indisputable, unobjectifiable facts), we're in trouble.

    July 27, 2014 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  2. highiqliberal

    The brilliance of Nancy Pelosi is only matched by her looks. I can see why she continues to get re-elected for her mental acuity.

    July 27, 2014 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  3. love344

    when all the white presidents were attending fundraisers and going on vacation when the world was in chaos...No one said a word.............

    July 27, 2014 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  4. Warren

    GOP wanting War.. That's new......

    July 27, 2014 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  5. king

    I see the repub war mungering bloggers are all over Nancy. Do they want to cut taxes again to fight another war, i remembered when bin laden said they are not fighting the US for geographical victory but financial ruin, on this front bin laden kicked our assets profoundly, taking the whole world down with us. Yet the repub haven't learned their lesson, they want to put us back on the bus heading back to finabcial disater. I wonder what sect going to shout stop spending money we dont have. Because the real repubs have just lifted their spending heads, i mean ugly heads.

    July 27, 2014 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  6. Fools and others money

    All I can say is I didn't vote for either and proud of this fact. Couple losers that couldn't lead a drought stricken horse to water.

    July 27, 2014 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  7. Name fannie

    President obama is doing exactly what he said he would do when he took office,he's going to destroy capitalism, and make ordinary citizens slaves to the elite americans like him.

    July 27, 2014 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  8. Rev

    America : world police

    July 27, 2014 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  9. chrissy

    Lol @ Thomas...now that you mention it "Edith Pelosi" has a nice ring to it! Lmao

    July 27, 2014 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  10. rs

    After Bush, and the disaster of Iraq, they have zero credibility in the real of foreign affairs. They forfeited credibility for Halliburton profit.

    July 27, 2014 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  11. Dean

    Passive? How dare this man state that the President is passive! In actuality it's time the USA let these folks do what they do. How many American troops should we lose trying to be the world police? Let Graham and his cronies offer concrete solutions as oppose to the usual Monday morning quarterbacking they're famous for!

    July 27, 2014 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  12. George

    Leadership is NOT always loud and Jumpy to go fight everywhere.. Going to wars to try (waste of lives and $$) to stop fighting in between people who have been fighting since days of Adam & Eve time is a plain stupid, Obama's decision to pull out of Iraq because they wanted to place their CAVE MAN's law on our soldiers even if we help them, or putting tough sanctions on Russia rather than a suicidal war with them is to anyone who has real brain would agree that is a SMART & firm leadership. Focusing home's economy recovery is working... we are out from a ditch when good ole' American Chevy was in deep levee and wrecked in 2008.. its out and on the road again.. its rebuilding slowly but surely. Did you ever thought of that.. I don't care what Pelosi or dumber Palin thinks.. use your head people!! May God Bless America!!

    July 27, 2014 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  13. DH

    The GOP is so full of ........ We have told Repubs we DO NOT WANT THEM LEADING US!!!! .....TWICE. This country was 2 feet from another Great Depression when Pres Obama pulled us from the hole the failed GOP policies had dumped us in. Repubs have fought everything this president, WHO WAS ELECTED, has brought forward. In spite of them we still have wall st, banks, the stock market went from 6,000 to 17,000, 8 million Americans can see a dr and 401k's have only gone up since Obama has been in ofc. Repubs actions in red states and in the House show us who they really are and it's definitely not anyone Americans want leading. Hillary will finish cleaning up the mess the Repubs handed to Pres Obama.

    July 27, 2014 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  14. sonnie3

    Most words that spew from Pelosi's mouth are so far from what America wants and needs. She is a floundering hypocrite.

    July 27, 2014 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  15. sonnie3

    Most of the Global World even knows hussein obama has been bad for America and the freedoms and liberties she used to stand for. Picks and chooses what law he wants to uphold. And changes and bends the rest of them at will with the pen and ex orders. He is a true communist.

    July 27, 2014 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  16. Name Steve

    Nothing like dealing with Dumb and Dumber!

