By Rebecca Shabad - 03/05/14 07:21 AM EST
Two potential GOP 2016 presidential candidates are divided over President Obama’s policy toward Russia.
In interviews late Tuesday, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) blasted Obama for not being aggressive enough while Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said it was time to stand with the president.
“I think the president was incredibly naive on his Russia policy. His reset has been total failure. I think this is what happens when a superpower projects weakness in its form in defense policy. Aggression fills that vacuum. And I think that's what happening right now,” said Ryan on Fox News.
Ryan added that Mitt Romney was right to warn about Russia during the 2012 presidential campaign. Ryan was Romney’s vice presidential nominee in that election, and might run for president in 2016.
In response to Russia’s decision to violate Ukraine’s sovereignty, Ryan said the U.S. should move forward with liquefied natural gas exports and other sanctions.
By contrast, Rubio, who could also run for the White House, said he’s been “pleased” with the U.S. reaction to Russia.
On CNN late Tuesday, Rubio was asked if he’s been supportive of the administration during the crisis.
“Yes. I think it was important that Secretary Kerry go there today. I saw his press conference earlier on CNN. Listened to it on the radio actually on Sirius XM and found it to be encouraging in terms of his language. I thought the president was right when he said that this was a major misstep for the Russians who I think are going to pay a tremendous price in the perception of Russia and Putin throughout Europe,” he said.
Rubio said there will be other times to be critical of the “mistakes” made by the administration.
“I do think now, given the urgency of the moment, it is important that we try to find a way to unify behind whatever policy the United States pursues because I think it gives us more strength and influence in the world."