NBC and CNN correspondents took down false claims President Obama made on foreign policy during his State of the Union on Tuesday, calling it "not close to reality" and a depiction of a world that doesn't exist.
Obama drew criticism even before the address, when a leaked excerpt showed he would praise American leadership for "stopping ISIL," another name for the Islamic State, terrorizing the Middle East. NBC's Richard Engel outlined how that was an absurd claim during special coverage of the address Tuesday, saying the Obama administration's strategy was "disjointed" and that selling it as a success was "disingenuous."
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"It sounded like the president was outlining a world that he wishes we were all living in, but which is very different than the world that you just described with terror raids taking place across Europe, ISIS very much on the move," he said. "One thing the president said is that ‘American leadership, including our military power, is stopping ISIL's advance.' That just isn't the case, according to military officials that I've been speaking to."
Engel also debunked a claim Obama made about "supporting moderate Syrian opposition" to help in the effort against the Islamic State.
"That effectively isn't happening," Engel said. "There is no real support for the moderate Syrian opposition. In fact, one military official told me that they are calling the moderate Syrian opposition the unicorn because they have not been able to find it."
Bottom line, Engel said, was "there's not a lot of success stories to be talking about in foreign policy right now … The rose-colored glasses through which he was viewing the foreign policy were so rose-colored that I think they don't even reflect the world that we're living in."
"His projection of success against terrorism and against ISIL in particular is not close to reality," she said. "It's hard to see the progress that the president talked about."
CNN's Wolf Blitzer said such claims put Obama on "questionable ground."
Even MSNBC's Chris Matthews pondered about the "real world" that "he didn't really talk about."