Obama Blames Criticism of ISIS Strategy on Poor Messaging

December 21, 2015

President Obama blamed public criticism of his strategy to defeat the Islamic State on poor messaging during an NPR interview posted Monday.

Obama's approval rating has dropped to 43 percent overall, with 60 percent disapproving of how he has handled ISIS, the group he once dismissed as a mere "JV team" that has metastasized into a caliphate with murderous, global ambitions.

Much of the criticism has been directed at Obama for declaring ISIS to be "contained" last month. That same week, ISIS launched an attack on Paris, France, that killed 130 people. On Dec. 2, an Islamic couple that was inspired by ISIS killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California.

However, Obama told NPR's Steve Inskeep that the "legitimate criticism" of his administration stemmed from the public not knowing all the actions the White House has taken to combat the terrorist group.

"On our side, I think that there is a legitimate criticism of what I've been doing and our administration's been doing in the sense that we haven't, on a regular basis, described all the work that we've been doing for more than a year now to defeat ISIL," Obama said, using an alternate acronym for ISIS.

"So if people haven't seen the fact that 9,000 strikes have been carried out against ISIL, if they don't know that towns like Sinjar that were controlled by ISIL have been taken back, or that a town like Tikrit that was controlled by ISIL now has been repopulated by previous residents, then they might feel as if there's not enough of a response.

"So part of our goal here is to make sure that people are informed about all the actions that we're taking."