Talking Points

President Obama and War



There's a lively debate in the country about how committed Barack Obama is to defeating terrorism. Some of his critics say he's not nearly aggressive enough in fighting our enemies. But, the Obama administration has badly damaged al-Qaeda and the Taliban by using drone missile attacks.

In fact, reports said, "Those attacks are actually increasing because of al-Qaeda threats against Western Europe." So it's hard to say exactly what kind of passion President Obama has for the war on terror. And, in an interview with journalist Bob Woodward, Mr. Obama muddied the waters even further.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I said very early on as a senator and continued to believe as a presidential candidate and now as president that we can -- we can absorb a terrorist attack. We'll do everything we can to prevent it, but even the 9-11 -- even the biggest attack that ever took place on our soil, we absorbed it and we are stronger. This is a strong powerful country that we live in and our people are incredibly resilient.


Now, that quote is contained in Mr. Woodward's new book, "Obama's Wars." And, the words have drawn anger from those who dislike the president's policies.


JOHN BOLTON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: I think that may be the most outrageous thing that's been reported about this book. How - how can an American president say that as if he's a detached observer and doesn't care about Americans dying?


Now, "Talking Points" did not draw that inference from Mr. Obama's statement. I think it's a stretch to say as he doesn't care about Americans dying. But, there is no question that Mr. Obama is not the terror warrior that President Bush was, that he has a hard time making decisions about complicated matters as we saw on the troop deployment to Afghanistan.

The president supporters say that's a good a thing, that deliberation is needed when the subject at hand is so complicated. They also say President Bush bungled Iraq because he did not spend enough time analyzing the theatre. But, the essential question is, does President Obama have the heart to defeat vicious enemies like al-Qaeda and the Taliban? Will he take the necessary action that some in his party opposed?

Right now, that question remains unanswered with the Afghan war hanging in the balance. And, that's "The Memo."


We want to show you what happened on the Jon Stewart program last night.


JON STEWART, HOST, COMEDY CENTRAL'S "THE DAILY SHOW": Our guest tonight needs no introduction, and yet we're going to give him a nice one anyway. Hit it, my friend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): What a show, what a guest, what a night. We've got O'Reilly. He's out of sight. Oh, he's sharp as a tack. He's No. 1, the best of the best. He's Bill O'Reilly.

STEWART: Yes! Yes! Yes! Come and join us. Come and join us! Well done.

O'REILLY: Very well done. Very well done.

STEWART: Please, have a seat. OK. Have a seat. Enjoy.

Here is my -- here is my favorite part of the book.


STEWART: When you graded Obama pinhead v. patriot, and you actually gave him some patriot points.

O'REILLY: Absolutely.

STEWART: Energy level, you said he was a patriot.

O'REILLY: Good haircut.

STEWART: And you said he had a good haircut. And you said he was not Hugo Chavez.

O'REILLY: Right.

STEWART: Did I read the book or did I read the book?

O'REILLY: No, I gave him high marks for the drone program.


O'REILLY: He's sending drones to kill al-Qaeda.

STEWART: Anything illegal, you like.

O'REILLY: OK. The drone program is not illegal, you ACLU sympathizer. All right? Absolutely legal.

You showed the book cover, you know, your book "Earth and Why are We on It."

STEWART: Is that the name of it? It's -- if I may.

O'REILLY: OK. So there you are. Could you zero in on the cover again? So there you are sitting next to Colbert.

STEWART: No, no. Can I tell you something? He did the same joke on "The Factor."

O'REILLY: It's "Planet of the Apes."

STEWART: Colbert called me and he goes, the monkey joke? He goes, "It was pretty funny." He liked the monkey joke.

Will you come to the Rally to Restore Sanity? Will you come to the Rally to Restore Sanity? Can I tell you why I want you to come?


STEWART: I want to see if it works. I want to see if the Rally to Restore Sanity works.

O'REILLY: Look, you and Colbert don't want me to come, because if I come, then there will be a big crowd, and you won't get any credit. So you want to be alone.

Let's let Stewart and Colbert stand on their own four feet. OK? They don't need me.

Don't you piggyback on me or Beck. OK? You do it on your own. You're in real deep now, Stewart. If six people show up, believe me, I'm going to be all over you. You'll be on vacation for a month.

STEWART: If you're out there, not for me. Not for America.

O'REILLY: Right.

STEWART: But to make him eat his words.

O'REILLY: There you go.

STEWART: "Pinheads & Patriots." It's on the bookshelves now. Bill O'Reilly.


All right. So who is a pinhead and who's a patriot in that exchange? Of course, you get to make the call.