Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid faults the GOP for every conceivable world ill from the crisis in Ukraine to the downed Malaysian jet — all to divert attention from the troubled Affordable Care Act, Sen. Dan Coats of Indiana says.
"Harry wakes up every morning and says, 'How can I blame the Republicans for anything that's happening out there?''' Coats told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"So if it's a mudslide in Washington, or if it's a missing plane or if it's [ Ukraine], Harry Reid says let me think about a way I can blame Republicans for this."
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The reason: to stop Americans from obsessing about the Affordable Care Act, one of the hot-button issues of the upcoming elections, according to Coats.
It's all about two things: one, doing anything other than talking about Obamacare. So he'll bring up any other subject," Coats said.
"And number two, it's all about the election in 2014 and in positioning his party which is in deep trouble right now and trying to shift the blame on everything that happens to Republicans."
Coats, a member of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, said there is some validity to President Barack Obama's statement Tuesday that he is more concerned about a nuclear attack on New York City than Russia's military aggression — to a point.
"We continue to face terrorist threats and potentially with weapons of mass destruction. That's an ongoing situation that can come from any number of sources — Middle East, Russia, North Korea, whatever," Coats said.
"So terrorists are out to do us in and do our economy in through maybe cyber-attacks or hit our people and destroy a lot of lives through weapons of mass destruction.
"On the other hand, the situation in Russia is such that nothing we have done so far, [nothing] the president has done so far is going to give [Russian President Vladimir] Putin pause in terms of what his goals are."
The U.S. needs to send a strong message to Putin that be will pay a "tremendous cost" for his ruthless military push into Ukraine, according to Coats.
Coats believes Putin is taking advantage of a "vacuum of leadership" triggered by a weak U.S. foreign policy.
"[He sees] the U.S. as a declining power, not willing to stand up and even impose tough economic sanctions. You know, hitting Russia in the bread basket or in the pocket book is really something that we can do immediately," said Coats, a former U.S. ambassador to Germany.
"They are so dependent on oil and gas … on their exports. I've offered several options in terms of dealing with both of those tough sanctions … that demonstrate that over a period of time here we're going to bleed Russia from a lot of money that they need and keep their economy going."
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