Obama tackles the ‘appeasement’ question

The AP’s Ben Feller, during a brief press conference at the White House this morning, told President Obama, “Republican candidates have taken aim at your approach to foreign policy, particularly the Middle East and Israel, and accused you of appeasement.” Feller asked for the president’s reaction.

Obama offered a rather memorable response.

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For those who can’t watch videos online, the president told the press corps, “Ask Osama bin Laden and the 22-out-of-30 top al Qaeda leaders who’ve been taken off the field whether I engage in appeasement. Or whoever is left out there, ask them about that.”

Now, there’s a reasonable discussion to be had over whether the president should boast about how many people he’s had killed, even if the targets are al Qaeda terrorists.

Having acknowledged that legitimate concern, Obama’s brief response this morning was a reminder about how difficult Republicans will find it to attack this aspect of the administration’s record. To hear the GOP presidential candidates tell it yesterday, the president is not only weak and spineless, he’s arguably a modern-day Neville Chamberlain.

While sane people clearly know better, Obama just doesn’t have to try too hard to point to his record — the death of bin Laden, the decimation of al Qaeda, the end of the war in Iraq, the end of the Gadhafi regime in Libya, etc. — to make the Republican rhetoric appear literally unbelievable in the eyes of the American mainstream.