10 questions for the president


US President Barack Obama emphasizes a point on the impact of the Affordable Care Act on the health, lives and pocketbooks of women and their families at the White House in Washington May 10, 2013.

Article Highlights

  • What should the few reporters left in DC ask the president?

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  • Why go to the G20 but not see Putin? Seems a lose/lose.

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  • Why the big terror alert now? Having asserted that al Qaeda is on its heels…

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President Obama will hold a pre-holiday presser this afternoon. Three on Friday afternoon, in August. He’s aiming to have no one listen, and little wonder why. Things are not going well for Mr. Obama.

What should the few reporters left in DC ask the president?

1. Why the big terror alert now? Having asserted that al Qaeda is on its heels… Last year,  prior to the actual major attack in Libya that resulted in the death of four Americans, including our ambassador, there was no such warning. How would you suggest we make sense of your claims and your change in attitude?

2. Russia, reset? Why go to the G20 but not see Putin? Seems a lose/lose.

3. So Snowden is a petty “hacker” per your earlier statements. Care to revise?

4. You said justice would be done in the wake of the Benghazi killings. A sealed indictment was handed down earlier this week. Is that what you meant when you spoke of “justice?”

5. You announced that the US would be arming the Syrian rebels. Are we? You spoke of a humanitarian imperative when you joined NATO in Libya. More than 100,000 people have died in Syria. How does that jibe with your earlier assertions about the US role in stopping mass atrocities?

6. Your administration and your SecState have asserted that there was no coup in Egypt. How would you define a coup, and how does Egypt differ from Honduras, where your administration asserted there was a coup in similar circumstances?

7. Do you believe the war on al Qaeda is done? Or that it will no longer require military efforts? You’ve suggested drone strikes will end soon. How so?

8. Do you believe Iran is working towards a nuclear weapons capability? How close are they? Are all options still on the table? Do you believe President Rouhani has the authority to alter Iran’s nuclear path?

9. You have threatened to veto fixes to the sequester and have moved around money so that the across-the-board cuts to defense spare personnel — including the vast Pentagon bureaucracy — at the expense of readiness, research, training, and new weapons purchases. Is it possible we’re protecting the wrong part of our defense expenditures?

10. Do you believe that the cuts to our military from the sequester are making our nation less safe?

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About the Author



  • As a long-time Senate Committee on Foreign Relation senior professional staff member for the Near East and South Asia, Danielle Pletka was the point person on Middle East, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan issues. As the vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at AEI, Pletka writes on national security matters with a focus on Iran and weapons proliferation, the Middle East, Syria, Israel and the Arab Spring. She also studies and writes about South Asia: Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.

    Pletka is the co-editor of “Dissent and Reform in the Arab World: Empowering Democrats” (AEI Press, 2008) and the co-author of “Containing and Deterring a Nuclear Iran” (AEI Press, 2011) and “Iranian influence in the Levant, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan” (AEI Press, 2012). Her most recent study, “America vs. Iran: The competition for the future of the Middle East,” was published in January 2014.


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