How Obama's ISIS Speech Went Over
Mixed reaction to plan to 'degrade and ultimately destroy' terror group
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2014 7:59 AM CDT
President Barack Obama addresses the nation from the Cross Hall in the White House in Washington, DC, on Sept. 10, 2014.   (AP Photo/Saul Loeb, Pool)

(Newser) – President Obama laid the foundation last night for his strategy to "degrade and ultimately destroy" ISIS, citing possible expanded airstrikes from Iraq into Syria and explaining how these efforts would be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. "If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven," he said. "[ISIS] is a terrorist organization, pure and simple." Some reaction:

  • Syrian and Iranian officials, angry that they haven't been included in an international coalition aimed at taking on ISIS, aren't thrilled with the president's speech, the AP reports—but opposition groups in those countries and Iraq are praising Obama's words: The Syrian National Coalition says "it stands 'ready and willing' to partner with the international community to defeat the militants," while a Kurdish deputy prime minister says, "We welcome this new strategy."

  • Top Republicans had harsh words for Obama's plan. Sen. Ted Cruz told Fox News that the speech was "fundamentally unserious," while Sen. John McCain noted to CNN that the "president really doesn't have a grasp for how serious the threat from ISIS is," Politico reports.
  • Democratic reaction was lukewarm. While Sen. Carl Levin called Obama's blueprint a "forceful strategy," as per Politico, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine said in a statement per Fox News that he took issue "with the the president's assertion that he has all necessary legal authority to wage an offensive war against ISIL without congressional approval."