Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican and ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, blasted President Obama’s “failed, feckless” foreign policy Thursday morning and charged that Mr. Obama “does not believe that America should lead.”
Though the presidential campaign has focused largely on the economy, the deaths of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens, on Sept. 11 has drawn a focus back to foreign policy in recent weeks.
“The assassination of our ambassador, the deterioration in Iraq, the looming crisis with Iran and, of course, Afghanistan,” Mr. McCain listed when reminded that the president described recent foreign policy slip-ups in the Middle East as “bumps in the road.”
The White House hit back hard earlier this week against Republican suggestions that Mr. Obama was referring to the deaths of Mr. Stevens and three other Americans in Libya as “bumps in the road” in the country’s Middle East policy.
The president’s spokesman, Jay Carney, on Monday said Mr. Obama was talking about Middle East turmoil in general when he made the comments in an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” that aired over the weekend. Mr. Carney labeled Republican claims that the president was minimizing the deaths “both desperate and offensive.”
Referring to the “remarkable transformations that are occurring around the region,” Mr. Carney said the “bumps” comment was simply Mr. Obama’s acknowledgment of “the huge obstacles to the kind of [democratic] change that people are demanding.”
Any attempt to characterize the president’s remarks as referring to the deaths of Americans in Libya is a “desperate attempt to grasp at words and phrases” and “profoundly offensive,” Mr. Carney said.
Mr. McCain, though, was still not satisfied with the president’s overall strategy.
“Did you ever hear the president utter the word ‘victory’ or ‘success’?” Mr. McCain said on “Fox and Friends.”
“Since when do you gauge success or failure by dates of withdrawal? He does not understand American exceptionalism. He does not believe that America should lead.”
“I understand that this election is about jobs and the economy … but I deeply regret that more Americans don’t know how serious this failed, feckless foreign policy is,” he continued.