News / USA

Republican Presidential Hopefuls Take On Obama Over Libya

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition at the Point of Grace Church in Waukee, Iowa, March 7, 2011
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition at the Point of Grace Church in Waukee, Iowa, March 7, 2011

The U.S. intervention in Libya as part of an international coalition is drawing fire from several Republicans expected to run for president next year.  

Although the 2012 presidential campaign is at an early stage, several potential Republican contenders are speaking out on President Barack Obama’s decision to take part in the international coalition enforcing the "no fly zone" over Libya, established by authority of the United Nations.

The latest critique came from former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who was interviewed on NBC’s Today program.

"I would not have intervened," said Gingrich. "I think there were a lot of other ways to affect Gadhafi.  I think there are a lot of allies in the region we could have worked with.  Having decided to go there, if Gadhafi does not leave power, it will be a defeat for the United States."

Gingrich is expected to make a formal announcement on a presidential bid in the next several weeks.

Another expected entrant into the 2012 race is former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.  Romney offered a broader critique of the president in an interview earlier in the week with conservative radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt.

"Thus far the president has been unable to construct a foreign policy, any foreign policy," said Romney. "He is tentative, indecisive, timid and nuanced."

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was also asked about the Obama administration’s deliberations on Libya during a recent visit to India.

"Less dithering, more decisiveness," said Palin.

Palin is believed to be considering a White House run next year, though many political analysts say they are unsure if she will join the Republican field of candidates for 2012.

President Obama defended U.S. involvement in the Libyan operation during his visit to El Salvador and said it was part of a broader goal of supporting non violent change in the region.

"And when we can have some impact on that with a relatively modest contribution as part of a broader international effort, then I absolutely believe that the costs are outweighed by the benefits," said President Obama.

Until now, the early jockeying in the 2012 race for the Republican presidential nomination has been dominated by domestic issues, especially the economy, jobs and the soaring U.S. budget deficit.  But there are signs that a fresh debate may emerge among the 2012 contenders over the war in Afghanistan.

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour made news during a recent trip to Iowa when he questioned the U.S. mission in Afghanistan and suggested it was time for the United States to withdraw significant numbers of troops.  The Obama administration plans to begin the withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan later this year, depending on security conditions on the ground.

A recent public-opinion poll found that nearly two-thirds of those asked no longer believe the Afghan war is worth the cost.

University of Virginia expert Larry Sabato says the Afghan war could become an issue in the Republican caucus and primary voting next year.

"But I have noticed other conservative Republicans like Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi, who may well be running for president, is starting to express doubts about Afghanistan," said Sabato. "So we do not know how this is going to play out, but I think if the public continues to be disaffected with the war, then it is going to find a way to work itself into the election campaign."

Historically, foreign policy issues have proven to be less important during a presidential election that the state of the domestic economy.

But there have been exceptions to that rule.

Political analyst Rhodes Cook says the last time foreign policy was a decisive issue in a U.S. presidential election campaign was in 1980 when President Jimmy Carter lost his bid for re-election in part because of the Iranian hostage crisis that began late in 1979 and dragged on through the election year.

Cook says U.S. voters do pay attention to how their president handles a foreign policy crisis.

"I think ultimately it comes down to a situation when you are running for re-election, do you look like you are controlling events, or does it look like events are controlling you," asked Cook.

While foreign policy issues are getting some attention at the moment, most experts believe President Obama’s re-election fate will be decided by how voters perceive the state of the U.S. economy.

Among them is Larry Sabato:

"As long as the economy continues to improve, so will President Obama’s prospects for re-election," he said. "In the end, voters do not ask why the economy is good or bad, they simply give credit or blame to the incumbent president."

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty was the first major Republican to take a step toward running when he set up an exploratory committee this week.  Several contenders are expected to follow suit in the weeks ahead.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs