Chris Cuomo Prompts Former Clinton Official to Defend Obama's Handling of Ukraine Crisis

CNN's Chris Cuomo tried to get former Assistant Secretary of State Jamie Rubin to defend President Obama's response to Russia's aggression in Ukraine during a segment on Wednesday's New Day. Cuomo cited how Russian President Vladimir Putin "did this in Georgia.....under President Bush" in 2008, and wondered, "Is it fair to look at this situation and say, the weakness or perception of weakness of President Obama has given a window of opportunity to Putin?"

The anchor didn't identify Rubin as either a former Clinton administration official or as the husband of CNN personality Christiane Amanpour. Interestingly, the State Department veteran didn't give Cuomo the response he was looking for: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]

JAMIE RUBIN, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: I think what's fair to say is that, over time, the U.S./Russian relationship has brake – broken down, and the commitment of the West – not just the United States, but all of the West – to these crucial principles – will borders be changed by force; can a slaughter occur in Syria with no response – all these crucial principles of international affairs have been weakened over time by the general unwillingness of countries in the West to stand up.

Before moving onto a related topic, the CNN anchor followed up by asking Rubin, "No one person to blame?" His guest replied, "No – absolutely not."

Moments earlier, as Cuomo cited Russia's invasion of Georgia during President Bush's last year in office, he inaccurately stated that Putin "went and actually killed people in Odessa, and regaining control of that place." The city of Odessa is actually in western Ukraine. The name of the region Georgia that Russian invaded is South Ossetia.

Cuomo has a record of running to President Obama's defense. Back in March 2014, the anchor went after former Senator Jim DeMint for his criticism of the chief executive's foreign policy, especially on the issues of Russia and Ukraine: "Isn't the notion that only might can make right tired? The American people do not have appetite for more military action, and everyone is condemning Putin...Isn't this proof that President Obama's tactic of let's try to talk; let's try to be flexible – not everything is about having the biggest muscles – may be the way the world wants to proceed?"

Two months earlier, Cuomo and correspondent Elizabeth Cohen blamed the insurance industry for the lack of enrollments of young adults in ObamaCare:


ELIZABETH COHEN: ...If you have too many older people, your costs are going to go up, up, up, and insurance companies...were essentially told to expect around 40 percent. And so, they set their premiums accordingly. And now, insurance companies might say, hold on a minute. You didn't give us as many young people as you said you would. That means the following year, we might have to hike those premiums up – and not just a little bit, but a lot.

CHRIS CUOMO: All right, here's the cynic in me, Elizabeth: isn't that convenient – that the insurance companies, who study actuarial tables the way I struggle with shirt-tie combinations, are now saying to the government, oh, we were depending on you for the numbers. That's curious....

COHEN: ..[I]s it possible that, between now and the end of March, we're going to have lots of young people come in; we are going to meet that 40 percent expectation? Absolutely, that's possible, and if that happens, that's great. But I'll tell you, if it doesn't happen, it really is a problem for the insurance companies. I don't mean to say, oh, the poor little insurance companies – I can be as cynical as the next person about insurance companies...But I will say that this is a real problem. They were told to expect a certain percentage. They set prices accordingly. If it stays at 25 percent, that is going to be a real economic issue.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center