GOP Debate Criticizes Obama Foreign Policy

May 6th, 2011 at 12:57 am | 8 Comments |

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Politico reports

GREENVILLE, S.C. — The first Republican presidential primary debate — with some of the key contenders AWOL — kicked off the nomination fight Thursday with shots at President Barack Obama’s domestic and foreign policy.

The faceoff, co-sponsored by Fox News and the South Carolina Republican Party, came just days after Obama announced that Osama bin Laden had been killed. Bin Laden’s death sharply reoriented the debate among the five candidates here — the first 15 minutes were spent on foreign policy — not jobs, the economy or the national debt, which have been key issues for the GOP.

It also muted some criticism of Obama — and the first time his name came up, it was to praise from former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

“I do congratulate President Obama for the fine job that he did in making the tough call and being decisive as it related to finding and killing Osama bin Laden,” Pawlenty said. “A good job. I tip my cap to him in that moment.”

But he continued with a sharp dismissal of the rest of Obama’s foreign policy record: “That moment is no the sum total of America’s foreign policy. He’s made a number of other decisions relating to our security here and around the world that I don’t agree with. … To give you one example, in Libya, he made a decision to subordinate our decision-make together United Nations. I don’t agree with that.”

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum went even further, saying, “The decision that he made with Osama Bin Laden was tactical decision, it wasn’t a strategic decision. The issues that have come up while he’s been president, he’s gotten them wrong strategically every single time.”

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8 Comments so far ↓

  • SteveT

    Cause we all know that foreign policy is what the majority of Americans are thinking about. That and why Hillary had her hand over her mouth.

  • rbottoms

    I have expected them to end the debate by piling into a little clown car.

    Beep. Beep.

    • Smargalicious

      ^And the little clown car is driven by the chief clown, Barry Soetoro.

      • streetwise885

        I’d pay money to watch them fight it out to see who gets to sit in the front seat.

        Mr. Smarg – but wouldn’t you insist on his long form drivers license first? And what about his clown ID papers, not to mention the big-red-nose certificate, and the water-squirting flower permit…

        pithy, well reasoned response in 3, 2, 1…

  • andydp

    One fact they won’t be able to surmount (even though the “bump” will not last long): He got Osama…

    PS There goes the “soft on terrorism” label…

    “Strategically wrong” translation: “not a Republican decision”

    Gov Pawlenty and Senator Santorum: where is your position paper on what you would have done in Lybia ?

  • jamesj

    I watched the whole debate and cringed many times. It didn’t really strike me fully until I saw this debate how hard it is for right wing presidential candidates to claim they have better foreign policy or better economic policy at this point in time. When McCain ran he tried to separate himself from Bush’s foreign policy and the world didn’t yet realize how badly Bush’s economic policy would crater the US economy. But now that we know exactly how things turned out, and now that right wing politicians are trying to say Bush had things right and Obama is the real problem despite all evidence, most of what I hear from these candidates sounds like a joke. Their stance is absurd on its face. This is going to be a rough election season. I don’t think any Republican candidate has a shot with informed voters, even traditionally Conservative voters like myself, unless they’re willing to admit past mistakes and show how they’d be different. Blaming the guy who’s cleaning up your disaster is laughable.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    I watched the debate, Santorum looked unearthly and his teeth were unnaturally white but his speaking style was best of the lot, he didn’t ramble like Paul or sound deadpan like Johnson. And I gotta say it looks like Santorum has been hitting the weights, he might win a few Republican..ahem..meatpacker votes himself. Cain was surreal. Pawlenty was nondescript, not good or bad.

    andygp, Pawlenty had basically the McCain position, which is that a no fly zone earlier would have tipped the balance decisively. There is ZERO evidence of that, even less so considering how Gadhafi’s forces have survived a month of NATO pounding, in fact during the early days lines were not understood and the US would doubtless have killed a lot of rebels by mistake, that is if by no fly zone they meant what is happening now, a simple no fly zone would have been useless considering how many tanks and apcs Gadhafi had.

  • think4yourself

    It’s easy to be the opposition and criticize, but hard to be the one making the decision. The GOP sharply (though not uniformly) criticized Obama for not doing more in Iraq, when their citizens were protesting. Obama didn’t think that the citizens were strong enough to take out the political, religious and military leadership and he was right (just like in China 20 years ago).

    In Libya you had a weakened Quadaffi, immediately after Mubarak’s fall and a desire on the American people not to enter into a 3rd war in the Middle East. Combining with Nato in the lead was a middle of the road response, but Quadaffi is stronger than what first appeared. Will he hold out? I’d be curious what back-channel negotiations are happening with the Libyian military (Mubarak wouldn’t have fallen if the military supported him against the people).