(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
The United States is in a very tough spot when it comes to Libya, and President Obama has taken some heat for not being more vocal on the crisis.
The White House has said repeatedly it's weighing its options, and that nothing is off the table. But the president has said little more. And we've been "weighing" for a while now.
The president is walking a tightrope: If the U.S. acts unilaterally - no matter how noble the cause of helping those in Libya fighting for their freedom - we will be seen as interfering in yet another Muslim nation's business. That perception is what got us 9/11.
So, President Obama isn't saying much publicly. He's had strong words for Gadhafi, demanding he step down; but he's stopped short of calling for any other specifics. Gadhafi's still there.
In the meantime, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has emerged as the mouthpiece for the administration. She traveled to Geneva last week to meet with top diplomats and discuss military and humanitarian options.
Clinton told Sky News yesterday that the U.S. wants to see the international community support a no-fly zone. She also said it was important that the United Nations decide what to do about the conflict in Libya, not the United States.
Some of the president's top aides were scheduled to meet today to discuss the situation in Libya, including Secretary of State Clinton, Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen. But the President of the United States, the Commander in Chief, was not scheduled to attend.
Here’s my question to you: When it comes to Libya, who has the stronger voice: Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Without a doubt, Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately, she cannot get that far ahead of the White House message, and even worse, the White House hasn't yet made up their mind. Too bad we don't have an adult in the White House as we do at the State Department.
Ram in San Jose, California:
Absolutely the stronger and more resolute voice consistently has been Hillary Clinton who warned presciently in Doha that the foundations of progress in the Middle East are 'sinking into the sand,' and that the region faces disaster without real reforms. Events starting with Tunisia to Egypt have proven her wisdom right.
Rich in Texas:
Neither. Talk is cheap, Jack. Both Obama and Clinton can talk until they are blue in the face and the result will be the same. People in Libya will still die. Giving lip service to the media only builds a stronger case for replacement in the next presidential election.
Jenny in Nanuet, New York:
They're both doing what's appropriate for their positions in the administration. Together, they're playing it perfectly as to not stoke anti-Americanism.
I'm not a big fan of Clinton, but I think she is a stronger voice on many issues than Obama. Obama has not demonstrated the leadership skills or his professed leadership skills since his campaign. The United States is the greatest nation in the world and we deserve a great leader which we surely do not have at this time.
Cal in Norwalk, Ohio:
Easy. Neither one.
Who knows whose voice is stronger? While we talk, talk, talk, the brave people of Libya are dying. For God's sake, level the playing field with a "no fly zone." Give them a chance.
Kirk in Apple Valley, Minnesota:
Who cares? I'm tired of hearing about Libya. What are we going to do about it anyway? Invade?
I'm not a big fan of Clinton, but I think she is a stronger voice on many issues than obama. obama has not demonstrated the leadership skills or his professed leadership skills since his campaign.
The United States is the greatest nation in the world and we deserve a great leader which we surely do not have at this time. We want/need a leader who knows how to manage; who doesn't apologize for our great nation; one who is courageous, loves our country and listens to the voice of the people.
God bless America!
2012 can't come soon enough!
At this point Hillary. But in fact that is part of her job to find facts and be firm and strong. I can not see how we can wait much longer. Wait for who the U.N. that almost never does anything. Nato who never really wants to admit we almost do all of any action. Be strong and do something and hope it ends up right.
The question you ask, sounds more like "Divide and Conquer".
It doesnt matter though, because neither the Republicans nor the Democrats can put America on a straight path to prosperity. Oil is the achilles heel of world economies. Question for you Jack, what happens to world economies when the Middle East; Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Lybia fall and the oil they so covenant so much is decimated by war.
without a doubt hillary clinton. unfortunately, she cannot get that far ahead of the white house 'message', and even worse, the white house hasn't yet made up their mind... too bad we don't have an adult in the white house as we do at the state department.
Stronger voice, how about no voice, it's not our country. We need to keep our nosy butt out of this, hell, our own corrupt elects can't even run our own country, let alone, Libya.
Jack it looks to me, and I suspect to other countries too that this administration is "grid locked" and frankly in over their head. It does not have a clear position other than "no position". They talk piece and cum by ya, but are clueless how the world really works. Clinton nods her head behind Obama like a "bobble head doll" which gives the appearances of inability of thinking for herself which I doubt is really true. But, frankly, she has not shown much ability to develop and international strategy either. Jack, I believe we are now ship without a compass, map and rudder. We're all show but no go. We'll be paying for this in the international business community for a long time.
