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Bridget Johnson


November 18, 2012 - 3:11 pm

He was summoned to save President Obama’s re-election campaign, and now Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has suggested summoning Bill Clinton to step into Obama’s shoes to salvage any hope of peace in the Middle East.

“Remember, the president’s first priority in 2009 was the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Obviously, there was no progress there. And there are various reasons for it. We won’t waste the time,” McCain said this morning on CBS’ Face the Nation.

“I would find someone even as high-ranking, frankly, as former President Bill Clinton to go and be the negotiator,” he said. “I know he’d hate me for saying that, but we need a person of enormous prestige and influence to have these parties sit down together as an honest broker. But we have a lot of work to do to regain some credibility because we’re crumbling all over the Middle East.”

McCain noted that al-Qaeda is “on the comeback” with new footholds in Mali and western Iraq, Kurds and Iraqis are fighting, and Iran barrels toward nuclear weapons capability.

“You look at the whole Middle East and it has been a significant failure, not to mention our reset with the Russians,” he said.

The senator said that Obama’s lack of attention to the region has also contributed to the instability in Libya after the fall of Gadhafi.

“This goes back to the beginning, this ‘light footprint’ policy of this presidency. After we helped the Libyans oust Gadhafi, they needed a lot of help, and they could pay for it, by the way, with an army, secure their borders, get rid of these militias. It was in a country that was basically chaotic, and we did almost nothing,” McCain said.

“On September 25th at the United Nations, the president said a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world. I mean, even on the 25th, after it was well-known this was an al Qaeda-affiliated attack and not a spontaneous demonstration, there still was this obfuscating, and that is not appropriate for the American people.”

Regarding Obama’s lashing out at McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) for their opposition to a promotion for UN Ambassador Susan Rice, he said, “I wish the president wouldn’t get mad at me.”

“I wish he would spend our time together in finding out what happened, what caused it, and what we need — four brave Americans died,” McCain said.

“Their narrative of the president, I got bin Laden, al Qaeda is on the run, that narrative of reelection campaign. He hasn’t gotten them. Al Qaeda is not on the run. Al Qaeda is making a strong comeback all over the Middle East. They’ve got terrorist training camps in Iraq. They’ve taken over a country, Mali, in North Africa. They’re all over Libya. And so it may interfere with that narrative.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.
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