Ex-NYT's Frank Rich Defends Obama Foreign Policy, Believes Should Be Reelected

On the Monday, January 9, Imus in the Morning, as he was interviewed by phone, New York magazine's Frank Rich - formerly of the New York Times - argued that he believes President Obama should be reelected, and seemed befuddled when host Don Imus, who plans to vote for Mitt Romney, asserted that Obama's foreign policy has been "disastrous." The liberal columnist then tried to give President Obama credit for the death of Osama bin Laden.

After Imus asked, "So you like President Obama, don't you? I mean, you'll vote-"

Rich responded: (Video below)

Yeah, I have my disappointments with him, but certainly, I like him as a person and whatever, however, you know, mixed the record is, and I think he's going to be a more formidable candidate than a lot of people have been expecting, particularly if the economy continues to inch up even a little bit.

The liberal columnist argued that Obama "helped stem or tamp down what could have been a great depression," but still asserted that the President did not "focus on jobs enough." Rich:

I do think that he helped stem or tamp down what could have been a great depression. Did he do it good enough? Absolutely not. The job situation, did he focus on jobs enough? Absolutely not, but I felt that he was competent on the big picture. He set, tried to set a decent tone in washington. It hasn't succeeded, but I don't know if anyone could, and he's, you know, done some other things that I think are pluses, including, for instance, ending discrimination against gay people in the military, just to take one example.

Imus soon criticized Obama's foreign policy, leading to Rich defending the President:

DON IMUS: Even you who, Frank Rich, who clearly is mainlining the kool-aid, which is fine, by the way, would have to agree, though, that he's had a disastrous tenure in terms of foreign policy.

FRANK RICH: Really? I mean, he killed, he killed Osama bin Laden.

IMUS: He didn't do anything of the sort.

RICH: Well, you know, I mean-

IMUS: I mean, it took 10 years of intelligence from going back to that dope Bush, I was no big fan of, and he pulled the trigger, I mean, the Navy Seals, I would have done that, anybody would have done that, so.

The liberal columnist went on to argue that President Obama's foreign policy record is "mixed," and that, even in areas that are going poorly, his belief that no one else could have improved matters anyway. Rich:

Well, you know, I feel the record, I feel his record on foreign policy is much, much more mixed. I feel that he got us, he fulfilled his promise about Iraq and to people like Rick Perry who say we should go invade Iraq again because of the unrest there and seriously think that more Americans should be killed to prop up a government that can't get its act together in Iraq. And in Afghanistan, and Pakistan, the jury is out. And I don't know who would have done anything much differently. Do you? I mean, am I missing something?

He continued:

I feel that he's, his record there is mixed. I feel his record on almost everything has been mixed. But I don't think it's been a disaster. He got, you know, we're out of the war that he said he would get us out of, and in Afghanistan if it's a total mess, but it's no, I'm not sure anyone else would have done it differently,

Below are both video and a transcript of the relevant portion of the Monday, January 9, Imus in the Morning on FBN:


DON IMUS: So you like President Obama, don't you? I mean, you'll vote-

FRANK RICH, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Yeah, I have my disappointments with him, but certainly, I like him as a person and whatever, however, you know, mixed the record is, and I think he's going to be a more formidable candidate than a lot of people have been expecting, particularly if the economy continues to inch up even a little bit.

IMUS: Okay, do you think he should be reelected?

RICH: Yeah, I do.

IMUS: Why? Tell me why.

RICH: I think that, unlike many of the Republicans on that stage, I do think that he helped stem or tamp down what could have been a great depression. Did he do it good enough? Absolutely not. The job situation, did he focus on jobs enough? Absolutely not, but I felt that he was competent on the big picture. He set, tried to set a decent tone in washington. It hasn't succeeded, but I don't know if anyone could, and he's, you know, done some other things that I think are pluses, including, for instance, ending discrimination against gay people in the military, just to take one example.

 If there's a really formidable candidate with an alternative that's clear, I'll listen to it. It's too early to tell because basically if you have other people in the party fighting against each other, it's so parochial. They're not, no one's stepping up to the beg picture yet, and nor can they because they can't until they go up against obama.

IMUS: Even you who, Frank Rich, who clearly is mainlining the kool-aid, which is fine, by the way, would have to agree, though, that he's had a disastrous tenure in terms of foreign policy.

RICH: Really?

IMUS: What?

RICH: I mean, he killed, he killed Osama bin Laden.

IMUS: He didn't do anything of the sort.

RICH: Well, you know, I mean-

IMUS: I mean, it took 10 years of intelligence from going back to that dope Bush, I was no big fan of-

RICH: Right.

IMUS: -and he pulled the trigger, I mean, the Navy Seals, I would have done that, anybody would have done that, so.

RICH: Well, you know, I feel the record, I feel his record on foreign policy is much, much more mixed. I feel that he got us, he fulfilled his promise about Iraq and to people like Rick Perry who say we should go invade Iraq again because of the unrest there and seriously think that more Americans should be killed to prop up a government that can't get its act together in Iraq. And in Afghanistan, and Pakistan, the jury is out. And I don't know who would have done anything much differently. Do you? I mean, am I missing something? Is there some other-

IMUS: It's not your job to come on this program and ask me questions. You've known me for 25 years. You know I don't know anything.

RICH: But I, you know, I feel that he's, his record there is mixed. I feel his record on almost everything has been mixed. But I don't think it's been a disaster. He got, you know, we're out of the war that he said he would get us out of, and in Afghanistan if it's a total mess, but it's no, I'm not sure anyone else would have done it differently, and he's been, and his, in spite of criticisms from his own flank and from liberals, he's been relentless with these drones trying to take out the people that are trying to terrorize and kill Americans.