Jack, this is nonsense. When China was having trouble in Tianamin Square, we didn't we send troops? When Yeltsin stood up to the Russian old guard, why didn't we send troops. It's because we are a bully and try to pick a fight only with countries we are sure we can whip. Let the Libyans decide their own issues. We are not the worlds policeman or do we want to be a policeman for countries with 1[15 our population.
Niether. Tthey talk a good line but no action. They wait for public opinion surveys, by that time it's to late. The problem either goes away or the damage is done with no irreversible action that can be taken. . Good example is the Ruwanda problem or the Somali pirate problem, two to four pirates in a little row boat attacking huge ships/tankers with 25-30 people on the ship.The little row boat overpowers a big huge ship.
This has been going on for years. No logic to these problems. We can't even win a dirty war , because we are clean and the goernment is afraid of the Press. Maybe we should get rid of the press and some action would get taken?? Ask that question Jack, is the press a hinderance???
They're both doing what's appropriate for their positions in the administration. Together, they're playing it perfectly as to not stoke anti-Americanism.
Obama has the stronger voice by default of the bully pulpit. But Clinton is the one who is making all the intelligent statements and the only one who is making sense. Good Lord! How did we ever make such an idiotically bad choice in 2008?
Jack: What are we, the World Police? Libya is none of our business and the President is doing a stellar job of waiting & watching. Hillary Clinton is right in that the United Nations should handle the Libyan situation. Hawks like McCain & Kerry who want no-fly zones in place, are fools. Time for us to butt out!
In regard to Libya, we can't take care of others , unless we take care of ourselves first.
Hillary all the way. She needs to run in 2012!
It's just mean the same as the chinese welfare. America Businesses are not worried that they are operating in a communist country.
It is important to remember that Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, is the spokesperson for foreign affairs, and Barack Obama,, as President, is Commander in Chief.
For me, it's more important to consider whether each is speaking from their authority, which I think they are doing just right in a very tough situation.
As for their critics, they deserve to be ignored.
I say President Obama has a stronger voice on libya because I'm sure he would want anything bad to happen to ghadafi. I havnt heard to much from clinton, she says the same thing as obama but not as strongly. She just repeats what she says
we will be seen as interfering in yet another Muslim nation's business. That perception is what got us 9/11.
What?? Thats a pretty misguided statement Jack. It's right up there with the notion that Clinton or Obama has spoken strongly at all about Libya...
At this point I think the strongest voice in Libya seems to bee that of Gadhafi!
I wonder if we are going to sit by and let him slaughter his own people, or are we going to add another war to our agenda?
Aren't we spread a little thin already? But I guess if we cut all the 'entitlements' for our citizens who have EARNED them, we could fund another war and get a bunch more of our soldiers killed!
I am grateful that he is President and she is Secretary of State, I would just leave it at that.
Hillary is doing exactly what Obama has directed her to do. She's sounding out leaders in other countries and building consensus for whatever options are being looked at. Obama is walking the fine line just right. It really is a change from old George W. though, isn't it. He would have had us in a third war by now.
Doesn't, Sec of State Clinton, work for the president? So I'd say President Obama has the stronger voice. I'm sure he's working behind the scenes, trying not to get us in another war.
On the other hand if, Senator John " Bomb baby, bomb" , " At least Apple products are made here" McCain, were the man. We would be at war in, Egypt, Yeman, Tunisia, Libya and we be into Iran, for about two years now. Ah, the power of the vote.
Excuse me but Hilary WORKS for the Pres and doesn't say anything he doesn't want her to say publically! Will everybody please stop second-guessing the Pres? I think he is privy to a lot more info than you or me!
Well Jack, as Secretary of State, I think Clinton has the stronger voice. We have to be very careful in our effort to aid the Libyian rebels and should NOT take it upon ourselves to instigate a "no fly zone" without international cooperation. We don't want to be in a position of "owning the moves taken" because the Arab world hates us enough already. I do think this should be done to protect the people who are caught in the crossfire without the weapons that the government of libya has.
Well, I think it's pretty obvious that Hillary has been much more vocal about this, but it makes sense. Being the "mouthpiece of the administration" is her job in these kinds of situations, after all.
Still, it would be nice to see Obama take some open leadership on something for a change.
Does it matter?
It is time the U.S. work in conjunction with other countries to mend the World's woes, we confuse leadership with domination sometimes.
I for one am tired of spending my money to support this county's running to put out every international fire and doing nothing but get burned in the end. Obama has it right, calm and steady, and do the right thing not the impetuous thing (remember WMD's??).