    July 28, 2014 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  17. Name JK. SFL. THE GOP HOWDEE GOWDEE SHOW with special guest ISSA the CLOWN

    Now the GOP critizis Europe , the president , the world at large and everybody in the world listens to these GOP DOLTS disrespectful comments and the GOP party of STUPID thinks the world is going to respect us more???? The GOP idiotic statements do more harm then good and have been for a LONG time . If Obama Was a dictator like the GOP Claims, THEY WOULD ALL BE SHOT!!!!! Or in jail at the least.

    July 28, 2014 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  18. Jogtah

    And the Obama bashing and vitriol continues.... It's absolutely disgusting!
    I am not interested in any topics other than these: When are we going to limit Congressional terms? When are we going to clean the House (and Senate) and elect moderates from both parties who will actually work together? When are we going to get rid of racism and hate in the USA? It would be a start. Nothing is more important to the future of this country.

    July 28, 2014 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  19. vikingwoman

    You gotta be kidding! Graham thinks American taxpayers should foot the bill for equipment & training of Ukrainian soldiers?! Do any of these GOTP war lovers even understand the issue, the history, the culture of these nations civil strife that they want us to poke our nose in & stick our children's necks out for! Thank God for the diplomacy & cool headed approach employed by President Obama & SOS Kerry! Not only do we Not need to be involved in every skirmish happening in the world, but our $$$ & kids are resources needed here at home! The world community should address these nations that insist on perpetrating & continuing civil unrest! But of course, the GOTP still hasn't learned the lessons of Iraq & Afghanistan! They still cling to the fantasy of US soldiers swooping in like Super Man to spread democracy, for which the natives will give eternal gratefulness & loyalty! They forget that Super Man is fiction!!

    July 28, 2014 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  20. Thomas

    If this doesn't prove how delusional this woman is, nothing will. Congratulations California, you voted in a dingbat.

    I'd say they both are delusional , yet one likes supporting the military industrial corporate complex more then the other.

    July 28, 2014 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  21. cbp

    Sen. Graham seems to be the go-to man when the networks want to interview someone who disagrees with the President. The media just talk to the same people over and over again. Senators McCain and Graham have been on these programs more than any other Republicans. Are the networks having a great deal of difficulty getting people to appear on their news programs. You can bet that he will criticize the President every time.

    Let's get the networks to find new Senators to interview. Give others a chance to gain national exposure. We just might hear some new ideas and some new opinions,

    July 28, 2014 02:48 am at 2:48 am |
  22. J.V.Hodgson

    Pelosi is much more relevant in the House than Graham in the Senate PS they would have it a nuke by now by just that threat especially with what Israel is doing in Gaza! Oh yes ship arms to the Assad opposition multiple groups in Syria the major two of whom are now effectively supporting ISIS.
    Oh yes we armed and trained the Iraqi Army and what happened. Enter ISIS and the Iraqi army disintegrate leaving behind a huge store of weaponry and military vehicles now being use to set up the caliphate. Now the same failed Idea for Ukraine weapons and training with our military personnel doing the training. what does he think "strong leader Putin" would do in response to that the same for the rebels in eastern Ukraine
    This guys brain aint no bigger than a pea.

    July 28, 2014 02:57 am at 2:57 am |
  23. J.V.Hodgson

    PS they + iran sorry and the threat of all out war.

    July 28, 2014 03:00 am at 3:00 am |
  24. RomneyWho

    What should Obama do, in Graham’s estimation?

    "I would come to Congress and I'd ask for additional sanctions on the entire Russian economy, Putin included," Graham said. "I would come to Congress and ask for money to equip and train the Ukranian military."

    Wow, like always, Graham has nothing, republicans are funny that way . . . . 😦

    July 28, 2014 05:32 am at 5:32 am |
  25. Reality check

    Pelosi has her head so far up BO's you know what she doesn't have to use hair coloring to keep it brown.

    July 28, 2014 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
1 2 3 4