Obama Slammed for Islamic State Response and Strategy

November 18, 2015

President Obama got dismal reviews from across the political spectrum for his press conference performance Monday in Turkey and his obstinance in the face of a failing strategy to counter the Islamic State terrorist organization.

Obama, whose impatience became increasingly clear as he snapped at several reporters that their questions about IS were repetitive, said he had the "right strategy" to fight the terrorist group. This was less than one week after Obama called IS "contained," before the world watched as IS launched a horrific attack in Paris, France, that left more than 120 people dead.

The Washington Post condemned the "false choice" presented by a "petulant-sounding" Obama, where he appeared to straw-man his opponents by implying they want him to initiate a full-scale ground war. Liberal columnist Eugene Robinson wrote Obama sounded "patronizing" and "dismissive" as he doubled down on his IS strategy.

On MSNBC's Morning Joe Tuesday, host Joe Scarborough fretted that Obama sounded "disconnected from reality," and panelist Mark Halperin called Obama's performance "baffling." Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer lambasted Obama's "lassitude" and "passivity," pointing out that Obama only seemed to gain energy when he attacked Republicans.

Multiple onlookers like Chuck Todd, Peter Alexander, Lester Holt and Anderson Cooper noted Obama came off as "defensive." Fox News host Bill Hemmer, a morning news anchor not known for venturing into opinion during broadcasts, shook with suppressed anger Monday as he recounted Obama dismissing critics of his policies and calling the Paris terror a "setback."

As for Obama's insistence on the right path of his anti-IS strategy, skepticism was thick. CNN's Christiane Amanpour called the remark "incredible," and MSNBC panelist Mike Barnicle had even sharper words, suggesting from his sources that Obama has been repeatedly told that his strategy to destroy IS is "not nearly as effective as he, the president, wants it to be or thinks it is."

Amanpour also said Obama's claim to have IS contained was wrong, and she was joined in that opinion by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) during an interview on MSNBC.

"I've never been more concerned," she said. "I read the intelligence faithfully. ISIL is not contained. ISIL is expanding."