Bankers probably have more power than Obama and Clinton together. By reducing his access to cash or ability to write checks, Gadhafi will quickly lose his supporters. They might simply just not accept Libya's currency.
You write : no matter how noble the cause of helping those in Libya fighting for their freedom
They are not fightng fairly and they are dying!
It is about stopping a tyrant killing his own people and cleaning up his mess!
Neither. Neither they nor anyone else knows the right thing to say or do. We are just one mistake away from a screw-up. We can't control the Middle East and we are cursed if we try. best to just shut up.
I would like to think the State Department are the experts on Libya and how to approach the situation. Therefore, Hilary Clinton as Secretary of State should be leading and the President should be backing her up and following her lead. If not, then we have a problem, a big problem.
It makes no difference, Jack. As you know, "actions speak louder than words." And since NATO is often referred to as "No Action, Talk Only," when you connect the dots there ain't nothing gonna happen.
Joe in Delray Beach, FL
The real voice belongs to the international oil corporations and weapon dealers. Libya has a pretty good stash of weapons and cash. They may decide. Fifty tanks, fighter jets and heavy machine guns speak pretty loudly.
It is always appropriate for the President to remain somewhat above the fray and have a subordinate attack dog to deliver the message in a more strident way. Eisenhower had Nixon and Dulles; Nixon had Agnew. "W" had Cheney, and now Obama has Clinton. It's a tried and true formula for our diplomacy.
Hillary is a globalist aligning the central banks to ultimately take over the Middle East. THAT needs to be prevented above all.
neither! the world knows obama is not a capable leader and don't trust in him! as for hillary, she is just a mouth peice for him! until he shows real leadership in anything,no one around the world can take him as a powerful person. Right now, who cares? i dont!
Hillary of course. It's all about politics and having excuses to take action. Let Hillary carry the weight of getting us involved in some sort of no fly zone enforcement...then when we get shot at enough times...Obama has the perfect excuse to "send in the troops" without being seen as the one who stared us down another insane path of Middle East involvement.
Sound crazy? Of course it does, it's what we do well.
Hillary Clinton, but then IT IS HER job. Mr. Obama is doing the right thing...keeping us from becoming embroiled in what could easily become an international dog fight rather than opening his mouth to insert his foot, like some past presidents have done. He is much too smart for that!
Why doesn't any one point out the fact we can pin point missiles from far away. Out of reach of Gadafi's air defense.
Remember desert storm, and all those videos of us shooting missiles through the front door of bunkers from 5+ miles away?
They act like we don't have the super advanced technology we have, and they act like Gadafi does have more technology then he really does.
US fighting Gadafi is like elementary school fighting college students.
It's just not as tough as they make it out to be. There being cowards.
There seem to be a difference between American socialism and European. I would like to know what or why we look so different at the subject.
Why an "either-or" question? How about option C – "None of the Above."
Clinton works for Obama per the Constitution so countermanding his foriegn policy would be tantamount to coup coup d'etat. They're Constitutionally joined at the hip. They referred Arizona to the UN when they didn't like legislation to deter illegal aliens yet the policy for Egypt was to embolden those who endeavored to overthrow the government rather than letting the scheduled elections and/or the UN to handle it. Now they want military intervention and UN involvement. If a third person was involved, they'd be the 3 Stooges.
This is third grade civics, Jack.
The Secretary of State IS the Presidents voice!
Seriously and obviously Hillary Clinton wears the pants in this administration.
Jack, I don't care who has the stronger voice on Libya right now. Doesn't anyone get it – the average person here in the U.S. cares about what's going on within their 4 walls. Can I send my kids to college? Can I pay my bills? Will I have a job? Why do we have to be the world's watchdog when we have so many problems here to address.
Pres. Obama is playing exactly the role he should in this. It's not the place of the U.S. to directly interfere in the situation, but it is prudent to make known what outcome we want to see and support. He's made it clear what outcome he wants, and that is Ghadafi stepping down. He's delegated to the Secretary of State the role of using her expertise in foreign policy, allowing her to call for more specifics *in support* of his goal of seeing Ghadafi step down. Obama has the stronger voice in that it is his voice that is guiding our overall reaction to the situation.
Mike from Lorain, OH
Does it make a difference? Sec.of State represents the POTUS so while it is her voice speaking, it is the office of the President for which she speaks.
