POLITICS
09/18/2013 10:12 am ET Updated Sep 18, 2013

Grover Norquist: Obama Weakened By Syria Negotiations With Russia

Conservative anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist said Tuesday that President Barack Obama's handling of the crisis in Syria has "weakened" the president's position going into budget negotiations with congressional Republicans, accusing Obama of "being led around by his nose" by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In an interview with Newsmax, Norquist criticized Obama over the United States' agreement with Russia on procuring and destroying Syria's chemical weapons stockpile.

"He's weakened himself because he's looked weak," he said. "He's fumbled. He's given the initiative to Putin and Russia, for crying out loud."

Norquist continued, "The president got bailed out by Putin, but in doing so he gave Putin control of the agenda. The president's now not leading from behind, but he is behind. He's just sort of trailing after Putin."

Norquist, who is founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform, added that the situation was "humiliating" for Obama and diminished his ability to negotiate with Republicans in upcoming debt ceiling dealings.

"The Republicans can do better on the taxing and spending issue because the president is weakened by the lousy economy that he's caused, by the problems in international relations that he's caused or his ineptitude — and now we're trying to fix that," Norquist said. "He really doesn't have the standing to turn around and tell anybody what to do."

Watch Norquist's interview above.

Norquist also spoke on the House Republicans' efforts to defund the Affordable Care Act via a continuing resolution to fund the government, warning that the party needs to be careful in how it proceeds on the issue.

"We care deeply about how damaging Obamacare is," Norquist said, "But we need to do it without shooting ourselves in the foot -- and we need to do it in aw ay that people focus on the problems and the costs and the mistake that is Obamacare."

He suggested that delaying the law's implementation may be a better strategy for Republicans than defunding Obamacare through the CR or using the threat of government shutdown as leverage.

"I'm not sure it's a wise idea to say, 'If we don't get "X," we'll close the government down,'" he said.

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