GOP senator says Obama is ‘diminished figure’

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who has been supportive of President Obama's call for the use of military force in Syria, says the president is a "diminished figure" in Congress following his address to the nation about Syria on Tuesday night.

"...I guess it was a result of (Tuesday) night, my temperature level is up slightly today," Corker told CNN on Wednesday. "He is diminished figure here on Capitol Hill. I can assure you of that."

Corker, who has also worked with Obama on fiscal issues and has a reputation for being a deal-maker, said the president is good "interpersonally" but that he struggles in the role of commander in chief. He said Obama is "uncomfortable" with that role.

"He just cannot follow through," Corker said. "He cannot speak to the nation as a commander in chief. He cannot speak to the world as a commander in chief. He just cannot do it.  And I don't know what it is."

Corker is one of just 23 senators who support military action in Syria, versus 43 who oppose action or are leaning against supporting the Senate resolution.

The resolution is on hold, though, as a diplomatic alternative is sought for Syria to turn over its chemical weapons to international monitors.

Update 2:40 p.m.: White House press secretary Jay Carney said in response that it was "somewhat ironic" that a member of Congress who asked for Congress to play a role in approving military action would criticize the president for his leadership.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.



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Aaron Blake · September 12, 2013