GOP Leader Says National Security Won’t Drive 2010 Politics

By Gorman Gorman

May 21, 2009 3:46pm

ABC News’ David Chalian Reports:  Despite the stark divide on display in the Cheney vs. Obama battle today, the Republican charged with winning back a GOP majority in the United State Senate doesn’t believe national security will prove to be much of an Achilles heel for President Obama and the Democrats in the midterm elections next year. "I think 2010 is likely to be about spending and borrowing and the anxiety the public have there as well as the failure to deal with other looming fiscal challenges like entitlement reform that threaten to swamp us," said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Sen. Cornyn went so far as to say that he views much of President Obama’s national security policies in a positive light. "I think the American people trust Republicans more than Democrats on national security, generally — that may fluctuate the polls," said Cornyn.  "People sort of view with some questions what the Democrats do on national security, but as long as the president is doing what he has been doing, which I view as — the preponderance of which I view as positive, then I think he’ll find the Republicans are with him and the American people will support him." The Texas Republican pointed to the Obama approaches in Iraq and Afghanistan and his decision to reverse course and refuse to release detainee abuse photos as encouraging signs, but continued to express concern about the president’s handling of the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay. "His announcing the closure of GITMO without a plan to hold the detainees, I think got a pretty significant rebuke — bipartisan rebuke — in the vote we had in the Senate yesterday," Cornyn said. Later in the day, Sen. Cornyn ratcheted up his rhetoric in a statement critiquing President Obama’s speech today. “His attacks today on those with differing opinions on how to best keep our nation safe reeked of the very same fear mongering that he derided moments earlier. His persistent reminders that he ‘inherited’ these problems are unproductive and trite. Americans are looking for leadership, not finger pointing and excuses for the implementation of ill-advised policies," said Cornyn. As former Vice President Dick Cheney prepared to share the proverbial presidential stage today with his mano a mano national security showdown with Barack Obama, Sen. Cornyn said he doesn’t expect all of his candidates to embrace Mr. Cheney on the 2010 campaign trail. "I think the vice president is controversial in some quarters, but there is nobody that knows better than he does about what the threats are that face our nation and why it was necessary to take extraordinary measures to protect our country," said Cornyn. At a reporters roundtable breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, Sen. Cornyn was pressed on whether or not Mr. Cheney would prove to be an effective surrogate for the Republican candidates running for the US Senate this cycle.  "I think that depends on the race and where you are," said Cornyn.  "I’d be proud to appear with the vice president anywhere anytime.  But I think it depends on the circumstance and the race," he added. Sen. Cornyn’s comments sparked Democrats around the country, who are eager to keep the politically unpopular Dick Cheney front and center, to ask Republican senate candidates in competitive states if they would be proud to appear with Vice President Cheney. "Will you welcome Dick Cheney to Florida to campaign on your behalf?," a Florida Democratic Party press release asks of Republican candidates Gov. Charlie Crist (R-FL) and Marco Rubio.
As for the substance of the Obama vs. Cheney national security debate, Sen. Cornyn doesn’t seem to believe the 2010 elections will be significantly impacted by President Obama’s national security policies, barring an outside 9/11 type of event.

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus