Tags: MidPoint | Alberto Gonzales | barack Obama | Rudy Giuliani

Ex-AG Alberto Gonzales: Presidents Should Be 'Unapologetic About America'

By    |   Friday, 20 February 2015 03:23 PM

Instead of apologizing for the country and its values, a U.S. president should promote the good works and great sacrifices that Americans have undertaken at home and abroad, and be especially passionate in times of crisis about America's importance in the world, says former U.S. attorney general Alberto Gonzales.

Gonzales weighed in on the uproar over remarks by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, telling "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV Friday that he remains "a big fan" of the ex-mayor who is under fire for doubting whether President Barack Obama loves America.

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Obama "wasn't brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country," Giuliani, a 2008 GOP presidential candidate, told guests on Wednesday at a private dinner party for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a possible 2016 contender.

Gonzales, Attorney General and White House Counsel to President George W. Bush, said that without personally knowing Obama it would be difficult to venture an opinion on his love of country.

"I don't know this president," said Gonzales. "I don't know his values. I don't know what's important to him. I certainly don't know him like I know George W. Bush. So I would not be one to say whether or not he loves America or not."

Gonzales did say that Obama has "created unnecessary controversy," not just with some of his statements and positions "about America and America's place in the world," but also by his silence and failure to make America's case and stand with allies at key moments.

Obama drew criticism this month for comparing today's violent Islamist extremism to awful deeds — from the Crusades to Jim Crow — that some justified in the name of Christianity.

Last month, even liberals such as "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart scolded the president for not joining other world leaders in a historic peace march through Paris after the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

Gonzales called these and other episodes "very, very unfortunate when we have so many challenges facing this country both domestically and internationally."

"It's important … for the leader of this country to be unapologetic about America and American values," he said. "I mean, name a country that's sacrificed more of its sons and daughters to not just defend this country but to promote democracy around the world."

As president, "you have an obligation to set forth a positive image about this country and about all the good things that we have done in the past and all the good things that we continue to do today," said Gonzales.

Gonzalez also discussed a call by current Attorney General Eric Holder for a moratorium on all executions in the United States.

Gonzales, who reviewed clemency appeals for Bush when the latter was Texas governor, noted that Holder is an opponent of the death penalty, and he argued that Holder ought to respect the will of the citizens in states that allow it.

Gonzales agreed that executions have gone amiss in some places, notably Oklahoma,
but he said that death remains an "appropriate" penalty for certain crimes "so long as we're doing everything that we can to ensure that it's only the guilty that are being punished."

He said he supports capital punishment whether or not it serves as a deterrent. 

"For me, that's not the reason I support the death penalty," he said. "I just believe that it is the appropriate punishment; it's the appropriate way to hold people accountable for certain kinds of crimes."

Gonzales added that "for some certain individuals, unfortunately, they are of such an evil nature that the possibility of the death penalty would not really serve as a deterrent."

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Instead of apologizing for the country and its values, a U.S. president should promote the good works and great sacrifices that Americans have undertaken, says former U.S. attorney general Alberto Gonzales.
Alberto Gonzales, barack Obama, Rudy Giuliani
Friday, 20 February 2015 03:23 PM
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