Tom Cole: I Wouldn't Have Traded Audie Murphy for 5 Taliban

Sunday, 08 Jun 2014 01:01 PM

By Greg Richter

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Republican Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma is confident his party will take control of the Senate in November, and if he's right, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson thinks the president should step up his use of executive orders.

"I think we will take back the Senate," Cole said Sunday as part of the political roundtable on ABC's "This Week." The hotly contested Senate race in Mississippi could go either way, he admitted, with longtime incumbent Thad Cochran facing a serious challenge from tea party-endorsed Chris McDaniel.

Urgent: Approve of Obama’s Taliban Swap? Vote Here

But Cole thinks whoever wins will keep the seat in Republican hands in November, and the GOP will make enough gains elsewhere to wrest the Senate from Democratic control.

"The kind of fights we've had, they've been pretty spirited, but they're not the kind that split us the way we did in 2012," Cole said.

Richardson, a Democrat, believes his party will hold the Senate, though it may be by only one seat. If they do lose both chambers to the Republicans, Richardson thinks President Barack Obama will have to change his focus in his last two years in office.

Obama will have to concentrate on global warming and executive orders, Richardson said, because GOP gains would be a "death knell" for Democratic hope of immigration reform.

He said Obama should put a moratorium on deportations if Republicans take over.

Obama has been under fire for his use of executive actions to get around his party's failures to win legislative battles. He even used an executive signing statement a week ago to free five Taliban detainees in exchange for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdhal.

Members of both parties had previously told Obama they wouldn't approve the releases, and Cole said Sunday that he opposed the deal as well.

Citing allegations by Bergdahl's fellow platoon members that he willingly walked off base before being captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan, some have questioned the trade, since the released Taliban members were top-level commanders.

Cole said he is happy Bergdahl is free, but the deal was bad.

"I wouldn't have traded Audie Murphy for these five guys," said Cole, citing the decorated World War II hero.

GOP strategist Matthew Dowd said the White House has totally mismanaged the release.

"The president and Susan Rice stood up there like this was 'Saving Private Ryan,' and it turns out it's 'The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight,'" Dowd said. Obama should never had stood in the Rose Garden with Bergdahl's parents when he knew there were questions about Bergdahl's own responsibility in his capture.

ABC News' Martha Raddatz agreed, saying the White House handling of the release showed a "fundamental misunderstanding of the military" and how its members would react.

Urgent: Approve of Obama’s Taliban Swap? Vote Here

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