The dean of the New Jersey congressional delegation Chris Smith (R-4) is seeking his seventeenth term in Congress and had some strong words about last night’s presidential debate. The congressman told NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider that President Obama lacked humility in last night’s presidential debate which centered on foreign affairs.
“I was very disturbed when he used the big ‘me’ word rather than ‘us,'” said Smith. “Americans need to be unified. Yes, we need leadership but we need a little more humility on the part of our leaders.”
Smith took exception to Obama’s position on sanctions on Iran, saying the administration had actually fought against sanctions before acquiescing.
“He ended up signing them but after some weakness made their way into the sanctions,” said Smith. “When they talk about Iran, we the United States government, the Obama administration, has provided waivers to Iran to provide oil to China — 450,000 to 550,000 barrels per day is flowing to China, providing huge amounts of money to Iran. If we’re serious about sanctions, we need to cut that off.”
According to Smith, the current administration has exhibited a “diminution of concern” when it comes to promoting religious freedom around the world as compared to previous administrations.
“I was one of the prime sponsors of the International Religious Freedom Act and it took well over a year for this president to even nominate someone to be the ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom.”
He says the Obama administration initially opposed including a religious freedom conditionality in providing Egypt $1.3 billion in aid.
“They finally accepted it because it was in the bill and there was nothing they could do,” Smith said. “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has already waived that language or that policy and that has had a terrible impact on the Coptic Christians in Egypt … Churches are being burned down. We should have conditioned our aid among other conditions on religious freedom grounds.”
The senior congressman has been criticized by some GOP members that he has not done enough to help out the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee [RCCC], the group that helps attract, recruit and fund Republican congressional candidates. But Smith refutes the charge, saying that he has been working hard to raise funds to support individuals who are running for re-election or as newcomers to the House of Representatives.
“I’ve actually raised over $500,000 for the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee to help in that effort and to me, that is a significant amount of money,” he said.
Smith has been one of the most active anti-abortion members in Congress for the past three decades. However, opponents charge that Smith has been underplaying the abortion issue in his re-election bid. Smith maintains that he has been as vocal as ever when it comes to his staunch pro-life position, pointing to literature on his website.
“I put my speeches on the website, two of the most recent had to do with unborn child pain awareness,” he said.
He adds that he believes passionately in the right to life and that the taking of human life also has a terrible consequence for the woman.
“I work with a number of organizations that deal with post-abortive women to help them find peace and reconciliation as a direct result of that abortion. To me, there are two victims in every abortion, the baby who is either dismembered or chemically poisoned by the deed of abortion and the mother who is a co-victim.”