“There is a perception throughout the Middle East that there is no U.S. leadership,” McCain said on “Fox News Sunday.”
Obama and McCain have indeed formed an unlikely political relationship, working closely to pass a sweeping Senate immigration bill after being rivals in the 2008 presidential general election.
Yet McCain, a freewheeling GOP leader without running a single committee, made clear their odd-couple relationship goes only so far, particularly regarding Syria, where hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in an attempt to overthrow the regime of President Bashar Assad.
“That’s something I have to fight against,” McCain said. “I have to restore America’s power and prestige, which is on the wane.”
He argued Obama made clear that Assad forces using chemical weapons on civilians would cross a “red line.” Yet the administration’s response has been only to supply light arms to rebel forces.
Obama, appearing on a recent “Tonight” show with Jay Leno, said of the relationship: “That’s how a classic romantic comedy goes. Initially you’re not getting along and then you keep on bumping into each other.”
McCain also argued that the administration’s decision earlier this month to temporarily close at least 19 embassies or consulates across the Muslim region shows Al Qaeda is still able to intimidate with threats.
“Al Qaeda is strengthening every day, in every way,” said McCain, who recently returned from Egypt, where the military has overthrown President Mohamed Morsi, a member of the Muslin Brotherhood political party.
Rep. Mike McCaul joined McCain in criticizing the president for saying Al Qaeda has weakened since carrying out the 9-11 terror attacks.
“I think it’s a very dangerous narrative,” the Texas Republican told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “The threat is getting worse, not better.”
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