Hilary Clinton.I am not sure what Obama is good at besides reading speeches
Hillary Clinton! It is her job, everyone seems so upset that Hillary is speaking more and putting more thought into the situation in Libya. She is the Secretary of State... she is not meant to just stand around. She is doing her duty.
Barack Obama stated that NATO was considering military options. Hillary Clinton stated that NATO would not act absent a UN Security Council resolution. These contradictory statements illustrate that the administration has no clear voice, which merely strengthens Qadafi's hand (and costs lives) in the meantime.
Clinton and Obama speak with one voice. Pitting one against the other with this question may be more reflective of your attempt to stir up controversy than to ask a real question. You are losing your perspective.
Since when doesn't the Secretary of State 'emerge' in a foreign crisis? Isn't that what we expect of anyone in Clinton's position? She is doing the job she's been hired to do and doing it well so back off, Cafferty.
At least Clinton makes an appearance to answer the phone at 3am. Obama has simply become the e “Where’s Waldo” President. No doubt, his position on everything is that he is “Present.” What a great leader!
No one is strong, because they both want things to go back to normal, oil prices to go down, Crazy Q-Daffy in power and an end to the Jasmine Revolution. The old western politicians only know one thing and that's the status quo, same old, same old
It is quite obvious to everybody that this president is out of his league when it comes to international affairs. Face it, he has had absolutely no experience in leading anyone or anything before being swept into office on a wave of liberal enthusiasm. Hillary has both the experience and the the 'male glands' to be a strong voice for this country. Clearly, she should be the president.
Here is what I think! Hilary Clinton is the one with much voice. No one really knows what to do, because, no one knows the living God. I do not care what label they use.
Clearly its Hillary because she can answer the 3am phone call, while Obama still needs to hire a Czar that can answer the phone instead of leaving it for voice mail. It seems to be a pattern of waiting to long when something major happens, lets just hope that a rogue nation does not fire a nuclear missile at the homeland.
Being an Independent but loyal supporter of President Obama, I respect the words of the Administration in regard to Libya. I believe Secretary Clinton has had the stronger voice as President Obama has, like you reported, remained quiet on the matter. I thoroughly understand why, though. He is making decisions with care and consideration, and I am confident that the world will be happy with the results in the end. This is a tedieous situation and requires careful thought. This is why he has not spoke often of Libya. Secretary Clinton has been a stong voice in re-assuring the world of the Administration's concerns and plans for the crisis in Libya.
I guess we would'nt need a Sec. of State if the President took on the responsibilites of that office!! This is the job and responsibility of the Sec. of State and certainly should have a strong and respected voice.
when is our white house leader going to help the people of libya, what is he waiting?
Hillary Clinton does not have her own independent Foreign Policy. She works for President Obama.
It's obvious that Hillary Clinton is doing all the heavy lifting when it comes to bringing peace to the Middle East. On the other hand, the Invisible President, Barack Obama, plays Motown while Libya burns.
Jack, where do you get all of your questions? Why would try to pit the Secretary of State against the President? Each has a job to do, and they do well. As a young man you should be able to see that rather than try to split them.
Kind of funny that you accuse Hillary Clinton of being the "mouthpiece of the administration"...Isn't that her job as Secretary of State? The President is dealing with how to keep our own country running as the House and Senate wrangle over budget issues. Pretty important stuff. Clearly the Commander in Chief is in command, and taking input from a broad range of sources. Unlike knee-jerk, unilateral, unjustified action from the previous administration, we finally have a mature, intelligent Commander in Chief who seeks to include facts and a plethora of opinions prior to acting. One thing you got right: Bush's unilateral interfering in the Middle East bought us 9/11. Aren't you glad we are not doing that again?
Secretary Clinton does. President Obama continues to weigh his options and continues and continues
Neither, Dick Cheney.
Both should remain mute on this issue. There is no winnable option when it comes to Libya. If the United Sates puts boots on the ground in Libya it will be seen as a threat. If the United states gives weapons to rebels we will never know who's hands those weapons end up in. The only thing we can offer is humanitarian Aid and that is limited. Any no fly zone will be perceived as an act of war and 3 wars is two too many for the United States to be engaged in at one time. Other countries in the region need to step up and offer assistance. They are the ones that have the most at stake.
Hillary Clinton, of course. Sorry, but our President is way out of his league when it comes to foreign affairs. He has had absolutely no experience to fall back on. I believe he is more than happy to let anyone else handle it, then step in at the last minute to claim it was his idea. We're all better off if he lets the Secretary of Stae handle all foreign affairs.
