OTR Interviews

Anti-American protests across the Middle East: A weak President Obama exposed?

Does the explosion of anti-American violence expose holes in Pres. Obama's foreign policy and expose him as a weak leader?

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," September 13, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: And the growing violence in the Mideast sparking new criticism of President Obama, Republican congressman Allen West suggesting it was the Obama administration's support for the Arab spring that encouraged the attacks.

Dick Morris is a former adviser to President Clinton. Good evening, Dick.

DICK MORRIS, DICKMORRIS.COM, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Hi. Well, I think that -- I think, absolutely, this is what happens when you have a weak presidency. Maybe Bush was too strong, and the casualty there is that people start turning against the war. But Obama is way too weak. And like with Jimmy Carter, when the American president is weak, our enemies are going to take advantage of him.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, how do we separate out that -- I mean, the crisis right now, we're looking at the beginnings of, we're looking at a protest, and of course, the -- I'm not going to -- I mean, the four murders -- I'll keep repeating that one. How do we separate out the real -- the real crisis that the nation is facing tonight there and the political impact? Because this does have a political impact back home. It's being used as a -- you know, a weapon back and forth.

MORRIS: Well, I think that the administration has some explaining to do. There's a newspaper in Britain, a credible source, The Independent, which says that senior diplomatic officials in the United States report that we had 48 hours' warning of the Libyan attack. And in any case, it doesn't take a genius to know that it's going to be September 11 and that that's a time when you need to bolster security, particularly in a region like Libya...

VAN SUSTEREN: Let me just -- let me stop you right there...

MORRIS: ... where there are so many weapons around.

VAN SUSTEREN: I saw that report and (INAUDIBLE) just -- you know, we've been trying to trace -- track that one down to see if we could corroborate it.

MORRIS: Well...

VAN SUSTEREN: And at least so far, our people here are unable to...

MORRIS: Yes, but...

VAN SUSTEREN: ... you know, corroborate that as being -- as being true...

MORRIS: Yes, but -- but a British newspaper, one of the major dailies in the United Kingdom, is not going to run with that story unless they have sources. And they said senior diplomatic source. That means American sources, not Hillary or her people, but from the diplomatic corps.

And I suspect that what's going on here is that they've lost one of their own and they're raising hell through this leak as to why the administration didn't act to correct -- to protect them.

VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, well, we looked...

MORRIS: But the important point here from -- for politics -- because that's what I'm here to talk about -- is not so much why the Muslims came after us -- probably was retaliation for the killing of one of their al Qaeda leaders and possibly September 11. I don't think the movie was anything more than a pretext.

But the real question is what is the political impact of a president who is so busy campaigning that, number one, he can't meet with Netanyahu during a period of crisis because he's far too busy on Letterman that night, and secondly, who misses half of his intelligence briefings, and thirdly, didn't take serious warnings 48 hours in advance that this attack was going to happen, and finally, approved an American diplomatic embassy statement apologizing for the video and condemning it, rather than condemning the violence. Then he walked the statement back...

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I...

(CROSSTALK)

VAN SUSTEREN: I don't understand...

MORRIS: ... and Romney re-upped the statement and they then tried to criticize Romney for that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, what I don't understand -- I mean, you know, whether there was 48 hours' notice or not, which I say we've been unable to verify it, but certainly, this -- this region is a powderkeg and we certainly should have known that because there was such a swift reaction.

Frankly, I don't -- I'm -- I'm curious whether any of our -- any of the people who have spoken out on behalf of the administration about this movie have actually looked at the movie or whether they're just relying on the words...

MORRIS: Greta, forget about the movie.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... about what is in the movie.

MORRIS: It's got nothing to do...

VAN SUSTEREN: No, no. I...

MORRIS: The movie is just propaganda put out there.

VAN SUSTEREN: It's a pretext.

MORRIS: It's not -- it's got nothing -- it's got nothing...

VAN SUSTEREN: I got that.

MORRIS: ... to do with the movie.

VAN SUSTEREN: I got that, but...

MORRIS: But -- and Greta...

(CROSSTALK)

VAN SUSTEREN: Nonetheless -- nonetheless, Dick, it's part of the narrative because it's being used. I agree it's a pretext, and it may be completely phony, but that is at least the pretext, and it is part of the narrative and part of the thing that we are now dealing with tonight, you know, as this crisis is growing.

MORRIS: Why would they have -- why would the United States government have four Marines guarding this embassy in Libya with the instruction that they should carry no ammunition in their guns? What is this about?

They knew it was September 11. They knew that something was going to happen, if they didn't have specific 48 hours' notice. Every September 11 -- and we're not talking about the American embassy in, you know, Bangladesh or something. We're talking about it right in the middle of the Middle East, in a country that's enormously unstable. Let me also say this...

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, I...

MORRIS: ... the politics of it, Greta...

VAN SUSTEREN: Let me just say what -- let me just say -- let me respond to that for a second. I -- and frankly, I just -- for me, it seems so amateurish that we didn't know that this was an extremely volatile situation. And I say that as I -- as I reverse-engineer it. You don't have all these places erupt all at once if this has not been a simmering, serious problem, and it's very amateur that we didn't see this coming that way. At least, that's what I think tonight, based on the limited information I have tonight.

MORRIS: Now, I think there's another dimension, though, that's even more important. When things went wrong in Iraq, we blamed Bush. When things went wrong in Vietnam, we blamed Nixon or Johnson. When things went wrong in Korea, we blamed Truman.

When things go wrong in Iraq, we blame Obama -- I'm sorry, in Libya. Libya is Obama's war. He started it. He fought it. He spent $2 billion on it. He did the no-fly zone. And the Arab spring is something that he's encouraged from the very beginning. And now it's exploding on his watch, and I think that this is his crisis.

VAN SUSTEREN: Dick, thank you.

MORRIS: Thank you.