Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says President Barack Obama’s reactions and actions during multiple world crises shows the United States has “a spectator-in-chief,” and the Obama presidency might be the most out of touch in modern U.S. history. Gingrich also said Thursday on Fox News that Obama’s response to Libya has been bad for America’s world image.
“Well, I think what is increasing clear that we have a spectator-in-chief instead of a commander-in-chief,” Gingrich told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “And I think each situation is very different. Remember, this isn’t a background still of terrible economic news. It’s in a background of rising gasoline prices. It’s in a background where the deficit is enormous, and he’s showing no leadership on the budget.
“It is maybe the most passive, and out of touch, presidency in modern American history,” Gingrich said. “He makes Jimmy Carter’s micromanaging the tennis courts at the White House look tiny compared to the degree to which he’s avoiding doing his job right now.”
Hannity noted the president has been playing golf and concentrating on the NCAA basketball tournament, instead of focusing on business at hand.
“Yes, the administration has just sort of checked out. You know, the president has this fixation with the Final Four,” Gingrich said. “What is strange is, with all of these crises, how could you focus that kind of time and attention as president of the United States? Not as a private citizen, not as a spectator, not as a hobby.
“I put out today my Final Four. And I said, the Final Four for the president should have been: One, enough jobs to get unemployment down to four percent. Two, enough American oil and gas production to get gasoline prices down to $2. Three, balance the federal budget with a much smaller federal government. And four, control the border.
“Now, I would suggest to you, my Final Four comes a lot closer to what a president ought to do than Obama’s. It makes you wonder what he thinks his job is,” Gingrich said.
Gingrich, who is expected to announce he is making a presidential run in 2012, analyzed the president’s reactions crisis by crisis. Obama’s Libyan response was particularly un-presidential, he said.
“On March Third he said, Gadhafi had to go. There is no evidence Gadhafi is going to go. There is no evidence that the no-fly zone by itself will be effective,” Gingrich said. “Americans need to realize that once the American president has publicly said a dictator has to go – if that dictator survives – it is a considerable defeat for the United States.
“The whole region is in turmoil. You have problems everywhere; the Saudis may be drifting towards a confrontation with the Iranians. You have problems in Yemen, problems in Egypt, problems in Tunisia,” he continued.
“The president seems somehow to be disengaged; you had a terrible terrorist attack in Israel where a three-month-old baby was deliberately killed by a terrorist in a very gruesome way. The United States basically has said and done nothing about it.”
Gingrich told Hannity scientists, not politicians, should be at the forefront of U.S. reaction to the Japanese catastrophe.
“On Japan, we ought to have a scientific commission made up of nuclear physicists and nuclear engineers, not politicians – not people who already have a predisposed opinion – but real experts to start digging into what has happened, what is happening, what are the implications for American policy,” he said. “We’ve obviously indicated we will do all we can to help the Japanese and we should.
“I've talked to a number of people who are close to the American military who realize we have considerable military assets and personnel taking some real risks to try to help the Japanese,” Gingrich said.
On federal spending, Gingrich noted House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan will unveil in April “the boldest budget in modern American history.”
“I have no doubt that Congressman Ryan is going to set the benchmark for everybody who wants to cut spending. He’s going to have entitlement reforms, he's going to have dramatic cuts in spending,” he said. “And every tea party member, every fiscal conservative, every budget hawk in the country is going to have an opportunity.
“Some of them I predict will promptly say: 'It is not enough.' Even though it will be by a big margin, the boldest budget in modern times. Much bolder than anything we did during the four years I was speaker.”
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