FALSE: Obama called potential attack on Syria a ‘pinprick,’ Rubio says

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida defended a 2013 vote not to authorize President Barack Obama to use military force in Syria by saying the strategy wasn’t worth risking American lives.

During a presidential debate in Simi Valley, Calif., on Sept. 16, 2015, radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt asked Donald Trump if he thought three senators — Rubio, Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky — who opposed intervention against Syrian President Bashar Assad were now responsible for the current Syrian refugee crisis. Rubio defended his stance after Trump said he thought they were partly to blame.

“We have zero responsibility, because let’s remember what the president said,” Rubio said. “He said the attack that he was going to conduct was going to be a pinprick. Well, the United States military was not built to conduct pinprick attacks.”

Rubio went on to say he wanted a strategy that would put “men and women in a position where they can win.”

Obama’s Syria policy has been a target for Republicans during the campaign, but did Obama refer to potential strikes against Assad as “a pinprick” attack?

Pinning down strategy 

We didn’t hear back from Rubio’s campaign when we contacted them, but the crux of his reference is Obama’s response to Assad’s chemical weapons attack against civilians in 2013.

While initially planning a military response against the Syrian government, Obama suddenly switched gears on Aug. 31. He announced he would first ask Congress to authorize intervention, likely starting with surgical missile strikes from Navy destroyers — an approach that faced questionable results, according to a July 2013 report from the Institute for the Study of War.

Involving Congress was widely seen as a political gamble to bring lawmakers into the decision to move against Syria. Prior to that, Obama had struggled with whether to act unilaterally, without support from the American public, Congress, the United Nations or U.S. allies.

Obama did use the term “pinprick” several times, but he used the word to say that’s what he was not doing.

Take, for example, an interview blitz on Sept. 9. Obama told Savannah Guthrie on the Today show that day that “the U.S. does not do pinpricks. Our military is the greatest the world has ever known. And when we take even limited strikes, it has an impact on a country like Syria.”

Michael O’Hanlon, a Brookings Institution senior fellow and co-director of the institution’s Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence, told us the term “pinprick” certainly is not a technical description of any kind of military strike. But in his experience, when the word is used, “it is always pejorative.”

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who favored military action in Syria, questioned Obama’s commitment to using force. McCain said on Face the Nation on Sept. 1 that he had wondered whether surgical strikes are “just a pinprick that somehow Bashar Assad can trumpet that he defeated the United States of America.”

By Sept. 4, Rubio and Paul voted against a Senate Foreign Relations Committee resolution allowing Obama to use limited force against Assad’s regime. (Cruz, who was not on the committee, made it clear he would have opposed the resolution.) It passed by a 10-7 vote and was sent to the Senate.

Meanwhile, during a hearing for the House Foreign Affairs Committee on strategy in Syria on Sept. 4, then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel tried to dispel notions Obama wasn’t planning an effective response.

“The president has said … this would not be a pinprick. Those were his words. This would be a significant strike that would in fact degrade his capability,” Hagel said.

Now, Obama’s case wasn’t necessarily helped when then-Secretary of State John Kerry gave the opposite message on Sept. 9, saying during a meeting in Britain that the United States planned an “unbelievably small, limited kind of effort.”

But the strikes, pinpricks or not, never happened. Facing shaky support in the Senate, Obama asked majority leader Harry Reid to pull the measure.

On Sept. 10, Obama said in an address to the nation from the White House that he would postpone a military solution, but was committed to his stance that future intervention was a possibility.

“As some members of Congress have said, there’s no point in simply doing a pinprick strike in Syria,” Obama said. “Let me make something clear: The United States military doesn’t do pinpricks.”

A year later, Rubio voted in favor of arming Syrian rebels, which Paul and Cruz opposed.

Our ruling

Rubio claimed Obama said an attack on Syria “was going to be a pinprick.”

In reality, Obama said the exact opposite of that, stating several times that a U.S. military response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons on its citizens would involve a significant show of force. While the president’s full strategy was somewhat unclear, at the debate Rubio echoed Obama’s own past statements that the U.S. military was not built for small-scale engagements that could be characterized as “pinpricks.”

We can pop Rubio’s talking point here. We rate his statement False.






Rubio sells his “man parts” to the highest corporate bidder.

