Protesters set fire to American school in Tunisia's capital
Former White House chief of staff Andy Card on Middle East crisis
- Duration 7:33
- Date Sep 14, 2012
Former White House chief of staff Andy Card on Middle East crisis
Also in this playlist...
This transcript is automatically generated
News alert we're awaiting remarks from President Obama right now as we get some brand new video in of angry protesters.
Setting fire to an American school in the Tunisian capital.
They also earlier set fire to the US embassy in Tunisia.
Anti American protests are now erupting around the globe and at least eight locations we are told you so lawmakers here and are now pushing the Obama administration to put heavy pressure on these governments whose people in part are storming US diplomatic posts.
Andy card is the former White House chief of staff under president George W.
Bush he was in the White House as significant world events unfolded.
Including of course the 9/11 attacks.
And the beginning of the war in Iraq and -- great to have you back here today I'll I'll just -- get your perspective on what we are seeing right now.
-- this is a terrible time for the folks in the White House from an -- diplomatic agencies and our intelligence communities in the Defense Department and my heart goes out to them in my prayers are with them as they make tough decisions and advise a president.
The president's primary responsibility is to protect Americans and to make sure America's national security interests are upheld.
But we -- -- remember we need strong leadership and President Obama should be providing very very strong leadership filled with resolved he should have the patience of diplomacy so quiet diplomacy is.
Very important right now -- not diplomats have to be practicing tough quiet diplomacy.
But this is a time when we have to count on our allies standing tall with us and when President Bush said.
You're either with us or against us that was a very important message to send to governments around the world they hope President Obama is sending a similar.
The message that.
You've got to stand with America we are not at fault here America does not have to apologize for anything this is an attack on American citizens and American interest.
In this up for the world to stand with buses we have to stand to protect our people.
I need to ask you about a sound -- from our secretary of state Hillary Clinton on that score yesterday for which she has taken some criticism.
Some believe she was being too.
-- lack of a better word of those who are now attacking us listen here.
Let me state very clearly and I hope it is obvious.
That the United States government had absolutely.
Nothing to do with this video.
-- -- its contents.
America's commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation.
It's a video that part has angered some of these folks were saying but that the United States government had nothing to do with -- some private citizen in California we're told your thoughts.
Well first of all.
-- amid the American government did have nothing to do with this video and American government had nothing to do with the message in the video however.
The American government protects the right of all Americans to exercise their free speech.
And we've got to stand tall for free speech.
I want to be responsible speech but that's a very difficult thing for the government to manage -- what is the definition of responsible speech.
I was in a White House -- I didn't like some of the rhetoric coming from Americans about the work that was being done by -- our president all what was being attacked.
From outside on the United States.
But that doesn't mean that America abandons free speech we protect free speech.
We also wanted to be responsible speech.
And we want we -- want tolerance and we want religious tolerance so I think that secretary Clinton's remarks really were not inappropriate they were appropriate.
But please don't fall into the trap of apologizing.
For America's values that respect free speech.
Moments ago the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee told us he does not believe that these protests are -- what we saw that the assassination of our ambassador.
Was over that film he believes that this was a coordinated attack and that it was planned.
Just moments before he made those comments Jay Carney the White House spokesman.
Said this I wanna get your reaction -- listen here.
We also need to understand that.
This is a fairly volatile situation and it is in response not to United States policy.
Obviously the administration not to the American people it is in response to.
-- -- Dead we have judged to be reprehensible and disgusting.
That in no way justifies any violent reaction to it but this is not a case.
Protests directed at the United States.
Writ large or at US policy this is in response to a video that is offensive.
And to Muslims.
What my first of all that I do think that there was a coordinated attack I don't have the benefit of the intelligence reports that that the folks who -- working in the White House now happen I admit that.
But my gut reaction is that this was a coordinated.
Planned attack on our consulate and Ben Ghazi and it was a terrible terrible attack.
I don't think that it was just protesters.
Attacking the embassy I think the poll tested provided good cover.
For a planned attack console I'm offended by what happened.
We have a responsibility.
As the United States to lead the world and America is looking for direction and resolve from the president of the United States and our country.
That's important to deliver at the same time the president has to find the balance of diplomacy and I hope he's working hard to.
Help our diplomats be given the tools that they need to.
Negotiate well and cause people to step back and take out that -- greater responsibilities.
Is what era.
I don't think this is I don't think that the attack that killed the ambassador and the other Americans what was -- as a result of the protests I think that it became.
Excuse to use the protest of bring this attack and he.
Here's what I wanna ask you console I have a -- only a short time left but here's what I wanna ask you because you the president.
You tell me is somebody who who was chief White House chief of staff he's in a -- position because he's got this crisis unfolding but he's also running for reelection.
And when you hear Jay Carney contradict.
What the house intelligence chairman said who's been briefed by the CIA the FBI and Homeland Security Department although he says it's not totally clear yet.
Is that a political statement that Jay Carney is making to us or is it fact when he says this is not about the administration -- our policies.
Where you know like.
I hope Jay Carney is not playing politics that's not the role of the white house Press Secretary that might be the role of a spokesman from the Democratic National Committee.
It shouldn't be -- white house press secretary's role -- to play politics.
I I don't think we know enough -- to those seeds of that attack and Ben Ghazi it looks to me is if it was a coordinated.
Well informed well planned attack with command and control the took advantage of the protests that was being mounted and I think the protest itself.
Most people don't know about this video haven't seen it so that just being told about things that they really don't know.
And I think it's been used by our.
Terrorist enemies to -- Violent acts against the united stats I don't think that it is the real reason for those acts Andy card.
Always great to get your perspective thanks so much for being answer.
Thank you make -- --