DETROIT (Talk Radio 1270) GOP Senate candidate and former U.S. Congressman Pete Hoekstra, once chairman of the powerful House Intelligence Committee, defended Mitt Romney's remarks on the deadly Libyan attack and said more are coming under President Barack Obama's policies.
Romney has been roundly criticized by many, including top Republican leaders, for bashing Obama's reaction to the deadly embassy attacks as they were still unfolding, and claiming the president's administration had "issued a statement sympathizing with those who had breached our embassy in Egypt."
During a Thursday morning interview on the Charlie Langton Talk Radio 1270 show, Langton asked: Are Mitt Romney's remarks correct? "Yes," Hoekstra said, "People are criticizing the timing and it's kind of like 'excuse me, the president last night was on TV at a campaign rally in Nevada. He didn't take any time off from the campaign trail.'
"We are eight weeks from one of the most crucial elections in American history, I am glad that Gov. Romney is speaking out on his views on national security, the president clearly is, he's doing it at campaign rallies. It is very appropriate to have this dialogue. The attacks (on Romney) are totally unfounded, inappropriate, we need to have to his debate, we have needed to have this debate."
Hoekstra is trying to catch up to incumbent Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow, with recent polls showing him trailing her by double digits. Hoekstra drew fire early in the campaign for a Super Bowl Sunday ad that showed a young Asian girl in a rice paddy, describing Stabenow in stereotypically broken English as "Debbie Spend it Now." Hoekstra's newest ad calls Stabenow the worst Senator in Michigan's history.
On the international front, Hoekstra said the embassy attacks were pre-planned.
"What happened on 9/11 2012 was a planned, pre-meditated, coordinated attack against our embassies in both the U.S. and Libya has nothing to do with this movie, it's all about the anniversary of 9/11, it is all about American weakness in a number of countries throughout the Middle East," Hoekstra said.
"Al Quada radical jihadists have identified the soft underbelly, this vulnerability of American diplomats throughout North America, throughout the Middle East, they chose 9/11 2012 as the day to take advantage of it."
And he blames Obama.
"What the president has done is make American more vulnerable throughout the Middle East and I think what we can see is, in over the coming days, the coming months, radical jihadist are going to take advantage of this ... The weak policies of this president have put us in this position," Hoekstra said.
He praised former President George W. Bush's foreign policies, saying, "We had a pattern for under the Bush Administration, and sure, there were problems with his tactics ... But at least radical jihadists they knew they had to fear the United States, that we were strong in our commitment to defeat them. The Muslim Brotherhood knew we had allies, an ally in Egypt who would do everything he could to minimize the power of the Muslim Brotherhood.
"This president has changed those dynamics... We are extremely vulnerable."
He went on to say, "In Afghanistan, we have a president, President Karzai, who does not condemn the attacks in Libya or Egypt, but condemns the movie in the United States. Why is Karzai doing that? He knows we're gone in another year-and-a-half, that the United States is exiting Afghanistan so he's trying to cover his backside with the Taliban and the radical element, so I would think that we're also vulnerable in Afghanistan. Sure, I think this is going to be a pattern."
Hoekstra ended the interview with this dire warning: "The threat from radical jihadism, it is real, it is continuing, if we don't confront it and try to contain it, we will continue to be attacked by it and we will pay severe consequences."
Caller Jeff weighed in later, saying Hoekstra's positions were frightening. "The idea that Pete Hoekstra is out there voicing these options ... This chills me to my marrow."
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