– J.Perry, LABProLib Member


Women Are Getting Pregnant Just To Sell “Baby Parts” To Planned Parenthood

“I just think you’ve created an industry now — a situation where very much, you’ve created an incentive for people not just to look forward to having more abortions, but being able to sell that fetal tissue — these centers — for purposes of making a profit off it, as you’ve seen in some of these Planned Parenthood affiliates.”

TRAITOR: Marco Rubio Fires Back On Cuba: Obama Is The ‘Worst Negotiator’ In My Lifetime

Marco Rubio Fires Back On Cuba: Obama Is The ‘Worst Negotiator’ In My Lifetime
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama will get no money for his Cuba policy, no ambassador will be confirmed and the embargo will never be lifted, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) vowed in a blistering press conference on Wednesday.
In a historic move earlier in the day, Obama announced that the United States will begin talks with Cuba to normalize full diplomatic relations, marking the most significant shift in U.S. policy towards Cuba in 50 years. The president’s remarks followed the release on Wednesday morning of American Alan Gross, who had been held in a Cuban prison for five years. Gross was freed on humanitarian grounds after the U.S. released three Cuban spies who had been jailed for 15 years and Cuba released a U.S. spy jailed for two decades.
“This entire policy shift announced today is based on an illusion, based on a lie,” Rubio, who is the son of Cuban immigrants, told reporters on Capitol Hill. “The White House has conceded everything and gained little.”
“I’m committed to doing everything I can to unravel as many of these changes as possible,” he added.
The Florida senator’s powers in that regard will be considerable. Soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) deferred to Rubio when asked for comment on the issue. And when the new, Republican-led Senate comes into session on Jan. 6, Rubio will be the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee’s subcommittee on the Western hemisphere, which has oversight responsibility for U.S. dealings in the region.
“This Congress is not going to lift the embargo,” Rubio declared at the end of his news conference.
Rubio, a potential presidential candidate in 2016, has been a longtime critic of the regime in Cuba and of Obama’s foreign policy — which he dubbed on Wednesday as “not just naive, but willfully ignorant of the way the world truly works.”
“This president is the single worst negotiator we have had in the White House in my lifetime,” Rubio said.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) also slammed the change in policy, saying it “emboldens all state sponsors of terrorism.”
“Relations with the Castro regime should not be revisited, let alone normalized, until the Cuban people enjoy freedom -– and not one second sooner,” Boehner said in a statement. “There is no ‘new course’ here, only another in a long line of mindless concessions to a dictatorship that brutalizes its people and schemes with our enemies.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), one of the most outspoken Republicans in Congress on matters of foreign policy, threatened to do everything in his power to block funding from being used to set up a U.S. embassy in Cuba. “Normalizing relations with Cuba is bad idea at a bad time,” Graham said on Twitter.
But Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who traveled back from Cuba with Gross, praised Obama.
“I happen to think that the president did the right thing,” Flake told reporters on Wednesday after his own news conference, in which he hailed the deal. “I think people will come around to it, and let’s move forward.”
Flake, who is also a member of the Foreign Relations Committee and is active on Cuba policy, said he would sit down with Rubio. Ultimately, he added, he and Rubio shared the same goals of winning freedom for Cubans.
The senator admitted, though, that getting Congress to see it his way and lift the embargo would be unlikely, especially since Congress passed laws in the ’90s that codified the blockade.
“That’s a tough task,” said Flake, acknowledging that fellow Republicans might be angry. “There’ll be some animus, I’m sure, of saying the president is moving beyond where he should,” he said, referring to the restrictions enacted by Congress. But he insisted, “They all gave the president authority to move within that.”
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who has traveled to Havana with Flake, said he was supportive of easing restrictions on travel to Cuba, which he blasted as “ridiculous.”
“To me it’s a freedom issue … I think if you, as an American, you want to go there, you should be able to go there,” Chaffetz, the incoming chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said in an interview with KSL radio’s Doug Wright Show. “There are other provisions that I really need to study and look at, but the idea of allowing Americans their free choice to make their own decision about going to Cuba — I applaud that and support it.”
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest appeared to address Rubio’s and Graham’s threats on Wednesday, saying: “It’s not clear to me that additional appropriations will be necessary to establish an embassy in Cuba.”
CORRECTION: This article was corrected to note that Gross was freed on humanitarian grounds, and not in exchange for the freedom of three Cuban spies.