Conservative Rep. Pete King slammed President Barack Obama's Oval Office address on terrorism
Sunday night, calling it "pitiful — a total failure of leadership."
"Nothing the president proposed or spoke about had any relevance or connection to the San Bernardino massacre," the New York Republican said in a statement. "Once again he failed to say that our enemy is Islamist terrorism. Nor did he call for increased surveillance of the Muslim community. Instead he tried to raise the phony specter of Islamophobia.
"The truth is that the Obama policy against ISIS has failed totally and his speech totally failed to address or correct that failure! Nothing he said will calm the fears of the American people."
GOP presidential candidates also slammed Obama's address.
Republican front-runner Donald Trump live-tweeted the speech, saying at the end,
"Nothing that happened in the speech tonight is going to assuage people's fears," Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, another GOP White House hopeful, told Fox News. "And then the cynicism, the cynicism tonight to spend a significant amount of time talking about discrimination against Muslims. Where is there widespread evidence that we have a problem in America with discrimination against Muslims? … I think not only did the president not make things better tonight, I fear he may have made things worse in the minds of many Americans."
Other candidates weighed in as well:
"We have heard people say it is better to fight them there than here," former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee told Fox News. "We are fighting them here. They are here. That's what happened in San Bernardino. It may not be ISIS but it is radical Islam."
Still, he said, the female shooter in San Bernardino "was more vetted than the Syrian refugees are going to be. As Dr. Phil would say, how did that work out for you?"
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham told Fox News he would replenish the National Security Administration and CIA budgets if elected president.
"We are at war and president Obama is fighting crime," Graham said.
Pundits also piled on, with conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer calling the 13-minute speech "a complete failure."
"Woody Allen said showing up is 80 percent of life. In that sense, he showed up," Krauthammer said on Fox News Channel immediately afterward. "He finally appeared to address the issue. I think that counts for something. As to the substance and tone, it's a complete failure."
Weekly Standard columnist Steve Hayes, also on Fox News, calling it a "low bar" for anyone to be celebrating the mere fact that that "the president of the United States has called a terrorist attack a terrorist attack."
Fox News host Bret Baier had noted that the speech marked the first the first time since last week's San Bernardino mass shooting that Obama specifically said the killings were terrorism.
The Hill's A.B. Stoddard noted that Obama was somber in tone, "but there was no 'What now?'"
"Americans watching tonight were not assuaged there's going to be a battle against encryption and dark spaces where these people can communicate overseas without detection," Stoddard said.
National Review's Jim Geraghty
was unimpressed, writing a piece headlined, "Obama Actually Thought He Was Being Reassuring Tonight."
"The lone bits of good news was the president’s belated acknowledgement that the Fort Hood shooting was terrorism – not 'workplace violence' – and that he didn’t announce any new executive orders dealing with gun control," Geraghty wrote.
"Ramping up the rhetoric is not the same as ramping up action." said David Gergen, who served as an adviser to presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Clinton.
"There was no new action here," Gergen told CNN. "This was a stay-the-course speech. He thinks the course is going to lead to victory. There is not evidence that that's the case."
Obama appears to be leaving the Islamic State (ISIS) problem to the next president, Gergen said.
Some people took consolation where they could find it.
Many Democrats weren't happy with the speech.
But Fox News' Juan Williams pronounced it a success, a good job after he had been given a "mulligan" after what Williams called a disastrous response to the Paris attacks.
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