Right-wing attack Obama for having faith that America can "absorb" a terrorist attack and grow "stronger"

››› ››› JULIE MILLICAN & ERIC SCHROECK

Right-wing media are attacking President Obama's reported comments that the United States can "absorb a terrorist attack" and that the country "absorbed [9-11] and we are stronger" by suggesting that Obama is "inviting another 9/11" and that he "doesn't care about Americans dying." However, conservatives have made similar comments -- including former President Bush.

Obama reportedly said that "[w]e can absorb a terrorist attack," like "we absorbed" 9-11 and came out "stronger"

Obama reportedly said: "We can absorb a terrorist attack. We'll do everything we can to prevent it, but even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever ... we absorbed it and we are stronger." The Washington Post reported on September 22 that in Bob Woodward's new book, Obama's Wars, Obama is quoted as saying: "We can absorb a terrorist attack. We'll do everything we can to prevent it, but even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever ... we absorbed it and we are stronger." From the Post article:

Woodward's book portrays Obama and the White House as barraged by warnings about the threat of terrorist attacks on U.S. soil and confronted with the difficulty in preventing them. During an interview with Woodward in July, the president said, "We can absorb a terrorist attack. We'll do everything we can to prevent it, but even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever ... we absorbed it and we are stronger."

Right-wing media: Is Obama "inviting another 9/11?"

Fox & Friends asks if Obama is "inviting another 9/11" with his comments. On the September 22 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson said that Obama's comment is "very interesting ... because I'm not sure that any American would want to absorb one little, tiny terrorist attack in any community across this country, because, obviously, that would mean that people would die. So I don't think that anyone would want to have that opinion about absorbing a terrorist attack." Carlson added, "Maybe it's taken out of context. I don't know." During the segment, onscreen text stated, "Inviting another 9/11? President: 'We can absorb a terror attack'":

Bolton suggests Obama's comments show he "doesn't care about Americans dying" and "ought to prove" Obama is not qualified to be commander-in-chief. Later on the September 22 edition of Fox & Friends, Fox News contributor John Bolton called Obama's comments "outrageous" and stated: "How can an American president say that, as if he's a detached observer and doesn't care about Americans dying?" Bolton then said that the comments "ought to prove" that Obama is not qualified to be commander-in-chief.

Huston suggests Obama wants a "big" terror attack so he can "show the world what a great president he could be." In a September 21 Gateway Pundit post, Warner Todd Huston responded to comments by suggesting that Obama is "green with envy that Bush got that big moment" and that Obama wants "a big attack of his own" to "show the world what a great president he could be!"

Ace of Spades: Obama's statement a lecture "to be mature about mass murder." In a September 21 Ace of Spades post, blogger Ace quoted reports of Obama's comments and stated that "what Obama is getting at" is that "for the good of relations with the Muslim world we're just going to have to be mature about mass murder." From the post:

A little context here. The Obama and the leftist media will attempt to spin this as merely descriptive, and as a tribute to America's resiliency. After all -- we did survive 9/11, didn't we? (Well, actually, 2996 of us did not survive 9/11, but apart from them, we survived.)

This is merely Obama talking up America's capacity to endure, they will say.

But it's not. This is a meme that has been circulating on the left for quite a while, usually secretly and among themselves only, but sometimes, ill-advisedly, being pushed out into public as a trial balloon.

[...]

They will spin this, but this is what Obama is getting at, what the left is constantly saying, but which leftist politicians are careful never to say publicly: for the good of relations with the Muslim world we're just going to have to be mature about mass murder.

Fox Nation links to Ace of Spades post attacking Obama's reported comments. On September 22, the Fox Nation linked to the Ace of Spades post under the headline, "President Obama: 'We Can Absorb a Terrorist Attack."

Geller: Obama's comment "the scariest and creepiest thing of all," suggests that Obama "wants" a terrorist attack on American soil. In a September 22 post titled, "Obama's response to imminent terror threat? Bring it on," Pam Geller quoted Obama's reported comment and wrote: "I have been researching this man for years (read the book) and this is by far, the scariest and creepiest thing of all. It's as if ...............he wants it."

Bush similarly said that despite terrorist attack, "our country is strong"

Bush response to 9/11 attacks: Terrorists "have failed; our country is strong." In his September 11, 2001, address to the nation, Bush said that "[t]hese acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed; our country is strong." He continued:

BUSH: A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.

