President Barack Obama's Tuesday night speech making his case for a limited attack on Syria was a "mistake," says former House Speaker and current CNN commentator Newt Gingrich.
"If you're going to ask the Congress to wait, you don't burn up an evening speech," Gingrich said during CNN's post-speech coverage. "You have a press conference in the afternoon and you say I have decided to follow up on this, and if I need to I will report to the country. … Very hard to do two speeches in two or three weeks."
But on Fox News Channel, columnist Charles Krauthammer was touting the speech as the most coherent case Obama has made for military action so far. But he wasn't optimistic that the president will succeed in winning supporters.
"I think it will have zero effect on the needle – either in Congress or in the public opinion," Krauthammer said. "But I'm glad he laid it out the way he did."
Gingrich challenged Obama's statement that the U.S. military "doesn't do pinpricks."
"Well, you can go back and look at dropping two bombs in the Balkans," Gingrich said. "The American military does what the politicians tell it to do. And if the politicians say pinprick, they do pinprick."
President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who faced an isolationist public in the lead-up to American involvement in World War II, would not have made the same speech, Gingrich said.
"FDR would have been very cautious, because he didn't oppose 85 percent of the American people."
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