“President Obama's comments about Hugo Chavez reveal just how out of touch he is when it comes to our national security,” Preibus said in a statement. “This once again proves that President Obama's foreign policy priorities are simply out of place.”
The statement came in response to an interview the president gave on Tuesday to a Spanish-language channel in Miami.
“We're always concerned about Iran engaging in destabilizing activity around the globe,” Obama told América TeVe. “But overall my sense is that what Mr. Chavez has done over the last several years has not had a serious national security impact on us.”
Republicans, led by Mitt Romney, slammed the president for the remark, arguing that Tehran’s recent outreach to Latin American leftists was spurred by a desire to “attack” the United States or undercut its influence in the region.
“Instead of focusing on strengthening our relationship with allies, he seeks to downplay the very real threats posed to U.S. national security,” Preibus continued. “Leaders like Hugo Chavez are openly anti-American, and willing to spread their sentiments throughout the Western Hemisphere. We need a president who will stand up to the threats posed to the United States and defend human rights and freedoms.”
Despite the criticism, the Obama campaign believes foreign policy to be a strength for the president against Romney.