Obama Responds to Palin Nuclear Policy Criticism
A politically smart idea or not? President Barack Obama has responded to criticism by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on his nuclear defense policy:
President Barack Obama on Thursday made clear he was not going to take advice from Republican Sarah Palin when it comes to decisions about the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
Palin, the former vice presidential candidate, has not been shy about criticizing Obama’s policies and this week weighed in on his revamped nuclear strategy, saying it was like a child in a playground who says ‘punch me in the face, I’m not going to retaliate.’
“I really have no response to that. The last I checked, Sarah Palin is not much of an expert on nuclear issues,” Obama said in an interview with ABC News.
Pressed further on Republican criticism that his strategy restricts the use of nuclear weapons too much, Obama added:
“What I would say to them is, is that if the secretary of defense and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff are comfortable with it, I’m probably going to take my advice from them and not from Sarah Palin.
There are two schools of thought on how a President should respond to this kind of criticism.
One is that charges out there that go unanswered in a politically charged atmosphere remain unless they are answered. That was was the whole idea behind Bill Clinton’s perpetual “war room” during his Presidential campaign — and its continued operation when he became President.
The other is that by responding to someone who is not a candidate for the opposition yet in a strong manner is the best favor a President can do to that aspiring politico. The most famous case was LBJ blasting Richard Nixon: accounts later noted how it helped Nixon and Nixon was quite happy about it.
The net result is that Obama’s comments will spur Palin on to comment some more — specifically on his comments about her comments and even though not a single, solitary vote has been cast in the 2012 primaries yet Palin will be perceived to be the front runner. She is the biggest GOP attention getting right now (except for Michael Steele, of course).
Obama’s criticism are probably unfair anyway: Palin could probably see Russia from Alaska from her home and of course Russia has nuclear arsenals so she would therefore know a lot about nuclear arsenals.
Or so the argument will probably go..
UPDATE: There is now a mini-controversy over the question that Obama was asked that brought his comment about Palin.