Hasselbeck to Jarrett: Why Didn't Obama Mention Al Qaeda, Radical Islam?
Elisabeth Hasselbeck took on White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett this morning over what President Obama said - and didn't say - in the State of the Union.
Hasselbeck noted that last night marked the first State of the Union since 9/11 where a president did not say “al Qaeda.”
She also asked Jarrett, “Why won’t the president say Islamic extremism or radical Islam?”
Jarrett said that there is nothing more important to the president than the safety and security of Americans. She explained that some attacks are by extremists with no particular faith.
“Before we start throwing around labels, let’s look more broadly at terrorism, let’s not limit it, let’s look broadly at it and let's attack it together, and that’s what the president is absolutely committed to doing," Jarrett said.
But Hasselbeck countered that other nations’ leaders have spoken out about radical Islam.
“Does the president find it more offensive that radical Islam exists or the term ‘radical Islam?’” Hasselbeck questioned.
Jarrett reiterated that Obama’s philosophy is to keep the country safe, using all tools at his disposal to combat terror.
"Let’s use both our diplomatic and our military power for the strongest military power in the world. He also believes in diplomacy. Let’s focus on that and let’s keep our perspective and let’s look wherever we can across the world, working with our allies and partners on seeing what we can do to end terrorism of all forms," said Jarrett.
Jarrett also discussed the president’s commitment to "responsibly" closing Guantanamo Bay, calling it a recruiting tool for terrorists.
Brian Kilmeade asked: do you think it’s responsible to give known al Qaeda members their freedom?
Hasselbeck also questioned Jarrett on the release of admitted al Qaeda operative Ali Saleh Kahlah al Marri from prison due to “time served.”
Jarrett pushed back that the president is committed to keeping Americans safe and said questions about specific cases could better be answered by the Justice Department.
Earlier, Steve Doocy asked Jarrett about why President Obama proposed many different domestic initiatives that will probably be opposed by the Republican-controlled Congress.
"Last night, the president brought up a laundry list of things that he would like, but they have absolutely zero chance of passing. Why did he do that?" Doocy asked.
Jarrett answered that it's premature to say the proposals have "zero chance" of passing, noting that some of his ideas have been supported by Republicans.
"Many of the proposals the president put forth are ones that have been embraced. So let’s not just say they’re dead on arrival because they came out of the president’s mouth. Let’s engage. He’s the President of the United States. He has an opportunity and a forum to put forth what he thinks is going to move our country forward, grow the middle class, build ladders of opportunity, provide equal opportunity for everyone," said Jarrett, challenging Republicans to put forth different ideas if they disagree.
Watch the full interview above.