Piers Morgan Bullies GOP Guest With Obama Foreign Policy Spin

CNN's Piers Morgan just couldn't let his Republican guest denounce President Obama's foreign policy. He spouted the White House spin on all the President's accomplishments while not holding him accountable for the Libya fiasco, on his Monday night show.

"I would say one of the things that Barack Obama has done incredibly successfully is restore a lot of America's very damaged reputation around the world since the eight years of George Bush and all the warfare that came with it," claimed Morgan.

But the President's global reputation has fallen since he entered office, according to a June Pew Research Center study. Approval of his international policies took a substantial hit, especially with Muslim countries where it fell by 15 points, or over 50 percent, from 2009.

"The reality is bin Laden is dead. He was alive four years ago. Gadhafi was alive four years ago. Mubarak was ruling Egypt four years ago. Many people would argue however difficult the situation is in the Middle East right now, and it is very complicated and very difficult, but actually, yes, America probably is better off knowing that those three are no longer ruling their countries, or in bin Laden's case, al Qaeda," Morgan argued for the President.

Morgan's reticence over the Libya fiasco on Monday points back to his ignorance of Libya on September 28, when his colleague Anderson Cooper provided breaking news on the situation there and questioned the actions of the Obama administration following the attacks. Morgan made no mention of Libya, though he found time for two segments on how the Romney campaign was in hot water.

On Monday, former GOP Senator Norm Coleman shot back at Morgan's liberal talking points. "Piers, I say respectfully, the Middle East is not – it is not more secure today than it was four years ago. Egypt is not a better place than it was four years ago. Syria is a mess," he argued.

"[W]hat I would want and what we didn't have and what we don't have is I'd like to have a strategy." He added, "In Syria, it's a mess. Iraq is a mess. And Iran is much closer to a nuclear weapon. So yeah, let's take a look where we were, the lack of a strategy, the lack of a strategic approach has caused this President -- whatever his policies were in the Middle East, I can't tell you what the strategy was but it's certainly a mess."

A transcript of the segment, which aired on October 8 on Piers Morgan Tonight at 9:04 p.m. EDT, is as follows:

[9:04]

PIERS MORGAN: Let's turn to your specialty, foreign policy. He made a big foreign policy speech today clearly trying to deal with the fact that most people assume he's a bit weak in that area. I guess my overview when I read the context of his speech was, where is he really that different to Barack Obama? I mean can you articulate for me exactly what the key difference would be, if he became president?

NORM COLEMAN (R), former U.S. Senator: A number of key differences. Key differences -- well first of all, let me kind of start in big picture and then we'll narrow in. This campaign should be about big issues. It should be about the American economy. It should be about rebuilding that, rebuilding the American military. American values. And what we're seeing with this President over four years is a weakening of the economy, a weakening of the military, and a weakening across the board in foreign policy.

Piers, tell me the place in the world where America today is more respected or safe and secure than we were four years ago. Certainly not in Syria, certainly not with Iran getting a nuclear weapon, it's certainly not the Middle East --

MORGAN: Actually, I would --

(Crosstalk)

COLEMAN: The only –

MORGAN: Hang on. Hang on. Hang on, Senator. Let me just stop you in your tracks. Because, actually, I would say one of the things that Barack Obama has done incredibly successfully is restore a lot of America's very damaged reputation around the world since the eight years of George Bush and all the warfare that came with it. So I would -- I would seriously question that. I've traveled a lot through Asia and Europe and so on.

(Crosstalk)

MORGAN: There's a lot of respect for America that certainly wasn't there six, seven years ago.

COLEMAN: The question is not whether you're better liked. It's always safe and secure. Is the situation in the Middle East any better than it was four years ago? Is it better in Iran? Is Iran further from getting a nuclear weapon –  

MORGAN: Well, hang on. Again, again, let me question you.

(Crosstalk)

COLEMAN: Piers, Piers –   

MORGAN: Whoa, whoa, whoa.

COLEMAN: Latin America –  

MORGAN: No, no, no. I'm not going to let you get away with that, because let's be pragmatic and sensible about what you just said. The reality is bin Laden is dead. He was alive four years ago. Gadhafi was alive four years ago. Mubarak was ruling Egypt four years ago. Many people would argue however difficult the situation is in the Middle East right now, and it is very complicated and very difficult, but actually, yes, America probably is better off knowing that those three are no longer ruling their countries, or in bin Laden's case, al Qaeda.

COLEMAN: And so an American embassy is attacked on the anniversary of July 4th – let me by the way step back. We applaud that Osama bin Laden is dead. But strategic – but tactical strikes taking out terrorist leaders does not overcome for a lack of strategy to provide greater stability. The Middle – Piers, I say respectfully, the Middle East is not -- it is not more secure today than it was four years ago. Egypt is not a better place than it was four years ago. Syria is a mess. Iraq --

MORGAN: So presumably you would like to see – would you like to see Mubarak?

COLEMAN: Israel is not more secure and Iran is closer to a nuclear weapon.

MORGAN: Well, hang on. You can't just – you can't just throw these things out, Senator. Presumably then, in that case, would -- would you -- would you want Mubarak and Gadhafi, if they were still around, to go back and take over again? I mean where would you go with this threat?

COLEMAN: Well, what I would want – well, let -- what I would want and what we didn't have and what we don't have is I'd like to have a strategy. And Mubarak in Egypt's place, what we did is we pulled back, substantially pulled back, Piers, from aid, from aid, you know, democracy forces. I serve on the board of National Endowment for Democracy, substantially cut back. We had no ears on the ground. We had an election process that then moved forward without the forces of democracy having a chance to mobilize, so what were you left with?

You're left with the Muslim Brotherhood. So it's not about whether Mubarak should be there. It's what strategically -- you know, you cited, again, you know, tactical things that the President has done. God bless him, it's a wonderful thing, Osama bin Laden is dead. But there has not been a strategy, and the result of it is that you've got a problem with what's happening in Egypt.

And when you ask, Piers, let me get back to the question you asked about differences. I articulated just a few. First of all, in Syria, we would have worked with and should be working with what I call the relevant forces of relevancy in that region, the Turks, the Emirates, even by -- we'd bring the Brits and bring the French and the German in. This President hasn't done that. Great article in the New York Times yesterday. Take a look at it. And you have Syrian opposition leaders saying that they've been abandoned – by the way, they say the West, but particularly by the United States – sitting on the sideline. And the result is that the Syrians are being radicalized. The forces of extremism are taking over.

It's the failure of America to lead, failure to bring folks together. Failure to be a player in that region that has caused us to be in a situation now where in Egypt, the leadership is one that is not clear they're going to enforce their treaties with Israel, they're going to be, you know, working to make sure that Israel isn't subjected to greater terrorist attacks from across the border.

In Syria, it's a mess. Iraq is a mess. And Iran is much closer to a nuclear weapon. So yeah, let's take a look where we were, the lack of a strategy, the lack of a strategic approach has caused this President -- whatever his policies were in the Middle East, I can't tell you what the strategy was but it's certainly a mess.
 

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014