People shouldn't blame President Barack Obama's foreign policy for Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer says, while adding a case to be made that the president's weakness emboldened Putin.
The former Bush administration official, who appeared on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" show today, had appeared to be joining the others on the show when they were talking about whether criticizing the president is undermining his foreign policy efforts, Mediaite
"It's not good when Democrats do that; it's certainly not good when Republicans do that during a time of crisis," host Joe Scarborough said.
"I've been saying this all along," said Fleischer. "I didn't appreciate when people treated President Bush like that. I think people have to be realistic in their assessments. The person to blame here is Vladimir Putin."
He then said that Obama has, "through weakness, changed the cost-benefit that Vladimir Putin would go through to decide whether to use force. That's a legitimate issue, but it has to be discussed in the proper frame."
NBC's David Axelrod, a former Obama adviser, called Fleischer on his comment immediately.
"I just appreciated the taste and discretion with which Ari inserted that into the conversation," said Axelrod. "But that's how you get to be president of Ari Fleischer Strategies ... by inserting those things into the conversation with panache."
Fleischer, in a post on Twitter ahead of his "Morning Joe" appearance, called Obama weak.
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