Sunday, June 21, 2009

Where Is Obama? GOP Lawmakers Press Obama to Take Tougher Stance on Iran, George Will Calls Attacks "Foolish Criticism"

Though the White House released a written statement Saturday in which President Obama used his strongest language to date to condemn what he called a "violent and unjust" government crackdown on protesters, critics say he needs to show more leadership on the issue.

Fox News reports:

"The president of the United States is supposed to lead the free world, not follow it," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said on ABC's "This Week." "He's been timid and passive more than I would like."

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the president's opponent in the 2008 election, said Obama should "be stronger than he has been" with Iran and suggested European heads of state were showing more leadership than Obama on the issue.

"I think we ought to have America lead. When you look at the statements by President Sarkozy, Chancellor Merkel and Prime Minister Brown have been much stronger. We should lead. And I also think he should point out that this is not just an Iranian issue. This is an American issue -- what we're all about," McCain said on CBS' "Face the Nation."

He said he's not in favor of "sending arms" or "fomenting violence," but that the United States needs to "be on the right side of history." Protesters view last week's election as rigged.

Both McCain and Graham said Obama was moving in the right direction with his written statement Saturday but needs to do more.

Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., told "FOX News Sunday" that Obama, in person, needs to address the Iranian and American people -- he called the election backlash a potential "game changer" in Iran which Obama should leverage.

"This president is a great orator. This president needs to come out, he needs to speak to the American people, but more important he needs to speak to the people of Iran, the people of the Middle East and he has to make a forceful statement on behalf of the people on the streets for freedom and democracy," Hoekstra said. The top Republican on the House intelligence committee said Obama needs to follow up on the groundwork he laid with his recent address to the Muslim world in Cairo.

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