Bush: "America has entered a great struggle that tests our strength, and even more our resolve. Our nation is patient and steadfast." In a September 11, 2002, speech, Bush stated that "America has entered a great struggle that tests our strength, and even more our resolve. Our nation is patient and steadfast. We continue to pursue the terrorists in cities and camps and caves across the earth." He further stated: "[W]e will not allow any terrorist or tyrant to threaten civilization with weapons of mass murder. Now and in the future, Americans will live as free people, not in fear, and never at the mercy of any foreign plot or power."

Bush: "The war on terror goes on. The resolve of our nation is still being tested. And...Americans remain strong." In his September 11, 2004, radio address, Bush stated: "The terrorist attacks on September the 11th were a turning point for our nation. We saw the goals of a determined enemy: to expand the scale of their murder, and force America to retreat from the world. And our nation accepted a mission: We will defeat this enemy." He continued:

BUSH: The war on terror goes on. The resolve of our nation is still being tested. And in the face of danger we are showing our character. Three years after the attack on our country, Americans remain strong and resolute, patient in a just cause, and confident of the victory to come.

Numerous conservatives have also similarly stated that America was "stronger" after 9/11 attacks

Giuliani: 9-11 attacks "made us stronger, more determined and more resolved." In an October 1, 2001, speech at the United Nations, Rudy Giuliani stated of the 9-11 attacks: "This massive attack was intended to break our spirit. It has not done that. It has made us stronger, more determined and more resolved."

Powell: "We will recover from this, we'll be a stronger nation, a resilient nation, a determined nation." In a September 13, 2001, press conference, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell said of the 9-11 attacks: "We will recover from this, we'll be a stronger nation, a resilient nation, a determined nation." Further, on the September 11, 2002, edition of NBC's Today show (accessed via Nexis), Powell stated:

POWELL: We will forever mourn those who were lost. And there was a loss of innocence that day and we realized that terrorism was not something that just happened far away in the Middle East, it happened right in our own country. And so that was a terrible tragedy. But out of that tragedy, we became a stronger nation and we showed what we were made up, a spine of steel, a heart as big as the -- the whole outdoors.

Sen. Collins: Terrorist attacks have "strengthened our resolve." In an April 18, 2002, Senate Governmental Affairs committee hearing (accessed via Nexis), Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) stated: "[O]ur world was forever changed on September 11, and, unfortunately, the threats of terrorist attacks that were once unimaginable are today horrifyingly real. But just as the terrorist attacks of September and October have caused us great concern and considerable pain, they have also strengthened our resolve."

Ridge: "Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, our great country has become not only a stronger nation, but a safer nation as well." In January 30, 2003, remarks, former Bush Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge stated, "Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, our great country has become not only a stronger nation, but a safer nation as well." From Ridge's remarks:

RIDGE: So let me be clear: While their actions surely broke our hearts, they did not and will not break our spirit. Their threats may never end, but neither will America's resolve. To our enemies: We do not cower. We are coming after you. Whether you're a nation bent on tyranny, a terrorist group or a cell, as the President has said, we will prevail. Whether your threats come via a suitcase or on a suicide bomber, pathogens in the air or armed passengers on an airplane, no matter the weapon of choice, we will use every tool at our disposal to stop you.

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11th, our great country has become not only a stronger nation but a stronger nation, as well. Working in partnership with Congress, states and cities and the private sector, we have moved rapidly to map and protect our critical infrastructure, such as power plants and financial systems; seal our borders from terrorists and suspicious cargo; and prevent and prepare for attacks involving weapons of mass destruction. Our commitment and our resolve is clear -- we will do everything in our power to defend our nation against rogue regimes.

Then-Sen. Warner: "We will be a better nation. We will be a stronger nation as we step up to meet this challenge." A September 13, 2001, Roanoke Times (accessed via Nexis) article quoted former Sen. John Warner (R-VA) as saying: "We will never be the same as a nation. ... We will be a better nation. We will be a stronger nation as we step up to meet this challenge."

Then-Rep. Hastert: "A year later, we're a stronger nation." According to a September 11, 2002, Associated Press article (accessed via Nexis), then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) stated: "A year later, we're a stronger nation. ... We have not, nor will we ever, succumb to these terrorist threats."

Huckabee: "In a way, those attacks, while devastating to think about even today, made us stronger as a nation." In a September 10 blog post, Fox News contributor Mike Huckabee wrote: "More than 3 thousand people lost their lives on 9/11. That day was one of our nation's darkest, but the days that followed remained some of our brightest. When those towers fell, our collective spirit of freedom and national pride experienced an incredible rebirth. In a way, those attacks, while devastating to think about even today, made us stronger as a nation."

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