On “Morning Joe,” I asked the former Pennsylvania governor and homeland big in the Bush administration how he would rate the incumbent on protecting the nation, and I was a little surprised by his evaluation.
My educated guess: Chicago will hit back hard with its Ridge oppo file (probably by the time you have read this).
Watch it above.
Read what Ridge said below:
Halperin: As voters evaluate President Obama and the job he’s done, what grade would you give him as a homeland security President?
Ridge: “Well, I’ve always been troubled by the fact that the President and many in the administration from the homeland security perspective when it comes to the Jihadists and the extremists view them as — view it as criminal activity. I think that’s a — I don’t think, within that characterization, there’s that sense of urgency that I think that we need to always be on our toes, to be a lot more vigilant about the threat of these Jihadists. When it comes to the broader national security interests, I must express supreme and extreme disappointment. In the fact that for whatever reason, and regardless of the source, there have been serious, serious security leaks. Around the bin Laden raid, around the virus involving the Iranian nuclear program, around, again, the doctor that we threw under the bus that assisted us in getting information. There was a revelation that we had a double agent in Yemen that enabled us to break up a terrorist cell, a threatened plot. So, there’s a series of things that the President has done that I think, frankly, disappoints us. And, frankly, the security leaks in my judgment are a major national security problem.”
Ridge: You got to give President Obama credit for taking out bin Laden. Now, the infrastructure upon which he was able to base that decision, both the military infrastructure and the intelligence infrastructure, was in large measure because of the work done by the previous administration. But he does get an “A” for making the decision and he deserves it.
Halperin: So, overall, a success or a failure as a national security president?
Ridge: I think a “C.” Look what’s going on. I mean, if you think about this, and I don’t like giving out grades, but a “C” seems appropriate. I think we rely on the UN extensively, perhaps too much. I’m not quite sure that we’ve developed over the past three-and-a-half years, the kind of personal relationships with foreign leaders that are essential for this country to work and develop a multilateral response to some of the crises we see in the world today. i think the president has created some distance between us and the best ally we have in the middle east and that’s Israel. And I’ll tell you one other thing. The wife of the assassinated prime minister of Lebanon, Mrs. Hariri, and I had a conversation quite some time ago and said to me, “In our part of the world, it’s better to be respected than liked.” They take a look and we don’t seem to be — there’s a level of expectation that America will lead in times of crisis and there are those who think we’re somewhat introspective these days and somewhat self-doubting and have not really been the kind of leader that the free world looks to when they look to the President of the United States.