Obama answers appeasement charge: ‘Ask bin Laden’

WASHINGTON (AP) ? Invoking the death of Osama bin Laden, President Barack Obama on Thursday forcefully rejected Republican criticism of his foreign policy as timid and the equivalent of “appeasement.”

“Ask Osama bin Laden and the 22 out of 30 top al-Qaida leaders who have been taken off the field whether I engage in appeasement. Or whoever is left out there, ask them about that,” the president said during a news conference.

His remarks came a day after Republican presidential candidates took turns criticizing Obama’s foreign policy as weak during speeches before Jewish activists and donors. They especially focused on the Obama administration’s Middle East policy.

Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania on Wednesday said Obama’s policy toward radical Islamists “has been nothing but appeasement.”

Obama seemed primed for the question about the critique, responding by citing the killing of al-Qaida leaders and offering no further defense of his policies.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney on Wednesday said Obama “emboldened Palestinian hard-liners who now are poised to form a unity government with terrorist Hamas and feel they can bypass Israel at the bargaining table.” Romney also accused Obama of being “timid and weak in the face of the existential threat of a nuclear Iran.”

Last week at a New York fundraiser, Obama specifically addressed concerns from Israel supporters about his administration’s approach to the Middle East.

“I try not to pat myself too much on the back, but this administration has done more in terms of the security of the state of Israel than any previous administration,” Obama said then.