DeMint backs off criticism of Obama

After saying the president was "downplaying" security, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) now says Barack Obama is using "the right approach" in fighting terror.

Appearing on MSNBC Monday morning, DeMint still stressed that the administration needed to buckle down further in the war on terror. The conservative senator has been one of the White House's chief critics amid the fallout of the failed Christmas Day airline bombing.

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“Instead of focusing on the blame right now, the president seems to be on the right approach," he said on MSNBC. "He’s recognizing we’ve got a terror problem. What he is doing in Yemen is good.”

DeMint said Sunday on CNN that Obama is too "distracted by other things" to deal seriously with national security issues. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee member was one of the first to criticize the White House for what he deemed an insufficient response to the attempted attack by a 23-year-old Nigerian national.

One of the president's other main critics, House Intelligence Committee ranking member Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), also indicated that he is now satisfied with the administration's response to the failed attack.

When asked, DeMint declined to say if the U.S. should invade Yemen — the country in which the al Qaeda cell the accused bomber contacted is based — but said that intelligence-gathering was key to preventing future attacks.

The Obama administration and many Democrats have defended its response to the attacks from the outset, saying that it properly initiated probes into airline security practices and the intelligence gathered on the alleged perpetrator.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs also said last week that the attack should be a "nonpartisan" issue.