Republicans seize on comments by Obama in new Woodward book

Republicans on Wednesday blasted President Obama for statements journalist Bob Woodward attributed to him in his new book.

Republicans were particularly incensed about Obama's belief that the U.S. could “absorb” another terrorist attack on American soil, something Obama said he is doing everything he can to prevent that happening.

Liz Cheney, former Vice President Dick Cheney's daughter and the chairwoman of Keep American Safe, said the remark “suggests an alarming fatalism on the part of President Obama and his administration.”

“Once again the president seems either unwilling or unable to do what it takes to keep this nation safe,” said Cheney, a frequent critic of Obama’s national security policies. “The president owes the American people an explanation.”

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani also criticized Obama’s comment on another terrorist attack.

“Well, I don't know that I would have said that. The country has to be prepared for any terrorist attack,” Giuliani said on a conference call with reporters. “I would prefer that the president put his effort in preventing another Sept 11.

Woodward's “Obama's Wars” will not be released until Monday, but details in the book appeared in The New York Times and The Washington Post on Wednesday. Reaction overall was muted, though White House officials portrayed Woodward’s book in a positive light, telling The Hill Wednesday morning that the accounts show a “decisive” president focused on getting the policy in Afghanistan right.

“We are focused on supporting our strategy in Afghanistan and succeeding in our effort to break the Taliban’s momentum and build Afghanistan’s capacity,” one senior administration official said. “The book underscores the importance of our efforts in Afghanistan and against al Qaeda worldwide.”

But even some Republicans who don't have an axe to grind with Obama said the book’s excerpts, particularly those dealing with ongoing operations in Afghanistan, are concerning.

Woodward’s account that Obama told Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) that he had to say he will being the troop drawdown in July 2011 because he can't “lose the whole Democratic Party” was disconcerting to some.

“At first blush the book paints a disturbing picture of putting a political party ahead of the strategic implications of the struggle in Afghanistan and Pakistan, troop safety and achieving success on the ground,” said a former high-ranking national security official in the Bush administration.

“On the positive side, the president is continuing an aggressive counterterrorism strategy, unleashing the CIA to kill bad guys.”

The Republican National Committee (RNC) also jumped on that quote, saying they indicated Obama made his decisions on strategy based purely on politics.

Jordan Fabian contributed to this report