Lawmaker: Russia sees 'absolute weakness' in Obama

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said Wednesday night that Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided to move quickly to secure the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine because Russia sees Obama as a weak president.

In a late floor speech, Gohmert said Russia has seen Obama as weak ever since early 2012, when Obama was heard telling Russian President Dmitri Medvedev that he needed "space" at that time. Obama also said he would have more flexibility on issues like missile defense after the 2012 election.

Medvedev responded by saying, "I will transmit this information to Vladimir."

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"I cannot imagine any Russian leader perceiving anything but just absolute weakness as a leader when they heard what the microphone picked up when President Obama basically said before the election, you know, tell Putin after the election I'll have a lot more flexibility," Gohmert said.

Gohmert said Obama's message was clear: that Obama was willing to cave on "all kinds of things" after the 2012 election.

"As a result of that and so many other things, Russia believes they can cow America, and we will not stand up," Gohmert said. "When this President draws red lines, they won't be enforced."

He added that "for all the things he is, Putin is not stupid."

Russia's military intervention in Ukraine has prompted several days of criticism from Republicans who say Obama dismissed the idea that Russia would make such a move. Some have criticized Obama for mocking GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's assertion in 2012 that Russia was the biggest threat facing the United States.

During a debate, Obama said "the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back." Wednesday night, Gohmert said Obama was essentially appeasing Russia, and took his own shot by saying "Neville Chamberlain called" the Obama administration and wants his foreign policy back.