Does it really matter? They are on the same team. Forget who's doing the talking and focus on what they're saying, which is get allied participation before we engage militarily. By the way, who pays for our envolvemant? Last I checked we are broke. Any Republican supporting our getting involved should cough up the dough. Let's spend on Lybia but cut NPR and education? How's that make any sense?
The is no question WHO has the Stronger Voice! It's Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, of course! She is more of a knowledgable Politician than Barak 'Obummer' Obama will EVER be!
No matter what Office Hillary ever runs for....I will Vote for Her, for sure! I WISH we could replace Obama with Hillary today! My Trust is in Hillary Clinton to run the United States of America!
Neither the president nor Clinton has any credible voice. They both talk with no action in sight. Thousands of people like you, Jack and I will have to loose their lives before anyone in the west would step forward to help an Arab country. The life of a Muslim have never been important to any American Administration.
The US will do whatever is necessary to maintain hegemony and control in the Middle East and North Africa. If this means giving an illusion of divisiveness within the administration vis a vis Obama/Clinton while Qaddafi regains power, so be it.
I think the stronger voice is the media. And Mrs. Clinton and the President our being careful and probably waiting for the right time in history. The media as usual are pushing to jump the gun for another big scope.
Isn't it normally the job of 'Secretary of State' to provide the official 'voice' of the United States of America on foreign policy? What are you asking Jack - that Secretary Clinton's voice isn't strong enough - for whom? President Obama has a few other critical issues to handle right here in our own backyard. I want him focused on our junk here in the U.S. I'm just saying. . .
Who does Hillary Clinton speak for ? President Obama.The president doesn't want to look like he is focusing on there problem and not ours.
Your question would make one think that President Obama and Secretary Clinton were adversaries rather than co- workers. Secretary Clinton's job discription puts foreign affairs in her ball park and I thank God that we have a President who is not intimidated by her position and allows her to carry out the responsibilties of that position. When she speak, she speaks for all of us with the blessings of our President President Obama.
There is no question that the stronger voice would be President Barack Obama! But, where is Reagan when we need him? Reagan reacted immediately when three Americans were killed by Gaddafi back in the eighties! Now thousands of human beings are being killed, not to mention that there are 6,000 American citizens of Libyan origins present in Libya at the moment, isn't their safety a responsibity of the United States?
Its clear who "wears the pants" in the Obama Administration - its NOT the Commander-in-Chief! His timid responses in crises overseas underscore the President's lack of experience in foreign affairs - so it seems Madame Secretary has to take charge. My concern is what his response would be if Saudi Arabia experienced a similiar threat of revolution as we see in Libya? Would he just standby and do nothing?
That's a little like asking, "Who's faster, a tortoise or another tortoise? Here we are, three weeks into this thing, and we're still waffling. How about just telling it like it is, Mr. President, loud and strong: "We're not the the world's top cop anymore, so get off your backside, United Nations, and do your job!"
I don't know it matters what they say. Due to the activities of the previous administration, we have no leverage in that region. They're not scared of us nor do they trust us. And who could blame them.
Humanitarian aid and install a no-fly zone along with partnership with other nations is all there needs to be on our part. Other than that, those folk have to fight for their own freedom.
Give the man a break, this is what hillary and the rest of the cabiney is for ,to come up with a solution & presenting to him
Is this question supposed to compare Hillary to Obama? Lets not forget that they speak one voice, Hillary is Obama's Foreign policy agent or spokeswoman if you will. Stop trying to rerun the 3 am AD of 2008.
Yes Libya is important but the President is trying to get a budget passed, create jobs and get this economy back to normal. He is delegating speaking about Lybia to his very capable Secretary of state.
San Diego, Ca
Jack, I have just read comments by the uninformed that Hillary has the stronger voice and knows more about these affairs than Obama.Then why does she have to meet with him befor speaking. Know this uninformed, she is the mouth peace for the administration. If you respect her thoughts, know that Obama gave them to her.This is a man deserving of our respect and admiration for his leadership!
The President is measuring his words carefully but allowing his Secratery of State to use stronger language to illistrate that the US certainly has a strong opinion on the matter. It's the difference between strategy and "Strategery".
clinton and obama look like a couple of clowns. We need to protect our borders. The libya civil war is their problem not ours. Time to stop war mongering.
Jack Cafferty sounds off hourly on the Situation Room on the stories crossing his radar. Now, you can check in with Jack online to see what he's thinking and weigh in with your own comments online and on TV.
About Jack Cafferty
Subscribe | Send Feedback