If the Sunday morning talk shows and the GOP’s Lincoln Dinner in Des Moines on Saturday night are any indication, a primary Republican punching bag for 2016 will be the Obama administration’s foreign policy—especially during Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State.
GOP presidential hopefuls aggressively went after Clinton last night and today for her “failed” policies at the State Department—which, they said, have left the world worse off than ever before.
On CBS’s Face the Nation, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who just returned from Israel, presumably to beef up his foreign policy chops ahead of a presidential announcement, called Clinton’s policies at State a complete “mess.”
“Just about everywhere that Hillary Clinton has played a role with this president, that part of the world is largely a failure, a mess, because of what we’ve seen from Obama and Clinton,” Walker told Bob Schieffer.
Walker, who has hinted that he will be announcing his candidacy for president in June, blasted the Obama administration for its handling of the drawdown of the Iraq war.
“We have a place that’s destabilized now because of their quick move in the last few years to get out of Iraq,” he said.
Walker also criticized the administration for being too soft on Iran in constructing a deal to slow its nuclear weapons capability.
“I think if we’re going to have negotiations, we should have them on our terms, not on theirs,” he said. “To me, we need to dismantle the illicit nuclear infrastructure they have.”
During an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, announced candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said Clinton would continue the “failed policies” of the Obama Administration. “This is not a time for the status quo,” he said.
The Florida lawmaker, who has been a vocal critic of the administration’s nuclear negotiations with Iran, sounded off on the looming framework for a deal.
“Every time there’s new revelations about the deal, it gets worse and worse and worse,” Rubio said.
He also defended President George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003, saying it was the right move for what we knew at the time.
“He was dealing with Saddam Hussein. The world is a better place because Saddam Hussein is not there,” Rubio said. “It was not a mistake.”
Former Gov. Jeb Bush, also a likely presidential contender, set off a firestorm last week for telling Fox News’ Megyn Kelly that he would have authorized the Iraq war “knowing what we know now.” Bush has backed off that position, saying he misheard the question and would not have favored invading Iraq if the information available now was available then.
Rubio’s comments come just days after he gave a high-profile foreign policy speech before the Council on Foreign Relations in New York in which he argued that the U.S. must aggressively confront Russia, China and other countries that could threaten the U.S.’s position in the world.
“We simply cannot afford to elect as our next president one of the leading agents of this administration’s foreign policy – a leader from yesterday whose tenure as secretary of state was ineffective at best and dangerously negligent at worst,” Rubio said.
At the Lincoln Dinner, 11 Republicans who either have announced their White House bids or are expected to announce them soon, took turns pummeling the Obama administration chiefly on foreign policy matters ranging from Iraq, to Iran and the fight to destroy ISIS
“I blame Barack Obama above all else for squandering the gains that were so hard to come by in Iraq,” “Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) said, according to The Hill.
And The Washington Post quoted former Sen. Rick Santorum as lambasting Obama foreign policy, saying his views could be boiled down into four words: “Iran, enemy. Israel, friend.”
It’s not surprising that Republicans are focusing so heavily on attacking the Obama administration’s foreign policy and tying Clinton to it. Recent public opinion polls have consistently shown that Americans are unsatisfied with U.S. foreign policy.
A February CNN/ORC poll revealed that 57 percent of Americans disapprove of Obama’s handling of foreign affairs and 54 percent disapprove of how the administration is dealing with terrorism.
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