A bumbling president, who everyday deepens Democrats’ perception of buyer’s remorse, confessed on Thursday that his administration does not have a strategy for defeating the Islamic State In the Levant, one that was just described by top officials as an “imminent threat.”
Speaking at a press conference in the White House, the president was asked if he would seek Congressional approval for U.S. attacks on ISIS targets in Syria, Politico reported.
“I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. We don’t have a strategy yet,” he responded.
His poor choice of words quickly made headlines around the world, overshadowed his fumbling response to Russia’s invasion of southeast Ukraine and sent spokespersons into hyper-damage control mode.
The blogosphere and Twittersphere also jumped on his confession of incompetence, but worst of all, his “amateur hour” strengthened the global impression that this is not a man to be taken seriously, nor a country whose foreign policy can be trusted.
In his remarks today, POTUS was explicit – as he has been in the past – about the comprehensive strategy we’ll use to confront ISIL threat.
— Josh Earnest (@PressSec) August 28, 2014
@PressSec Well, that settles it then. Glad to hear it. We’d sure really hate to hear him when he’s vague, noncommittal, and unfocused.
— Sean Bannion (@SeanBannion) August 28, 2014
WH can try to walk it back if they want, but it’s clear President Obama doesn’t have a strategy for dealing w/ ISIS threat. We need one.
— Rep. Martha Roby (@RepMarthaRoby) August 28, 2014
Press secretary Josh Earnest quickly went on social media to tweet that Obama was “explicit – as he has been in the past – about the comprehensive strategy that we’ll use to confront” the Islamic State menace, and on to CNN to say the president was talking specifically about Syria.
“These options are being developed by the Pentagon,” he said, as if the military brass just found out about it yesterday instead of a year ago.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki followed Earnest onto CNN to play defense, saying, “I think it’s important to note here that the president has already begun implementing his strategy to defeat [ISIS],” stressing Obama’s efforts to build “international coalitions” to thwart ISIS’ ambitions.
Republicans were johnny-on-the-spot to react to Obama’s waffling and verbal gaffe.
Longtime fierce critic of Obama’s wishy-washy foreign policy, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., tweeted Obama’s quote and added: “ISIS is largest, richest terrorist group in history & 192,000 dead in #Syria,” according to Politico.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, who described ISIS on Tuesday as “the most dangerous threat matrix” he’d ever seen, told The Hill, “It was an odd press conference at the very best, but to have a press conference to say we don’t have a strategy was really shocking given the severity of the threat.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., released a statement calling for Obama to develop a “regional strategy,” a plan to present to the American people, to the Congress and to request authority to implement it.
Commentator Charles Krauthammer remarked on Fox News Channel’s “Special Report” that “The president of the United States, in the middle of a real crisis, a few days after the beheading of an American…gets in front of the world and says, I don’t have a strategy. “If that is true, don’t say anything. Why do you announce you don’t have a strategy?”
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