Graham: ‘I Thank God for Strong Women in the Obama Administration’

by Robert Costa

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a leading Republican on the Armed Services Committee, blasted President Obama’s handling of Libya this morning on Fox News Sunday. “We used to relish leading the free world,” he said. “I am glad we are finally doing something.”

Graham praised Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, for reportedly pushing for military action during internal deliberations. “I thank God for strong women in the Obama administration,” he said. “I don’t know what finally got the president to act. But I am very worried that we are taking a backseat, not the leadership role.”

Graham argued that the U.S. should make ousting Moammar Qaddafi a top priority. “Isolate, strangle, and replace this man,” he said. “That should be our goal.” Obama, he worries, has inserted too many “caveats” into our policy. “It’s almost like this is a nuisance [for the president] . . . We should talk about replacing [Qaddafi], not about how limited we will be.”

Graham added that he is comfortable with Obama taking action without congressional approval. “I don’t believe that [the president] needs to come to Congress,” he said. “It is inherent [within] the authority of the commander-in-chief to take such action. We have been overly cautious and unnervingly indecisive. This thing melted down. We should have acted sooner. I did not feel the need to bless this action before he took it.”

“One word of caution,” Graham continued. “The U.N. Security Council has not been used every time we have [used] force. If you are going to take the freedom agenda and turn it over to the Russians and the Chinese, that would be a huge mistake. I’m glad we have international support, but I do not want the model to be that you have to go to the U.N. to deal with tyranny. Russia and China are going to be less than friendly to getting rid of dictators because, in many ways, they are countries run by dictators.”