Sunday shows: Gingrich, Pawlenty fault Obama on Egypt

Gingrich, a former House speaker, also criticized the State Department for pulling some of Egypt’s funding, but said as president he wouldn’t rule out making similar cuts.

“You may pull part of it. It may suddenly get a lot slower,” he said, also during an appearance on “This Week.” “I’d want to look at how we currently spend the aid. I don’t think our bureaucracy giving money to their bureaucracy is democracy.”

Gingrich was adamant that the United States should push for freedom for people around the world, including those living in China, Russia and Cuba.

Pawlenty, Gingrich and Gov. Haley Barbour (R-Miss.) said they were still mulling decisions to run in 2012. In a presidential straw poll conducted Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Pawlenty got 4 percent and Gingrich 5 percent. Barbour, who said he is “very serious” about running, had 1 percent.

Barbour downplayed the significance of the poll during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” saying he is confident about his record, which has drawn ire from some who believe he is too closely tied to corporate interests.

“They [presidents] will be advocating to the Congress, they’ll be lobbying our allies and adversaries overseas,” said Barbour. “That’s what presidents do for a living. Presidents try to sell what’s good for America to others in the world as well as to Americans.”

This Week


Barak: Egypt taking different path than Iran

• Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak said that while Egypt is following a different path than Iran did in 1979, the Muslim Brotherhood could still pose a threat to regional stability if elected to power.

Nonetheless, Barak, who is Israel’s current defense minister, played down risks to his country that could arise from Egypt’s shift in power.

“I, first of all, want to state that I don’t think that the relationship between Israel and Egypt is under any risk,” Barak said as a guest on “This Week.” “I don’t believe that something similar to the Iranian events 30 years ago is happening now. I think that the Egyptians, they have their own way.”

But Barak cautioned about holding elections in Egypt too quickly. “The real winners of any short-term election, let’s say within 90 days, will be the Muslim Brotherhood, because they are already ready to jump,” he said.

Fox News Sunday 
and Meet the Press

Ryan slams Obama budget in advance

• A day before the White House releases its budget, senior GOP officials blasted what it expects to see.

“I am really hoping [President Obama] is going to give us a budget that will tackle this debt crisis, and if it is what these early press reports show, it shows he is abdicating leadership on that point,” House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said on Fox News Sunday.

Ryan was firm that Congress, with a GOP-led House, is moving the discussion on spending and jobs in a different direction, dismissing the “neo-Keynesian beliefs that you have to borrow and spend more money today to try to create more jobs.”

“If [the president] is talking about new spending, so called investments, that is not where we are going. The great debate we are having in Congress now is, which is refreshing, is we are debating how much to cut spending not how much to increase it,” Ryan said.

Appearing on Meet The Press, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) echoed Ryan, saying that “it is time to cut spending” and adding that “we are broke.”

Ryan and Boehner both took issue with the president’s pledge to freeze non-discretionary spending at current levels for the next five years. The move is disingenuous, Boehner and Ryan claimed, because it freezes spending at their current high levels.

Neither Ryan nor Boehner directly answered questions on entitlement reform.

State of the Union and Face the Nation

Egyptian military’s moves are seen as positive steps

• Edward Walker, former U.S. ambassador to Egypt, and John Negroponte, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., both said they see the Egyptian Military Council’s decision to dissolve parliament, suspend the constitution and hold elections in six months as positive steps during appearances on “State of the Union.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) agreed it is an opportunity for the Egyptian people to set a positive example in the Middle East.

“If the Egyptian people can pull [a Middle Eastern democracy] off it will be a greater contribution to civilization than the pyramids,” Graham said on the same program.

But protesters also asked that former President Hosni Mubarak’s cabinet be dissolved and for a more explicit timeline of elections. Mohamed ElBaradei, an opposition leader, said the military government has until Friday to release a more detailed timetable or the protests will resume.

But Walker noted that the Saudi Arabia’s king was angry with the United States because he believes it pushed former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak out of office despite being an ally for 30 years.

On “Face the Nation,” Egyptian Ambassador to the U.S. Sameh Shoukry said his country will remain a strong U.S. ally and that existing treaties will remain intact.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) expressed concern for the stability of the region and said dictators around the world should be concerned because the protests are likely to spread beyond the Middle East.

WHO WAS WHERE

Face the Nation (CBS): 
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Ahmed Zewali, Nobel Prize-winning scientist recently returned to Egypt

Fox News Sunday: 
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Gov. Haley Barbour (R-Miss.)

Meet the Press (NBC): 
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Rep. Bobby Schilling (R-Ill.)

State of the Union (CNN): 
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Edward Walker, former U.S. ambassador to Egypt; John Negroponte, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and OMB Director Jacob Lew

This Week (ABC): 
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-Minn.)