(DES MOINES, Iowa) — While President Obama was on the golf course in Martha’s Vineyard on Saturday, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was at the Iowa State Fair, criticizing the president’s foreign policy and telling the president to “spend less time on the golf course.”
Asked whether he thought President Obama should be vacationing in Massachusetts at the moment , Cruz accused Obama of being “an absentee president,” noting that he did not visit the border last month when he was in the state of Texas.
“I think the president should actually stand up and do his job as commander in chief, should spend less time on the golf course and more time doing the job to which he was elected,” Cruz told reporters after his speech at the Des Moines Register soapbox.
Cruz said airstrikes could be effective in Iraq but said President Obama has yet to detail a strategy for combatting ISIS.
“I am glad the president is finally demonstrating some leadership taking the threat from ISIS seriously, but unfortunately, he’s following the pattern that has characterized his foreign policy from the beginning of this tenure which he has laid out no clearly defined objective that we’re trying to accomplish that is key to defending U.S. national security,” Cruz said.
“Airstrikes could well make sense to degrade the lethality of ISIS if they are directed towards accomplishing a concrete defined military objective that furthers U.S. national security interests,” he said.
“What is missing right now is the commander in chief laying out a strategic vision, here is what we’re trying to accomplish so everyone will know when it’s accomplished, and here’s why it furthers U.S. national security interests. That only comes from the president, and unfortunately right now President Obama’s not providing that leadership.”
Before he left for Martha’s Vineyard, Obama warned Americans to prepare for a prolonged military fight over the skies of Iraq, striking a defensive and defiant tone over the need to reengage in a war he tried ending nearly three years ago.
The stabilization of a new and inclusive Iraqi government, Obama said, was central to determining how long the United States would stay engaged in the latest Iraq conflict. He said the U.S. would be a partner in the effort, but could not lead the way.
“Ultimately, only Iraqis can ensure the security and stability of Iraq,” Obama said. “The United States can’t do it for them, but we can and will be partners in that effort.”
At the Iowa State Fair, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal also weighed in on the situation in Iraq, criticizing the president and saying he has not outlined a longterm strategy for Iraq.
“I do think more could have been done before this point,” Jindal told ABC News. “And yet we still also haven’t heard from the president a comprehensive strategic perspective on what are his longterm plans. What does he intend to do with ISIS? Is this a limited bombing campaign? Is this going to be to defend the Kurds? Are we now committing air support to defend the Kurds? Are we committing ourselves to containing, reversing the gains that ISIS has made? It’s not clear what the strategic vision going forward is from this administration.”
Asked if Obama should cancel his vacation due to the situation in Iraq, Jindal said “Maybe he’ll actually do less damage if he stays away from his full time job, his day job.”
“The reality is the president has checked out,” he added.
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Eli Watkins, CNN
Dylan Byers, CNN
Ariane de Vogue and Laura Jarrett, CNN