- (Photo: Reuters/Steve Marcus)
GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin expressed disappointment in the Obama administration for publicly apologizing for an American military base's burning of Qurans in Afghanistan.
"There seems to be nothing that radical Islamists can do to get Barack Obama's attention in a negative way and he is consistently apologizing to people who do not deserve the apology of the president of the United States period," a frustrated Gingrich commented while campaigning in Washington State.
On Thursday, the White House made Obama's apology by letter public and just hours later, two U.S. soldiers were killed in what has been view as a retaliatory response to the burning.
But Gingrich said instead of America issuing an apology, it was Afghan President Hamid Karzi that owes the U.S. an apology for the soldier's deaths.
"And, candidly, if Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, doesn't feel like apologizing then we should say good bye and good luck, we don't need to be here risking our lives and wasting our money on somebody who doesn't care," said Gingrich.
"This president has gone so far at appeasing radical Islamists that he is failing in his duty as commander in chief," Gingrich also said.
However, the White House has been on the defensive. Seeking to deflect any criticism, spokesperson Jay Carney issued another statement on behalf of the president.
"It is wholly appropriate, given the sensitivities to this issue, the understandable sensitivities," Carney told reporters traveling on Air Force One. "His primary concern as commander in chief is the safety of the American men and women in Afghanistan, of our military and civilian personnel there. And it was absolutely the right thing to do."
At least two dozen people have been killed since Afghan workers at the Bagram air base discovered on Tuesday copies of the Quran dumped into a pit where trash is burned. The workers reportedly salvaged the Islamic holy books to show to local leaders.
Sarah Palin urged the Afghan army to apologize in a message posted on Twitter.
"Obama apologizes for inadvertent Koran burning; now the US trained & protected Afghan Army can apologize for killing our soldiers yesterday," wrote Palin.
Gingrich spent Friday stumping in Washington State by visiting with both legislators and voters while trying to build support for his fledging campaign.
Just days away from Arizona and Michigan's Tuesday primaries, the latest Gallup poll had him in third with 16 percent of the vote. Rick Santorum led the field with 33 percent, compared to Mitt Romney's 27 percent, but Wednesday evening's debate may soon change those numbers.