Santorum 'Fact-Checks' CNN on Obama's 'Appeasement'

This Sunday morning, on CNN’s State of the Union, Candy Crowley attempted to “fact-check” Sen. Rick Santorum for his statement to the Republican Jewish Coalition on Dec. 7 that President Barack Obama had pursued a foreign policy of “appeasement.”

Her apparent intent–as with other so-called “fact-checking” efforts–was to attack what has been, and remains, an accurate and effective summary of Obama’s approach to hostile regimes.

Crowley must have thought she had Santorum cornered. After all, President Obama’s stern response to Santorum on Dec. 8 had provided a frisson of delight to liberals like Chris Matthews of MSNBC, who declared: “President Obama’s fierce defense against Republican charges of appeasement proves once again that if you underestimate this president, you may do so at your peril.”

But Santorum stood his ground–and then some.

The video and full transcript of their exchange is below. What emerges is Crowley’s adherence to pro-Obama talking points and her eagerness–like much of the rest of the mainstream media–to be impressed when Obama talks tough against his opponents, regardless of whether or not his response is true or complete. She is surprised when Santorum turns the tables and “fact-checks” her false assertions about Obama’s record.

CROWLEY: Let me move you along to something that you said last Wednesday at a Republican Jewish conference, talking about the President, his foreign policy. I’m going to play that for our viewers as well as something that the President said in response.

SANTORUM (VIDEO): This president, for every thug and hooligan, for every radical Islamist, he has had nothing but appeasement.

OBAMA (VIDEO): Ask Osama bin Laden and the 22 out of 30 top Al Qaeda leaders who have been taken off the field whether I engage in appeasement.

CROWLEY: Appeasement? I mean this is a president who has killed more terrorists than were killed in the Bush administration. He took out Osama bin Laden. He has launched more drone attacks against terrorist targets than the Bush administration did, and yet you accuse him of appeasement–which is a very loaded word, as you know, toward terrorists.

SANTORUM: It’s a very accurate word. What President Obama was doing was continuing existing Bush policies with respect to Al Qaeda and respect to Afghanistan. I was talking about the new threats that have come up under his [Obama’s] administration. And at every single turn the President has appeased those who would do us harm. Let’s talk about President Ahmadinejad and the Iranians who are the biggest threat to Israel and to our national security. He has done nothing but appease the Iranians to say that he will negotiate, in fact did negotiate, tried to negotiate without preconditions–

CROWLEY: He imposed sanctions, did he not?

SANTORUM: He imposed weak sanctions. He opposed tough sanctions–

CROWLEY: Imposed.

SANTORUM: –and continues to oppose any meaningful sanctions, impose any meaningful sanctions on the Iranians. He has done nothing to try to stop their nuclear program. I mean we have a nuclear program that is under way. He is refusing do anything covertly or militarily to try to stop a weapon that will fundamentally change the national security position of this country and the world by having this purveyor of terror who has–

CROWLEY: Essentially, what would you like him–what would Rick Santorum do?

SANTORUM: Rick Santorum would be funding the pro-democracy movement, which President Obama has not done. It was a bill that I passed to help, I was author of back in 2006, that gave money–was supposed to give money to help the pro-democracy movement in Iran. The president has not spent a penny in Iran to try to do that. [I] would [be] imposing tougher sanctions, which the president has opposed. Number three, we would be using all of our assets to use covert activity to disrupt and destroy the capability of them to develop a missile technology, as well as nuclear technology. And fourth, I would be working with the Israelis and publicly stating that Iran must abandon this nuclear weapons program, must open it up to inspectors, or else we will work with the State of Israel to take out and degrade that capability via military force.

CROWLEY: Let me just–let me try to button this up by saying a couple things. First, I know the President has, in fact, imposed some tougher sanctions and has, in fact, said nothing’s off the table when it comes to Iran and its nuclear capabilities–

SANTORUM: Well, Candy, hold on. hold on. Candy, hold on. Stop, Candy. That’s just not true. Ask [Democratic Senator] Robert Menendez, and ask all the folks in the United States Senate who want to impose the real sanctions that will make a difference on Iran, and the president has opposed it. Now that’s just a fact. He also has recognized the state of Syria, called Assad a reformer, has continued to have an embassy there, when in fact this is a real thug that is a real threat to the State of Israel and to the stability of the region. And again, here’s the interesting link. It [Syria] is a client state of Iran–the greatest area he has appeased is Iran, which is the greatest threat and here he is, recognizing Assad, setting up an ambassadorship with a client state of Iran who is a great funder of Hezbollah, a threat to Israel and the region. You go to Egypt. Again, he supported the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Salafists, as it turns out, into overthrowing an ally in Egypt. There is a consistent pattern of contingencies that have come up under this administration where he has opposed the freedom fighters and has gone with the radical Islamists. That is a problem for the security of Israel and our country.

CROWLEY: Okay. let me move you on. I think we could probably go round and round a couple times on this…

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